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Posted at 9:30 PM ET, 03/28/2010

Forecast: Rain moving in, heavy at times tonight

By Brian Jackson

* Flood Watch in effect until 6 a.m. Monday morning *
* Track the rain: Radar & more: Weather Wall | Coastal Flood Adv. *
* CWG on Facebook & Twitter | Pollen, AQI & UV: Health page *
* Following March Madness? CWG's bracket | CWG T-Shirts *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
5Rain holds off until late, but clouds build & temps stay cool.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Clouds build. Chance of showers late in the afternoon. 53-57. | Tonight: Showers turn to steady rain. 50-54. | Tomorrow: Chance of rain. 59-63. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Little remains to remind us of those glorious 70s that we experienced last week. Yesterday featured the sun but was decidedly chilly, and today will begin to warm but substantial dampness will sour the mood later today, tonight, and at times into Tuesday. Fear not though, once we make it through this latest storm, we'll quickly warm up. Temperatures begin climbing on Wednesday and by week's end, we should see the 70s once again.

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): We'll be slightly warmer today, but it will come at a price. Clouds quickly fill in over our heads and the majority of the day will be spent under cloudy skies. Steadier rain should hold off until the evening hours, though showers could begin anytime between 4 and 7 p.m. Still, most of the day should be fairly salvageable. Afternoon highs reach the mid-50s ahead of the front. Winds blow from the southeast at 5-15 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: By dark tonight, rain should be increasing. The rain could be heavy at times, maybe with some isolated thunder, and by morning we could see rainfall well over a half-inch in some areas. Any way you cut it, it's a night to stay indoors. Steady winds from the south will nearly offset our nighttime cooling, with overnight lows only dipping to near 50. Confidence: Medium-High

Will nice weather return soon? Keep reading for the forecast through midweek...

Tomorrow (Monday): Monday brings the threat of more rain and isolated thunder as a secondary low likely develops along the coast. Forecast confidence is on the low side, though, because the D.C. area may be toward the western edge of the shield of steady rain. So, plan for the possibility of periodic rain through the day, but there may also be extended periods of little or no rain, especially west of I-95. Highs should reach the upper 50s to low 60s. By afternoon, winds come from the north around 5-15 mph. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tomorrow Night: Rain remains in the forecast as winds pick up to near 20 mph from the north/northwest. The rain shield could actually drift west, so any areas west of I-95 that get a break earlier on Monday may not be so lucky Monday night. Total rainfall from late Sunday through Tuesday morning may amount to 1-2 inches. Overnight lows in the mid-40s. Confidence: Medium


On Tuesday, we can't seem to shake this system as the low will still be spinning off the coast, threatening our area with showers. We'll begin to break out of the funk though, as the likelihood of showers decreases through the day. With cool breezes from the northwest, highs may only reach the mid-50s. Overnight, the clouds begin to break up, with chilly lows in the upper 30s. Confidence: Medium

Wednesday we'll see the return of pleasant weather. Mostly sunny skies return as well as warmer temperatures. Highs should climb into the mid-60s. Confidence: Medium

By Brian Jackson  | March 28, 2010; 9:30 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Argh, another 3 days of rain! I'm off to sunny Orlando tomorrow, but don't envy me. I'm stuck inside for 5 days at a conference. Why don't they just have the thing here? We could all pretend we have time to see the cherry blossoms instead of sitting in endless meetings.

Posted by: --sg | March 28, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Bring on the rain! LOVE it!

I have horrible pollen allergies that make life just plain miserable from now until June so the more it rains the better.

The pollen seems way worse about a month early this year. What's the deal? I'm blaming those "glorious" 70* days we had last week - usually it doesn't warm up that quick, that early.

The more important question - if the pollen starts early, will it finish early?

I know this isn't exactly a weather question, but what role does the weather play in the development of tree pollen?

I'm heading over the new "health" page to see what answers lie there...

Posted by: mamory1975 | March 28, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Some other forecasts show A LOT of rain. How much will DC get? Still sticking with 1-2 inches?

Posted by: wzitlau | March 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

In the mountains between Fauquier and Warren Counties, it's foggy with just some sprinkles so far. After a low last night of 30.9F, it's stayed relatively cool so far today. Current temp is 35.4...

Posted by: spgass1 | March 28, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Today's a good day to burn up the last of the winter firewood, while watching the Caps and college hoops games. I bet this is the last time it truly feels like winter.

Posted by: curtmccormick | March 28, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse


The problem with windborne tree pollen here is that when our trees are finished, we're still getting pollen inflow from the same species in Blue Ridge locales at higher altitude where the trees start blooming at a later date. This may explain in part why our pollen season tends to drag on and on.

In addition different species bloom at different dates. After the maples, elms and birches have finished here, the beeches, oaks and hickories start to kick in. These trees also bloom, early to late depending on altitude, thus lengthening the "pollen season" as westerly winds bring Blue Ridge pollen from higher altitudes into our area.

Historically the last windborne pollen to bloom has been the chestnuts, in June. The chestnut blight epidemic may have done Eastern allergy sufferers a favor by killing most of the Appalachian chestnut trees, but we still have cultivated Asian and hybrid chestnuts to deal with. I believe Virginia Tech has been supporting the replanting of blight-resistant hybrid American chestnuts in the species' historic range. When these trees mature, we could well see a resurgence of chestnut-pollen allergy, carrying the season until June 15 or later. Chestnuts are related to beeches and oaks, so if you are sensitive to beech or oak pollen you may also be sensitive to chestnut pollen.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 28, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

As for the rain it looks like a three-day event depending on how the various low-pressure systems involved in this wave form and track. We could see heavy rain periods alternating with intervals of lighter or no precipitation through Tuesday.

