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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 01/24/2010

Forecast: Heavy rains and gusty winds tonight

By Brian Jackson

Wind-driven rains likely last into morning commute

* Flash Flood Watch & Wind Advisory | Radar & more: Weather Wall *

Updated Sunday Jan. 24 @ 11 p.m.

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
4Afternoon warming offset by tonight's heavy rains.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: A few scattered showers. 40s. | Tonight: Heavy rain & gusty winds likely. Upper 40s and 50s. | Tomorrow: Rain tapers, then mostly cloudy and less windy. Mid-to-upper 50s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


A warming afternoon and evening is on tap for our area but it may come with a price, mainly tonight. Though a good part of today should be mostly dry (with just some spotty showers during the day), the chance of rain increases after dark with heavy rain likely overnight. Flash flood watches have been posted as rain totals approaching two inches are possible in some places by the time we dry out during the day Monday. A leftover shower/flurry Monday night knocks down the door for more sun and seasonable temperatures for the middle of the week.

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

Today (Sunday): Under mostly cloudy skies, increasing winds from the south/southeast ahead of a cold front will pump in moisture that could result in patchy drizzle and scattered showers during the day, but most of the rain from the incoming system will fall overnight. Afternoon temperatures climb through the 40s. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Some scattered evening showers before moderate-to-heavy rain develops overnight as a wave of low pressure attempts to form along the front moving through, slowing its eastward progress. A squall line may develop potentially producing some gusty winds and even some thunder. Temperatures climb into the upper 40s and 50s. Overnight winds increase to 15-25 mph out of the south/southeast, with gusts over 40 mph possible. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through Wednesday....

Tomorrow (Monday): Moderate-to-heavy rain and gusty winds could continue into the morning commute, but both should start to taper by mid-to-late morning. Total rainfall will likely be near or over 1 inch, and may approach 2 inches in some places. The afternoon should turn out somewhat nice, if you can keep your feet dry, with a few shots of sun through mostly cloudy skies and mild temperatures in the mid-to-possibly-upper 50s. Winds will become from the west at 10-20 mph. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: We can't quite clear the air just yet as another weak disturbance moves by in the wake of our soaker. Don't expect too much from this system, though it might set off some widely scattered showers/flurries. Overnight lows will dip back into the lower 30s, and winds will be westerly at around 10 mph. Confidence: Medium


Tuesday finally brings another dry day. With the emergence of sunny skies, we'll enjoy some slightly warmer-than-average temps in the mid-40s, but compared to a mild Monday, it might feel a bit chilly. We'll be partly cloudy and cool overnight, with lows in the mid-to-upper 20s. Confidence: Medium-High

Another sunny winter day is in store Wednesday. Bright skies and highs in the low 40s are forecast for a generally run-of-the-mill midweek day. Confidence: Medium-High

By Brian Jackson  | January 24, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Strong winds and showers this morning


I am just glad it's not snow, but I feel for the folks who may suffer the consequences of all this rain. I'm going to get out and enjoy as much of the day as possible before the precip starts. I'm loving these above freezing days!

Posted by: soyboy99 | January 24, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Is the GFS showing snow for next weekend?

Posted by: snowlover | January 24, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I know all eyes are on this rain storm but are there any thoughts on the potential storm late in the week? Still 5 or 6 days out but it looks interesting.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | January 24, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I posted the following yesterday, but no one answered. Maybe it is too inane? I am hoping someone from the area will help me out :)

"General weather question- I have a friend moving from the south to Lexington Park, in St. Mary's County. I know the weather varies quite a bit there than inside the beltway. I'm pretty familiar with the patterns in the western VA suburbs (i.e., they trend colder and snowier than I do in Old Town) and I *think* St. Mary's County trends warmer and less snowy, but icier than Alexandria? Not sure, just guessing from the location. Could someone let me know? I wanted to fill her in."

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 24, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover2 -

The temps are milder in the area of Lex Park. The Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers help greatly in that department. Storms coming from the west give us little or no problem in Southern Maryland. The systems coming up from the south, especially along the coast, are the ones we watch closely and cause the milk, bread and toilet paper run.

We had a terrible ice storm back in the (early?) 90s, and Calvert County took the biggest hit due to an incredible amount of downed trees and power lines. But that is not the norm. Otherwise, we don't get much at all in the way of ice storms.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, it does! Thank you so much for the information, waterfrontproperty!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Seems to be some indication of a snow/wintry mix event next weekend--I have a big dance scheduled the night of the 29th. Weather Channel has forecast for "light wintry mix" on Friday.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 24, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

We'll have to wait on more data before making a call for next weekend; however, the rain is on tap for tonight. Luckily holding off for our last weekend day, today! Get out and run those errands

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call 39 degrees and drizzle at 1 pm a "nice warm up." I guess the gang took the day off.

