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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 06/23/2008

Forecast: Another Day, Another Storm Threat

By Jason Samenow

Here "the year of the D.C. thunderstorm" goes again. For the third straight day, storms are in the forecast. Fortunately storm chances diminish tomorrow and evaporate Wednesday. But Thursday through at least Saturday, they're back, back again. Going along with thunderstorm chances, it will generally be warm and humid, except for our quasi-reprieve tomorrow and Wednesday.

Washington Post recap from yesterday's storms: Hail, Winds Knock Out Power, Down Trees


Radar: Latest regional area radar loop, courtesy HamWeather. Refresh page to update. Click here to zoom.

Warm and humid. 40% chance of t'storms. 83-87. Count on a day pretty similar to yesterday. It will feel summery and warm with the sun out for large parts of the day. But then, late in the afternoon and early evening, storms develop. A few storms could reach severe levels, with strong winds and hail the main threats.

Overnight, after the storm threat wanes by around 10 or 11 p.m, we'll have partly cloudy skies thereafter. Lows drop to 65-70 (suburbs-city).

Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the week. See NatCast for the likely conditions at tonight's game


Partly sunny. 83-87. The cold front responsible for the storms the previous few days will slowly move offshore. So expect gradually less humid conditions. Having said that, enough moisture and instability may stick around for an isolated thunderstorm (20% chance).

Overnight, winds from the northwest will cool us down and dry us out, with lows in the upper 50s in the cooler suburbs and the mid 60s downtown.

Confidence: Medium-High


Wednesday should be the nicest day of the week. There will be lots of sunshine and, importantly, low humidity coupled with little to no storm risk. Highs Wednesday should be in the mid 80s. Confidence: Medium-High

Thursday and Friday will gradually become warmer and more humid. Highs will be in the upper 80s Thursday and low 90s on Friday. With the increase in heat and humidity, the risk of afternoon/evening storms will increase but should probably only be in the 30% range. Confidence: Medium

Saturday has the potential to be hot and humid and stormy. Winds from the south may boost temperatures into the 90s but a strong cold front may approach late triggering some gusty thunderstorms. Confidence: Medium

On Sunday, if the cold front clears fast enough, it may be much less humid and dry; or, if the front drags it heels, it may remain a bit sticky with another chance of afternoon/evening storms. Either way, it will likely be cooler than Saturday, with highs in the 80s instead of the 90s. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Jason Samenow  | June 23, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: NatCast: Storms May Strike or Strike Out
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Enough thunderstorms already. Enough!!

Posted by: WSL | June 23, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

I really don't mind the thunderstorms but I do mind that the City of Falls Church seems to have the weakest electrical grid in Virginia. The mere mention of a Thunderstorm and the power is out for hours if not days.

Posted by: Greg | June 23, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Is it my imagination, or does the Post's print edition weather map this morning indicate that the entire region will be experiencing snow flurries today?

Posted by: Phoebe | June 23, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This seems to be the third straight year with thunderstorm activity higher than normal. This may relate to "global warming".

Normally Washington has thunderstorms on 27 or so days a year. The past three years we seem to have been running in excess of thirty days/year. Recently we seem to be getting very near the 40-50 days/year category, similar to Kentucky or Tennessee. This could be an effect of "global warming" (Al Gore's detractors to the contrary). Already Inuit and other populations are reporting far more lightning in recent year at Arctic latitudes.

We certainly seem to be getting more severe weather these days. During the 1980's and 1990's we only had one or two big severe weather events a year. Several of these events happened during the Aug./Sept. hurricane season due to tropical and subtropical systems. Nowadays we're getting more "June monsoons" similar to the severe weather events of the Upper Midwest. The event of June 4 behaved much like a Midwestern derecho, except for the high degree of rotation along the storm front.

Posted by: El Bombo | June 23, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

So at risk of sounding incredibly stupid (thankfully it's anonymous): What exactly does a 40% chance of rain mean? I was told once that it meant at any one time 40% of the area would have precipitation. Is this true?


Posted by: Novice, obviously | June 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Novice -- Good question ... which we happen to address on our Frequent Questions page (linked to above the CWG banner).

Posted by: Capital Weather Gang | June 23, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Novice, obviously": That's actually a good question, and I asked that a few years ago. It's not stupid ;). When they say "40% chance of rain", it means that there is a 40% chance that anyone in the area could experience precipitation, and there is a 60% chance that most people in the area that the CWG forecasts for will not see precip.

Of course, I've always held this extremely unscientific and unproven theory: When they say 20-30% chance of rain, expect it to pour like hell for a few hours. When they say 70% chance of rain, expect the precip to split off at Warrenton and go north and south of where you live, completely missing you. :P

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | June 23, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I think the "global warming" trend spans back into the 1990's when Maryland, with an average of 10-12 tornadoes, had a density of coverage comparable to Oklahoma. Agreed that there were fewer individual episodes than we've experienced this year. The June 4 event fits the description of a progressive derecho as far as I can tell, even with rotation. There was only one classified tornado (in Chesapeake Beach) with the initial bow echo and MCS; others were classified but with later storms and MCS that moved through the middle and south portions of the forecast area; most of the damage was from straight line winds, and several were in the 80-100 mph range. Tonight could prove to be interesting since there are three lines of storms developing, one east of the blue ridge, one over central WV and one over the upper Ohio valley, all progressing eastward. Plus, lines of storms already reach southward through the Carolinas into Georgia. Charlotte is getting clocked at the moment.

Posted by: Steve Wasko | June 23, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Forget global warming, El Bombo. The perststant thunderstorms we've had this June have nothing to do global warming.

They have been mostly due to active jet streams, cold fronts, and a cool conditions aloft destabilizing things. In effect, we are still in a spring pattern this year we never really got out of.

Posted by: Mike | June 23, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Washington has an average of 31 thunderstorm days per year. So far, this June has had 9 vs. an average of 6, but May had only 3 vs. an average of 5, so the 2 months together are only +1.

Posted by: Capital Climate | June 23, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice in the weather page of the print edition of the Post today (back page of the metro section) that in the regional schematic for "Today's Forecast" it showed widespread snow flurries across the region with a high/low of 85/67 degrees F? Now that would be a meteorological first! Either someone intended it to be the T-Storm symbol but mislabelled it, or the "snow flurries" symbol was purposely substituted to indicate potential for hail due to the widespread T-Storms?

Posted by: Josh Foster | June 23, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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