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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/ 5/2008

Forecast: Spring Fling Fades Away

By Dan Stillman

Temperatures on the way down; late-week storm?

There's bad news and good news for those who have enjoyed this week's taste of spring, which ended with heavy rain and storms last night that produced a wind gust of 74 mph at Reagan National Airport. The bad news is that it may be a while before temperatures reach near 70 again, as they did the past two days. The good news is that the transition to cooler weather will be gradual, with highs holding in the 50s today and tomorrow. Then, after some potential storminess late Friday and Saturday, temperatures take more of a tumble over the weekend.

TODAY

Becoming mostly sunny. Breezy. Upper 50s. Any lingering showers and clouds early this morning will quickly give way to a mostly sunny day and breezy (from the west at 15-20 mph with higher gusts) with highs in the upper 50s. Tonight, winds should become light with mostly clear skies and lows in the low to mid 30s in the burbs, upper 30s downtown.

TOMORROW

Partly to mostly sunny. Mid to upper 50s. Temperatures continue near to above average on Thursday with highs in the mid to upper 50s under partly to mostly sunny skies. Overnight, increasing clouds with a slight chance of a shower and lows near 40.

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend.

FRIDAY

Becoming mostly cloudy. Increasing chance of p.m. rain. Mid to upper 40s. Skies should become mostly cloudy as a storm approaches from the south, with a chance of showers by afternoon and highs in the mid to upper 40s. The chance of rain increases during the evening, with some steady and potentially heavy rain overnight.

A LOOK AHEAD

While the forecast details are still taking shape, it looks like Saturday could be a wet and windy day with temperatures stuck in the upper 30s to low 40s as a strengthening storm moves up the East Coast. It's not out of the question the storm could end as a little bit of snow Saturday night, especially north and west of D.C.

Some accumulation is possible for Frederick County and points north and west. While accumulating snow from this storm is not likely in the immediate metro area, cold air will be close enough, and the track of the storm is still uncertain enough, that the situation bears watching.

Clearing skies and windy Saturday night with lows in the 20s.

Sunday should start mostly sunny and breezy with highs heading for the low 40s. Clouds may increase later in the day, with a chance of a snow flurry Sunday night and lows in the 20s.

By Dan Stillman  | March 5, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: The Cold and Snowy Reversal of March 1960

Comments

Last night we had the heaviest rain I have ever seen in my life. It was comforting listening to the rain up against the window though. The weather radio (about 5 feet from my head) went off 3 times last night for a severe thunderstorm around Midnight. Scared the living crap out of me. Oh well, better to be informed. Anyway, if we did have a storm I didn't hear any thunder or anything.

I'm not even going to comment on the storm this weekend because I was always taught "if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all..." ;)

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 5, 2008 6:25 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was supposed to stop raining overnight...?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2008 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Dan, I am pretty sure we received over 2" of rain last night in Stafford. It was very heavy at times. Any idea of how much more we're expecting on Friday-Saturday?

Posted by: David A. | March 5, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Not sure about the specifics, but we lost power in the LoCo bootheel around midnite...and car alarms were going off thru 3am?!? 1.25 inches in the gauge this morning was very sweet, though...a 74 mph gust at Reagan? Is that a top ten gust all time? That's hurricane force! I know the record is 97, but that was a fast moving, eroding hurricane.

Posted by: Dulles ARC | March 5, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

1.18 inches in NW Montgomery.

Posted by: JT | March 5, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

NWS said that eastern Prince William County received over 2 inches of rain in the Flood Warning issued last night...

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | March 5, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

1.35" here

Posted by: steve takoma park md | March 5, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

1.7" storm total south side of Rockville

Posted by: Rob-Rockville | March 5, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I hate to post this,but it looks like a rain event this weekend...I dont think the cold air will be there,especially if we get an inland runner.

I have finally given up this winter on snow. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that there was no lightning last night (at least where I was in western Fairfax). I know that some powerful storms can produce lots of rain and wind, even tornadoes, without lightning. Any knowledgeable person care to comment on the factors that produce lightning, and how storms can produce a little or a lot?

Posted by: CM | March 5, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Well, it looks like despite all the skepticism of commenters on here yesterday, the flood watch turned out to be well founded. When you get that much rain in such a short time, with very little vegetation on the ground in EARLY SPRING :), flooding is always a concern. I was surprised people were digging on NWS yesterday about that.

The tornado watch was also well justified, but of course all the local TV stations took it way too far, scaring the public with bumbers for the 11 o'clock news screaming "TORNADO WATCH!!!!"

