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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 03/ 4/2008

CommuteCast: Some Showers as Storms Approach

By Ian Livingston

Heavy rain tonight; greatest severe threat after 9 p.m.

*Tornado Watch in effect until 3 a.m. tonight*
*Flood Watch 8 p.m. tonight through Wednesday morning*

Spring-like temperatures and humidity have ruled the day as south winds continue to bring warmth and moisture into the region. Even without much sunshine, temperatures have topped out in the upper 60s and low 70s across the area, helping prime the region for heavy showers and possible severe weather later this evening. The bulk of the rain will hold off till after the evening commute, but spotty showers may move quickly through ahead of the main line of activity.

Tonight: Rain showers and thunderstorms will be more numerous overnight than this afternoon. Due to the fact that the area of most intense convection is expected to come in well after dark much of the area may be spared from widespread severe weather. The highest risk of severe weather will remain south of the region, but some locations may experience damaging wind gusts as the primary severe type and there is also a slight risk of a tornado or two in and around the area. Most rain buckets will receive at least .25" to .50", with some spots approaching .75" to 1" or more, especially in localized areas that receive heavier squalls. Low temperatures should reach the mid and upper 50s prior to the front's arrival around sunrise.

Tomorrow: Remaining clouds and any lingering showers will break during the morning giving way to mostly sunny skies by afternoon. Afternoon high temperatures are expected to be closer to seasonable highs in the mid 50s across the area and will actually not rise much from morning values. Winds will be occasionally gusty from the west at around 20 mph.

See Matt's forecast for through the weekend.

By Ian Livingston  | March 4, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Update: A Rainy, Possibly Stormy Night


If the thunderstorms in NC and southern VA hold together, looks like we could be in for a line of storms this afternoon, as the storms appear as if they're moving NNE

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Oops, submitted too early.

I meant that I knew that t-storms were in the forecast, but I personally didn't expect them to bubble up. I love thunderstorms and want one this afternoon/tonight. I just need to check what counties I have the weather radio set for...(I think I have it set to go off for PWC as well as bordering counties; because if it's nasty there and the storm is moving this way, chances are it'll be nasty here too)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Extremely heavy, sudden, wind-driven downpour in Lake Ridge at 4:15PM. I went outside to our breezeway when it started and it was just a huge raindrop here and there. Then, all of a sudden, the sky opened up and the wind kicked up. The wind (of course) was blowing in the right direction to soak me from head to toe. Hahahahah, it was worth it though to see something like that happen, because it's usually a gradual buildup to the downpour, when this went from sprinkles to downpour in a few seconds.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Downtown DC's first batch of showers (and last "batch" before solid shield of rain) entering area by 5pm... *brace for impact*

Posted by: Camden, Capital Weather Gang | March 4, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Rain has begun in DC.. one lone cell crossing the city now.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | March 4, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The rain is WARM! Now that's change I can get behind!

Posted by: Laura in NWDC | March 4, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Shower moved very quickly through with short lived but intense downpour. Active regional radar today... March has some great storms as warm air starts seriously clashing with remnants of winter cold. Could be an active early spring for severe weather in this area if trends hold.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | March 4, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

When will the showers hit here?

Posted by: What about upper MoCo? | March 4, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Will a member of the Capital Weather Gang comment on flight delays? I'm flying out of BWI to attend a funeral tomorrow morning (9:15am) and I'm really nervous about potential setbacks. Thanks!

Posted by: Noelle | March 4, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else do a double take at this?
Scroll down to "Big Daddy Forecast Map." Who knows? Perhaps Henry's right!

Posted by: mcleaNed | March 4, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I've been following Henry's Big Daddy forecast for the past 5 days. This time he seems to be employing a bit more cautionary approach - less hype. I have a good feeling about this one. It seems like all winter the models have been calling for snow only to end up as rain. I think we have our best chances of getting a good snow when the models initially call for rain, or when they don't pick up on the storm at all until a few days out. I think the later is the case with this storm - even NWS wasn't forecasting precip for the Fri-Sat timeframe until yesterday. I think this may be our jackpot. Models seem to be trending slightly east.

Posted by: 300_sq_ft | March 4, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the GFS for Sunday!
That's one of the best-looking chances for snow that I've seen all year. Should this hold, it could mean a decent amount of snow to close out the winter season.
*End hype*

A little nowcasting outside says light rain and temps near 70. Pressure has been dropping for most of the day.

