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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 03/19/2008

In Focus: Timeline for Storms and Strong Winds

By Matt Ross

Best chance for strong storms: late afternoon into tonight

Model simulation of radar for 8 p.m. tonight shows a line of showers and thunderstorms stretching up and down the mid-Atlantic, including through the D.C. area. Credit: NCEP

Not unlike the prevailing weather pattern this winter, a strong low pressure system will track west of D.C. today, followed by an associated cold front. Of course, each weather system has unique characteristics and this one is no different. The main threat with this system is a line of thunderstorms just ahead of the cold front that may be accompanied by strong to damaging winds. Read below for our best estimate on the timing of showers and storms ...

Noon to 4 p.m.: Ahead of the cold front, strong flow from the south will allow temperatures to climb well into the 60s. There may be some light rain showers, especially toward the end of the period.

4 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Steadier rain should move into the area from west to east, likely reaching the Beltway by the middle or latter part of this period. Some rain may be in the form of thunderstorms, especially west of D.C. and toward the end of the period, both from a line of storms that might form east of the mountains and/or isolated cells. Any thunderstorms have the potential to produce gusty winds that could be damaging in some locations.

8 p.m. to 2 a.m.: Showers and thunderstorms are likely in the metro area, with the potential for some storms to pack quite a punch. As described above, the main threat is strong to damaging wind. Isolated tornadoes are not out of the question.

2 a.m. to 7 a.m.: Any remaining showers and thunderstorms should quickly dry up as the cold front pushes east of the D.C. area. Winds will become gusty out of the west and northwest behind the cold front.

See Dan's post for more on the forecast for today through the weekend.

By Matt Ross  | March 19, 2008; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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