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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 04/ 6/2009

Forecast: Showers & Storms, Then a Chilly Blow

By Jason Samenow

* Later: Solar Storms - A Threat to Civilization? *


Today: A.M. Showers/t'storms, then partial clearing. 64-68. | Tonight: Breezy and colder. 36-40. Tomorrow: Partly cloudy, windy, and cool. 49-53. | A Look Ahead


The week begins with a bang with a potent cold front sweeping a line of showers and thunderstorms through the area this morning. Then, temperatures begin to tumble tonight with early March-like coolness in the region through Wednesday. More seasonable 60s return Thursday through the weekend, although rain is a possibility Friday into the first part of Saturday. So Thursday and Sunday hold the most promise of being nice, spring-like days in the coming week.

Radar: Latest regional radar loop shows movement of precipitation over past two hours. Powered by HAMweather. Refresh page to update. Click here to see radar bigger. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Monday): Bring the umbrella for your return to work. An area of showers and thunderstorms is likely to roll through the region between about 7 a.m. and noon. Heavy downpours and some gusty winds are possible as this area of rain passes through. Rainfall totals should range from about 0.5-1". During the afternoon, most of the rain should end (although across the Bay, where a few severe storms may develop, the activity may last through mid-afternoon), with skies becoming partly sunny. High temperatures should be in the mid-to-upper 60s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: The cold air behind today's front will steadily stream in on increasing winds from the northwest (to about 15-20 mph by morning). Lows will dip into the mid-30s in the colder suburbs to near 40 downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend....

Spring flowers yesterday afternoon near George Washington University in the District. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): A cold pool of air will have settled over the region with temperatures about 10 degrees below average. After some morning sunshine, clouds will increase in the afternoon, with an isolated shower possible (20% chance, and mostly northwest of town). Highs will be around 50 but gusty winds from the northwest at 15-25 mph will make it feel closer to a wintry 40 degrees at times. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: A freeze is a pretty good bet in the colder suburbs where temperatures will bottom out in the upper 20s to near 30. Inside the beltway, it will probably (60%) remain at or slightly above freezing due to some clouds and a lingering breeze. But if skies clear and winds relax enough, a large part of the metro area may see a freeze (40% chance). Confidence: Medium


Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin yesterday afternoon. By CWG photographer Ian Livingston.

It remains breezy and cold on Wednesday, with highs again struggling to reach 50. We should have a little bit more sunshine and slightly lighter winds compared to Tuesday though. Under partly to mostly cloudy skies, freezing temperatures return to the colder suburbs Wednesday night, with lows near 30. In town, temperatures should stay at or above freezing. There's a slight (20%) chance of some light precipitation towards morning as a warm front flirts with the region. Confidence: Medium-High

The cool air mass starts to lose its grip over the area on Thursday, with partly sunny skies, light winds, and highs around 60. Partly cloudy at night, with lows in the 40s. Confidence: Medium

On Friday, a weak cold front will move through the region, likely producing some showers -- especially in the afternoon. Highs should be in the mid-60s. Showers continue overnight, with lows 45-50. Confidence: Medium

Showers may linger into Saturday morning, but the sun may return by afternoon, with seasonable highs in the mid 60s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Partly to mostly sunny skies seem like a decent bet for Sunday, with highs in the mid-to-upper 60s. Confidence: Medium

By Jason Samenow  | April 6, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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I don't think we will get much rain at all today, but that's just me I guess.

Posted by: wecndo | April 6, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Big roll of thunder just now in Lake Ridge.

Posted by: meta2 | April 6, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

First time of the year that I've noticed that "spring rain" scent in the air. Pretty potent too as I'm still inside at the moment.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | April 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

First time this year I've noticed that "spring rain" scent in the air. It's pretty potent too as I'm still indoors at the moment.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | April 6, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Stupid technology...

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | April 6, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

smell of spring air - "petrichor" from Wikipedia (and A.Word.A.Day)

Petrichor (pronounced /ˈpɛtrɨkɚ/) (from Greek petros, "stone" + Greek ichor, "the gods' blood") is the name of the scent of rain on dry earth.

The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, Bear and Thomas, for an article in the journal Nature. In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is adsorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent. In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.

The scent is generally regarded as pleasant and refreshing, and is one of the most frequently cited "favorite smells". In desert regions, the smell is especially strong during the first rain after a long dry spell. The oil yielding the scent can be collected from rocks and concentrated to produce perfume; however, it has yet to be synthesized, perhaps due to its complexity. It is composed of more than fifty distinct chemical substances.

Posted by: halaji | April 6, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

We've been getting some rain in the Baileys Crossroads area, but the really strong thunderstorms have been to our east most of the morning. Looks now as though Rehoboth, Bethany and Ocean City have been hitting the jackpot and there's a severe wx box over most of the southern part of that area.

I found myself rambling around the Eastern Wx portal this morning, and there's yet another summer outlook out. In this case the analog years start with 1955 and 1957. 1955 was one of the hottest summers in Wisconsin that I remember. Here, June in 1955 and 1957 was hot but July and August were a bit cooler than normal. There's a good reason why Aug., 1955 may have been a bit cooler: Hurricane CONNIE, which dumped 7+ inches of rain on DCA. [Dulles wasn't in existence in 1955; the records are probably for downtown Chantilly, which was likely a pretty rural spot at the time, as was Manassas!]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 6, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

April showers bring May flowers.

Posted by: jojo2008 | April 6, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Yippee...a return to late Feb/early March weather. :(

Am I the only one who feels as though spring hasn't really shown up yet?

Posted by: ThinkSpring | April 6, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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