Canada and California are duking it out above Washington.

With two distinctly different jet streams battling for dominance over Western Washington on Friday and into the weekend, forecasters with the National Weather Service in Seattle are hedging their bets by saying, essentially, that almost anything is possible this weekend.

There could be showers and thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday in the mountain regions or conversely, it could turn out to be “a pretty nice weekend,” according to meteorologist Jay Albrecht.

Weather prediction has been difficult over the past few days, Albrecht said, explaining that the Puget Sound area is being influenced by both a jet stream from Canada, bringing a dry weather system, and a jet stream from California, carrying moist air. Computer models, which usually tend to agree on an outcome, have stubbornly resisted alignment this week, he said.

“It’s still hard to say,” he said on Friday about the weekend forecast. “We’re going to play the middle-of-the-road game.”

Whether we get showers in the Seattle region this weekend or not, the models agree on one thing: Temperatures are likely to be in the lower to mid-60s, which is about six to eight degrees warmer than is normal for us in late March, he said.

Another near certainty is that by Monday, rain, clouds, and wind will return making “the nice weather we’ve gotten used to fade into our memory banks,” Albrecht said.

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For the first few days of April, high temperatures are likely to drop down into our more typical 50s, he said.

“It will be interesting to see if April ends up being the opposite of March, which was the opposite of February, which was the opposite of January,” he said. January weighed in as one of the warmest on record, February was among the coldest and snowiest and March has been among the top 10 driest.

Albrecht said that, so far, April looks like it’s going to begin with good old-fashioned Seattle rain, a pattern we haven’t seen much this year.

Unhampered by the oscillating and unpredictable weather of the past week, the cherry trees that were moved from the arboretum to the Quad at the University of Washington in 1962 when Highway 520 was built are set to reach their full glory over the next few days.

On March 28, they were listed as being 65 percent in bloom on the university’s news page, which chronicles the history of the trees, notes their degree of bloom and gives tips on how best to view the spectacle. There is, additionally, a livestream video camera for those who want to peek at the trees without moving much.

“Temperature and amount of sunlight are the big factors that determine bloom timing,” campus arborist Sara Shores said in a UW article. “Once the trees reach peak bloom, then we hope that the temperatures drop and the air is fully still for two or three weeks. That will help the blossoms last longer.”

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For more information on the trees, follow these links.

  • View UW Video’s live feed of the Quad
  • Read a new report about the UW cherry trees
  • Viewing tips from UW Facilities
  • Download a map  of all the cherry blossom trees on campus, the best place to park and the best walking route to get to the blossoms from the parking lot.