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Posted at 3:15 PM ET, 03/17/2009

PM Update: Clouds Break for Nice Wednesday

By Ian Livingston

Midweek spring preview with temperatures near 70

* Iditarod: Last Great Race | Bob Ryan Challenged to Climate Debate *

Today featured more cloudiness across the area, but breaks of sunshine are gradually spreading as the marine air mass gives up its fight (finally). Temperatures have been held back by the clouds so far today, with most places rising to around 50 degrees, though a little additional warming is possible this afternoon in places that see some sun.

Webcam: Latest view of D.C. from the Netherlands Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy National Park Service. Refresh page to update. See this image bigger on our Weather Wall.

Tonight: Skies will be partly cloudy overnight as temperatures drop to lows in the upper 30s to around 40. A light wind from the south will be noticeable from time to time.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Local springtime weather lovers will rejoice Wednesday because highs should reach the upper 60s to near 70 in most places. Even better, the sun will be on prominent display throughout the day. South winds around 5-10 mph will add a bit of a breeze to the air.

See Matt Rogers' full forecast through the weekend.

Discovery Mission: Space shuttle Discovery launched on Sunday under mostly clear skies. But, the weather has been an impediment in the past.'s Paul Fuhr explores the bulky pre-flight weather checklist and discusses which conditions have caused delay in the past. If clouds cooperate, look to the sky tonight between 7:39 p.m and 7:46 p.m. Discovery and the International Space Station will be visible above the southwest horizon headed northeast toward and past the Big Dipper.

By Ian Livingston  | March 17, 2009; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Iditarod: The Last Great Race on Earth
Next: Forecast: Warmth is Back After a Week's Wait


This stationary front sure has you guys flummoxed. On Sunday you called for the rain to stop in the afternoon. It didn't. It probably rained harder sunday afternoon than any other time during the rain event. Today, the sun was supposed to make some appearances, it's been cloudy all afternoon (NE DC).

Posted by: jojo2008 | March 17, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

jojo2008, regarding the clouds currently still around.. tough call, most areas around us have broken into the clear and 2 hours ago satellite trends said we would be as well. Then a new area developed right overhead.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 17, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

The precipitation outlook for Thursday seems to have been upgraded slightly into the 0.1" to 0.25" range. Other than that we have high pressure and clear sailing until Wednesday, Mar. 25, though a back-door cold front might wash out just to our north next Monday.

A few "summer outlooks" are beginning to show up on the Eastern U. S. weather board. One has us dry and hot this summer, while another gives us above-normal precipitation at DCA. As of now, it's very early for the CWG outlook, though we could get a spring outlook.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 17, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Much of the area from D.C. to the west is now clearing. Sun is shining here in upper NW.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 17, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

jojo2008 -- One of the nice things about this site is that our forecasts are archived. You're characterization of our Sunday forecast is not quite complete.

On Friday, we said that for Sunday "We'll have to watch another area of precipitation, the heart of which should track by to our south. If it comes close enough we could see mostly cloudy skies and more showers. If it stays far enough south, then we could escape mostly dry with some peeks of sun."

The Saturday forecast for Sunday said, "Some patchy drizzle is possible in the morning with most of it gradually diminishing or ending during the afternoon."

The Sunday morning forecast for Sunday said, "Rain should be more widespread in the early to midday hours but a light easterly wind will keep chances for drizzle throughout the day."

So, far from a perfect forecast for Sunday, but not quite as off as you suggest.

As for today, the clouds did thin in the afternoon, but our forecasts for afternoon peeks of sun did turn out to be a little too optimistic.

March is a traditionally tough month to forecast thanks to stalling fronts and onshore flows that sometimes take much longer to clear out than models indicate. I've seen forecasts fail much more miserably in similar weather situations. I'd actually give us around a B-/C+ for these two forecasts (the Sunday rain forecast and today's cloud forecast).

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | March 17, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

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