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Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 03/31/2009

Forecast: March Exits Like a Lamb

By Matt Rogers

But April showers to start right away

* NY Times Climate Controversy | Cherry Blossoms Begin Blooming *
* Later: Weather & Bloom Dates, and Blossom Poetry *


Today: Partly sunny. 60-64. | Tonight: Cloudy. 39-44.| Tomorrow: PM showers. 53-57. | A Look Ahead


The start of March certainly arrived in the form of a lion as we witnessed our largest snowfall of the season. But now with spring in bloom and April on the doorstep, March is ending like a welcome lamb with periods of sunshine, warmer temperatures, and calmer winds today. April arrives tomorrow though and it looks like showers will promptly commence. Look for shower opportunities through the end of the week with a chance for a decent weekend ahead.

Temperatures: Current area temperatures. Powered by Weather Bonk. Map by Google. Hover over and click icons for more info. Click and hold on map to pan. Refresh page to update. See map bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): Warmer weather will prevail with highs in the low-to-mid 60s and calmer winds more from the south today. We'll start partly to mostly sunny. Clouds will eventually intrude however, and skies may be mostly cloudy by late in the day. Confidence: High

Tonight: Cloudy weather is anticipated with lows dropping once again into the 40s with maybe some upper 30s in the outer suburbs. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Cloudy skies are likely in the morning before showers rush into the area in the afternoon. The winds adjust and start arriving from a more easterly direction. When you mash that up with cloud cover and rain, you get cooler daytime highs probably only in the 50s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: More clouds. More showers. Lows in the 40s. Confidence: Medium


Thursday could find some lingering morning showers before partly cloudy skies and slightly warmer temperatures (near 60) prevail for the day. Confidence: Low-Medium

Friday has a chance for a Sunday repeat with a cool, cloudy morning giving way to a much warmer afternoon with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Right now, we'll stay cautious with middle 60s for highs by the afternoon; but we need to be wary for any surprises to the warmer side again here. Confidence: Low

The first weekend of April is shaping up to be dominated by sunshine. Saturday may run the risk of a cooler, brisk day with those pesky breezes returning. High temperatures could be in the upper 50s again. Sunday is trending warmer though with low-to-mid 60s returning under mostly sunny skies. April showers could scoot back in by early next week, which will make the potential nice weekend weather all the more appreciated. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | March 31, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Waxing Poetic on Cherry Blossoms


Hmmm..what's up with your Saturday forecast?

Every other place I've checked is saying upper 60's and sunny.

Why do you think cooler (by almost 10 degrees)?

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 31, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse


Upper 50s may be on the conservative side -- but the rationale is that a cool northwest breeze coupled with any leftover clouds may hold down temps. But a case could certainly be made for 60s

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 31, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Good question Thinkspring. Saturday is really tricky as a strong low pressure well to our north will be sending cooler air our way; however, there is a chance that winds could be strong enough to create an effect called "downsloping" which actually warms our weather here. I think the other forecasters are thinking we do this, but based on how we fared behind the last cold front (yesterday), I worry we'll be colder again.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 31, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

What kind of rain are you expecting tomorrow afternoon? Steady rain? Occasional showers? I'm trying to figure out my biking plans.

Posted by: lhaller | March 31, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

lhaller -- Precipitation associated with a cold front (which is what we have in this case) is rarely a high-confidence forecast. But best guess here is a few-hour period of moderate showers (yes, could be fairly steady for a time) sometime between midday and evening time. Of course, check PM Update this afternoon and our full forecast early tomorrow morning for the latest.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | March 31, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

We should have 0.75+ in. rain tomorrow and again Friday, mainly showers but perhaps some periods of steadier rain. Right now the possibility of thunderstorms is low but not altogether absent. More rain is due with a vigorous system Monday.

Generally the mechanism for April showers involves rapidly warming air at the surface rising into air that's still cold and wintry at higher levels. This leads to convective instability. The pattern was noted as far back as Chaucer's time:

"When Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote.."

These opening lines from Canterbury Tales seem very appropriate to Washington in 2009.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 31, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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