Posted by: mcleaNed | March 4, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

We will get anywhere from .6-1.25" of rain from this system. Some areas may see a tad more. Can't wait 4 those big snows here Fri-Sat & again on Sun - Mon.. It really is time 2 give up the snow ghost, but then a model may give us our best chance May 1. Remember, some people got all excited 8-9 days ago when models were showing a chance 4 a big snow from this system. Time 2 learn from our past mistakes. Will we see a few flakes in March, certainly possible, a big snow, extremely doubtful. I reserve the right 2 change my mind if conditions warrant. Sorry, I only call'em as I see them. The Grinch who stole the snow.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | March 4, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Kenny | March 4, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Topper still says rain Friday, high of 47.

Says it may be a mountain snow.

Posted by: Ivan | March 4, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

You're not a snow grinch VTBob, my 8 year old sister had the same forecasting technique you do when it comes to snow...
...go grab another beer ;)

Posted by: Mike from the Blue Ridge | March 4, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

playin outside sprinkles one second then raining like crazy. this is way better than cold rain & ice, but not as good as snow.

Posted by: sam | March 4, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Per the latest 18z GFS run.. heavy snow? I think its possible if the system slows down, like it does on the last run

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Bob Ryan also saying rain on Friday...

Posted by: steve takoma park md | March 4, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to go off the deep end and predict rainfall totals near the deep end: 1.5 inches for the general DC area. I just can't help but think that those heavy radar echoes are headed right for us.

Posted by: mcelaNed | March 4, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

hey CapWx Gang:

Any reason you think LWX left Falls Church City out of the Tornado Watch? Simple oversight or something else?

Posted by: JP | March 4, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

JP: LWX doesn't issue tornado or severe thunderstorm watches. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma handles that. However, the local office does issue most other watches and warnings (with the exception of tropical storm/hurricane advisories, as that is left to the NHC).

That's why tornado watches and severe thunderstorm watches are typically displayed as giant boxes, since they aren't being issued locally.

Posted by: jtf | March 4, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Expecting main rain shield here in Loudoun in an hour or two. Not so sure about threat of severe weather... looks to be (heavy) rain with some thunder to me. Don't see a reason for the Tornado Watch.
Think it will be VERY lucky to see snow on Friday... your thoughts, CapWx Team?

Posted by: Model Monkey | March 4, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Radar does look impressive, tonight should be interesting. I'm gonna go drag my weather radio from the living room to my room so if it goes off later on this evening/tonight I'll hear it that'll wake me up and not some unpleasant natural occurrence...

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

It looks like rain to me for the weekend.

Posted by: Period | March 4, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

VT. Should we get snow. You will loose your credibility of trend forecasting. Overall the GFS models have done a pretty good job forecasting storms...You say the models are wrthless.. Our problem has not been GFS, its been LaNina. I don't think this winter is over just yet...NAO went negative

Posted by: Stormy | March 4, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Looks like .75-1.25" of rain. I washed my truck inside & outside yesterday, so a good rain is almost certain. Looks like Topper & Ryan r now the Snow Grinchs 4 Fri. I only call them like I see them, but then there is always the models. Will post some stats 4 the last 5 winters Wed.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | March 4, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Accuweather is calling for rain changing to snow for our area. From a NE/SW line going through Fauquier about he's predicting a snowstorm less than 6 inches:

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 4, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

weatherdude: I think its a good thing they are forecasting winter precip this early in the week. anything can change for the better or worse. Hopefully better. Looks like a nice storm is setting up. In historical past, we have had a lot of big storms in March, (cold air interacting with GOM tropical air.)

Our ingredients are there this weekend, here they are: We just need all of them at the right time:

1.) NAO leveling off (Superstorm 93), we had a flat level NAO. Many of our big snowstorms in VA/DC/MD are when NAO index is flat.
2.) Coastal storm
3.) Cold air mass and deep trough
4.) Slow moving low

We have all the ingredients there. It will all depend on how these ingerdients interact with eachother.....

Not saying it will snow but, I believe this weekend will be our best shot so far this winter.

Posted by: Skinsfn | March 4, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I hope you eat crow this wknd VTBob.....from another HOKIE.

Cut out the damn sarcasm please. If you are right about this weekend, Im most certain you will loudly beat your chest as you always do. Where we hype up snow, you hype up that it will not. Dont get mad at our hype when you preach your own gospel.

Posted by: VTHokie | March 4, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Snowlovers hating each other now....a sure sign winter is over...

Posted by: anon | March 4, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Doug Hill says rain and 50 Friday.

Posted by: Ivan | March 4, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, sorry this winter has sucked, guess I'll take the blame. Next yr I promise 2 wishcast & not actually base my predictions storm tracks & temps. I guess because my 4casts don't make some people happy I'm the blame 4 the lack of snow, so b it.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | March 4, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

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