Posted by: Southside FFX | March 5, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

CM: Good question and a good topic for a future post. Don't have time to provide an in-depth explanation now, but lack of lightning probably due to relatively low cloud tops on thunderstorms and instability compared to summer thunderstorms. Here's a good link for some more technical info: Haby's Hints

Posted by: Jason, Capital Weather Gang | March 5, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Accotink Lake/Mixing Bowl/West Springfield: Storm Total = 2.55"

Wow!!

Posted by: Bikerjohn | March 5, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Still it's not nice having my dance nights being CONTINUALLY "harassed" by this type of weather, let alone the extraneous flood watches and tornado watches! The dance was rather well attended but I noticed that certain folks weren't there, probably having been kept home by the flood watch and the tornado watch. Hazardous weather is never good for a dance night.

The worst weather I saw was on the way home between 10:30 and 11 PM, chiefly heavy downpours, though I noted little if any lightning or thunder during the whole weather event. Things started clearing up a few hours after midnight, though we got some shower activity as late as 5 AM.

Now another of my favorite gripes. This is the obscenely early jump ahead to Daylight Saving Time we're being forced to endure this Sunday under the excuse of "energy conservation". Problem is that you don't really conserve any energy when you are forced into having to endure darkness from 6 AM to nearly 8 AM during March! Frankly I prefer the daylight at 7 AM this time of year! The proper time to "spring ahead" would be the LAST Sunday of March, not this weekend, or early April!!!

Posted by: El Bombo | March 5, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The majority of the region received .30-1.75" of much needed rain. A narrow strip from Richmond n.e. to D.C. received 2.00+", because of the training effect. I received .80"

Unfortunately, as expected, most of this rain came down rather intensely, therefore a lot of runoff occurred, instead of soaking into the soil, but every drop helps!

We are in a short term pattern that is quite unique for the past several months. We experienced a significant event during the past 24 hrs. and face another, 50-80 hrs. into the future.

The following is another unique aspect to the late week threat. This will be the first time this winter that we have witnessed a threat from the south, with high pressure over the northern Great Lakes. All of the other southern threats have moved toward the mid Atlantic with high pressure retreating off the New England coast.

Depending on the strength of the Atlantic ridge, the synoptic pattern favors a coastal runner, which could get quite interesting. Unfortunately, the Atlantic ridge looks to be a little too strong. Model preference varies widely, but there is a bias toward a slightly inland runner, which would favor rain for most of the event.

Things would be different if this threat occurred on Jan. 7-8 vs. March 7-8. During March, all the parameters must come together almost perfectly, for a winter storm east of the mts. For most, we need a strong and intensifying Hatteras low to move n.n.e. just offshore, with strong cold high pressure over Lake Huron to Ottawa.

The longer range through mid. to late March, looks to average colder than normal and stormy, with some possible very late wintry threats.

Posted by: Augusta Jim | March 5, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that the weather powers that be are not scheduling the nasty weather deliberately on dance days but I could be wrong.

I'm looking foward to the early DST switch. I hate, hate, hate it being or getting dark right after I get home, I'm much more productive when it's still light out in the evening. When it's dark I want to just snuggle up against the dark.

I tried to stay up for the last line of storms last night but I couldn't keep my eyes open and amazingly slept through the whole thing which is not like me at all.

Posted by: Ana B | March 5, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Only got about an inch of the wet stuff last night...but it sure was pounding the windows. Being from Florida, I love falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof. Although, I did leave the TV on last night in case severe weather alerts came across. (The wx radio is downstairs and wasn't charged enough to bring upstairs...needs new batteries...)

Posted by: Kim in Manassas | March 5, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I've seen a few mentions of complaints regarding the tornado watches that were issued last night. I used to not think much of them in this area either. That was until an F3 tornado blew through the University of Maryland my freshman year. Never thought that would happen. Then an F5 hit La Plata, MD the following year. I take those types of watches much more seriously now. Apparently so do the local news station. I can understand the qualms about them "over hyping" such a watch, but better safe than sorry.

Posted by: Laura | March 5, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

1.5 inches of welcome rain in the gauge this morning. While no one at my house claimed to hear thunder during the storms last night, i did see some lightning around 2 a.m.

Posted by: weathergrrl | March 5, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I measured over 2.7" I spilled a little bit out though, so I don't have an exact amount. I guess I'm the winner. I didn't see any higher measurements on COCORAHS. McleaNed, did you get a measurement at your house?

Posted by: Peter in McLean | March 5, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the Mt Vernon section of ALexandria/Fairfax County, and we had a NUMBER of big trees come down last night, especially right along the river. As we drove up the GWPkwy to work this morning, there were at least 5 big mature trees down across the road. Must have been SOME gust we had last night. These were significant uprootings.

Posted by: Elizabeth | March 5, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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