Day after day we have experienced the same pattern of stratus developing overnight west of the Cascade crest, with clearing during the morning. But this morning we had "superstratus": thicker, slower to burn off, and accompanied by fog and drizzle in some locations (like north Seattle!).
The enhanced stratus this morning was associated with stronger onshore flow at low levels, with a deep marine layer capped by a strong inversion (see plot at Quillayute Washington, line on right is temperature, on left dew point; when the lines are on top of each other the air is saturated). The vertical coordinate is height (in terms of pressure); 850 is roughly 5000 ft. Air is very dry above 925 hPa (about 3000 ft).
Let's start Friday afternoon at 4 PM, when the stratus of the previous day had burned off. Plenty of low clouds offshore!
The images you are looking at are called "visible" imagery--it is what you would see from space. The trouble is that visible light is not available during the night and infrared imagery (that is good 24-h the day by looking at the temperature of the emitting surface) is not very useful at night for low clouds (since they have a similar temperature to the surface). No worries! By combining a number of wavelengths, NOAA has developed what is known at "fog imagery" that can show the fog even when it is dark out. Here is an example for 4:00 AM. If you look carefully, you can see the low clouds has spread over the western lowlands.
Extensive low clouds are confirmed by the visible imagery at 7:30 AM---coverage is pretty extensive.
So stratus/fog burns off from the sides. In addition, there is a tendency for the base of the fog and stratus to lift, as some solar radiation gets through to warm the surface. Meteorologists have a fancy device called the laser-ceilometer that can measure the base of clouds by reflecting a laser beam off of them. The UW got some surplus ceilometers from the National Weather Service and have one running in real time (and viewable on the web). Here the latest graphic...you can see the base of the low clouds rise and weaken in time.