Rain removes windborne pollen. The best option for a spring with little or no pollen is when late hard frosts kill the emerging blossoms. When this happens we may have a reasonably pollen-free spring, but we generally also tend to have few or no acorns in the fall, leading to outbreaks of squirrel famine in such seasons.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Chestnuts were once the most plentiful tree in the US, the nuts were a large food source people & wildlife, & it is an excellent wood for furniture. While some American Chestnuts still grow from stumps, they don't survive long enough to produce any nuts. Tech has been working a # of yrs 2 produce a genetically blight resistant strain. Chinese Chestnuts r blight resistant & they have been grafting the Am. with the Ch. & have had some success in producing resistant tress. Other trees have now replaced the Chestnuts, especically Oaks, Maples, Hickorys & Maples. Even if a blight res. tree is produced, it will still take many decades for the trees to b of any economic & food producing importance.

Posted by: VaTechBob | March 28, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Does rain affect flights?

Posted by: JSTF | March 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'd be interested in getting some blight-resistant Chestnut trees to plant in the woods behind my house. Does anyone know how/where to get some? Are the expensive?

Posted by: manassasmissy | March 28, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Some updates made to the forecast above based on latest model information and uncertainty about how much rain falls tomorrow. Some indication that it will be less rainy west of I-95 and more rainy east of I-95.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 28, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse


There's conflicting model info in terms of how much rain, though the model that showed less rain increased its amounts in the latest run. Probably mostly depends on how much rain we get during the day tomorrow, which may end up less than originally expected. So, the 1-2" total is still a good guess, but can't rule out a little higher.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 28, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Rain has started here.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | March 28, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The rain is pouring in Stafford. At this rate, we'll need an ark by Tuesday.....

Posted by: david_in_stafford | March 28, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

David, hope things have slowed down in Stafford. I see one thunderstorm cell has moved to your north.. and hopefully given you a small respite. Right now at the DC Convention Center we're 58 with off & on sprinkles. Just hasn't gotten started downtown yet. Wind & clouds remain ominous, of course!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 28, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Camden, we're getting another swath of heavy rain moving in right now. This one is much larger. It should be to DC within the next hour according to the radar.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | March 28, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Youre spot-on David ;) first rumble of thunder heard!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 28, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Haven't been through all of the weekend's comments so apologies for any repetition. But if we're going to get this amount of rain, at least it's not during the peak of the cherry blossom festival. The intensity of rain that appears headed this way would leave little left to look at.

Posted by: ParkerGP | March 28, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Another FLOOD! Why can't we ever seem to get just like .5" of rain? And I don't EVEN want to hear well "We really need it!!??"

Posted by: seasejs | March 28, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Good points, guys, about the late-blooming chestnut trees and the Blue Ridge altitude extending the pollen season...I hadn't thought of that. I'm glad I generally don't get the classic sinus problems from it, but I symphathize with those who so.

I agree that we can probably forget the 1" or so rain forecast. Local estimates now, from the whole system, go up to 4", with isolated 6". it Looks like a secondary system is trying to form along the front, inland, over the Carolinas, and will be tapping even more Atlantic moisture as it heads north and east. And, of course, just like with the endless parade of past storms in the last two months, it's going to stall just north of the area and prolong things into (maybe) Tuesday morning.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | March 28, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that Camden says that the DC Convention Center reports 58 degrees...I live near they have a weather reporting station or is that just Camden's personal weather station? If so, is there a web link to it? Thanks.

Posted by: dcbat | March 28, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

According to wunderground DCA has received 1.5 inches. That's monsoon type rains in anyones book.

Posted by: jojo2008 | March 29, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

So far, this storm has left us in Reston, VA 0.67" of rainfall, and that was since I would say around 1800 HRS or so on Sunday, 28MAR10.

The Barometer is still falling, quite steadily I might add, with it currently reading 29.75 in (It was at 29.83 in. at Midnight, and 29.93 in. at 2100 HRS EDT (28MAR10)). So yeah, as you can see, it's been currently dropping at a rate of .10 in. every three hours.

The Temperature is holding steady at 49.1(F), which is actually a little above what it was earlier, and the Winds are mostly out of the NNE, at around 2 MPH and less. The RH is currently 96% as well, with the Dewpoint at 48(F).

Ho hum, I'm really not looking forward to anymore rain. My folks are out of town, and it's just I and the critters around here for a few days or so lol. It would be nicer taking them on walks, if it wasn't pouring. They've been getting so soaked, that I've been using the designated "Rain Towel" to dry them off everytime :-p

Posted by: TheAnalyst | March 29, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

The predominant winds have now shifted to the WSW, at around 2-4 MPH.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | March 29, 2010 4:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the pollen comments.

I'd always wondered why the pollen season here was so freakin long, I just figured "that's life".

The Blue Ridge Mountains and Shendoah National Park are two of my favorite places, it makes me sad to think they are a big part of my problem!

On the other hand, it might explain why I have been able to get out hiking into April out there with few allergy issues.

I think the real thing that bothers me about our climate here is that the "break" in the pollen action is so short - I have ragweed allergies also so I pretty much get July and then Dec-Feb off. Unless we get lucky and have an early freeze, which never seems to happen.

Posted by: mamory1975 | March 29, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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