Posted by: manatt | January 24, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse


It's 44.5 degrees at my house in NW DC and temperatures will rise this afternoon. There's a stubborn wedge of cool air over the region that will gradually erode. It's already well into the 50s east of the Bay.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt temp will rise, but it went from 41 at 11 am to the current 39.5 here in Winchester with rain but not enough to record.

Posted by: refrep | January 24, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse


Yes-- The GFS shows the potential for some snow late in the week into the early part of the weekend.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Kind of brisk out there ... definitely not as mild as predicted over the past few days. But a southerly/southeasterly flow will eventually kick in toward and into evening and warm us up to near 50.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

From the looks of things, the warm front is somewhere north of Richmond (55F) currently. Ashland, north of Rich. is 49F, so I would place it just north of there, closing in on Fredricksburg, along with a little burst of light showers. We'll probably see it in the southwestern DC area within the hour.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: deveinmadisonva | January 24, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Outlook is worse for Friday night's dance the 29th...could be mixed precipitation changing to accumulating snow by Friday evening. I may recommend cancelling the dance if the GFS trend continues through the week.

Tonight's precipitation potential looks more like 1.5 inches rain, not the two or three being threatened. Most lightning looks to be south of the North Carolina border. Channel 9 mets [we still miss Kim Martucci!] are hinting that most of the rain may be over by 8 or 9 AM tomorrow.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

It was definitely cooler today in the metro area than forecast. There appeared to be some cool-air damming (not really that cold, as temps were in the 40s), as the warm front remained stalled south of us and wrapped up around Salisbury and Ocean City on the Eastern Shore, as it often does. Salisbury was up close to 60 while we were in the 40's.

Just how far north that warm front, at the surface, makes it tonight could determine if we get a squall line, with thunderstorms, in the warm sector when the cold front approaches. Of course, it could occlude south and west of us, as often happens with this type of system, remaining stable at the surface but unstable aloft.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 24, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Jason.....just because it warms on all three sides of us (W, S, E) with the complex wrap-around warm-front does NOT necessarily mean that it will erode or the cool air out here at the surface in the D.C. area. I've lived here for decades and have seen that MANY times...that common "S"-shaped warm front that leaves NE VA and central/NE MD in the cool wedge and occludes, west, of us before the warm air can make it down to the surface here. It's one of th classic features....and frustrations.....of forecasting around here.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 24, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I think this forecast for heavy rain tonight/tomorrow is bunk. The big lie. Look at the radar. It's clear, basically. This is just another badly done job of hyping something that doesn't exist. The Big Lie lives. All the heavy stuff is staying 500 miles west of here. So ... now let's concentrate on hyping Friday night's next Big Lie.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | January 24, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse


I'm well aware of this feature and have forecast it numerous times through the years. Agree that it's very challenging/frustrating at times. Today, we missed the duration, but nonetheless, it has been slowly eroding...and the surface obs bear that out: (Note how narrow the cool tongue over our region is)

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | January 24, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

National radar to the southwest is plenty juicy. I think someone in the area will see 2" of rain and flooding.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 24, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

@deveinmadisonva: NWS separated northern and southern Fauquier earlier this month.

In Silver Spring, not a drop of rain.

Posted by: Murre | January 24, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

@deveinmadisonva: I'm sure the mention of southern Fauquier is to cover the likely flooding of the Rappahannock in Remington. Always a problem in heavy rains ....

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 24, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Check out the 9pm temp readings:

DCA 57
Ft. Belvoir 54
IAD 43

Once again, the last to have the cold air nosed out here in LoCo.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | January 24, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It started to rain about five minutes ago.

Posted by: Murre | January 24, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Will risk of flooding cause schools to close tomorrow?

Posted by: heatherdc1980 | January 24, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Snowlover2 -
My pleasure. :)

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 25, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

@heatherdc1980, not a chance in the world; sorry. :( The last time I remember schools closing for flooding was Hurricane Floyd -- in 1999 -- and the closings were for more than just the rain, but the other effects of a hurricane (wind, lightning, etc.)

Posted by: Josh-CapitalWeatherGang | January 25, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: weathergrrl | January 25, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

I think we had some closings from Isobel in 2003. And Fauquier has had at least one closing after a heavy rainstorm in the last 5 years. Drove to the school the next morning to volunteer, and found the parking lot empty. Never occurred to me that flooding would close down the county's school system ...

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 25, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

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