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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/10/2010

Forecast: Still mild, but clear skies cloud up

By Dan Stillman

Not much rain until late Thurs.; Flood risk by weekend?

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A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
6Clouds taint our recent crystal clear skies. But continued mild air is still a novelty after our long winter.
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Today: Partly to mostly cloudy. Slight shower chance. Low-to-mid 60s. | Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy. Slight shower chance. Mid-40s to near 50. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly cloudy. Slight shower chance until rain threatens late. Near 60 or low 60s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Our weather glass has brimmed full with sunny perfection the past few days. That comes to an end with today's clouds and eventually rising rain chances. The glass-half-full way to look at things is that temperatures will stay on the mild side and rain should largely hold off until late Thursday through Saturday. The half-empty view is that heavy enough rains combined with mountain snow melt to our west could raise the risk of flooding.

Clouds: Latest mid-Atlantic infrared satellite loop, courtesy Unisys. Click here to expand. Refresh page to update. See more maps on our Weather Wall

Today (Wednesday): Highs head for the low-to-mid 60s today, but it will be a different kind of day than the past few days -- instead of bright sun and very dry air, we'll see partly to mostly cloudy skies today and increasingly moist air. Not much doing in the rain department yet, with just the chance of a passing sprinkle or light shower. Winds remain light, around 5 mph from the southeast. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Skies stay partly to mostly cloudy, but will be hard-pressed to produce more than a stray sprinkle or light shower. It'll be a mild night by early-to-mid-March standards with lows in the mid-40s to near 50 (suburbs to city). Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Thursday): We may very well eke out another decent day with partly to mostly cloudy skies and just a slight chance of a shower through much of the day, until rain chances increase toward evening. Winds stay light, but at 5-10 mph they'll be a little more breezy than today. The mild streak continues with highs up to near 60 or into the low 60s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Steady rain becomes likely (70% chance) by tomorrow evening or overnight with lows in the upper 40s to low 50s. Confidence: Medium


For Friday, rain looks like a pretty good bet in the morning and in the evening. Models are hinting there might be a lull for much of the middle part of the day, but we'll have to watch if the models stay consistent with that as we get into tomorrow. If we do get that lull, highs could make the low 60s (otherwise maybe only the upper 50s) even with cloudy skies through the day. Rain could be heavy at times overnight with lows near 50. Confidence: Low-Medium

While it's too early to guarantee a washout, Saturday does not look good. Moderate to heavy rain may be with us for much or all of the day, along with some gusty breezes. Could see an inch or more of rain. If it was all snow, we'd probably be talking 10 inches or more -- highs climbing to near 60 ensure there will be no shoveling around here this weekend. Confidence: Medium

Snow depth as of March 10. Darkest blues, such as those in Western Md. and northeastern W.V. where the Potomac River begins, represent upward of 20 inches. Courtesy NOAA/NOHRSC.

Rain should let up for Saturday night and Sunday, though showers could continue on and off through the period with Saturday night lows in the 40s (maybe near 50 downtown) and Sunday highs near 60. Confidence: Low-Medium

Flood threat: We'll have to keep a close watch on river levels Saturday into early next week, as melting snow in the higher elevations to our west, and the potential for heavy rain both here and upstream, could push waters close to or over their banks. Take this as a heads-up if you live in a low-lying, flood-prone area.

By Dan Stillman  | March 10, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: March: A fickle month by any standard


Hmmm...I wonder how long it'll take the hate snow crowd and the HHH lovers to start pouting about rainy weekends?

Posted by: ftwash | March 10, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

I'll take pouting for $200 ... and we were in a rainy weekend stretch for quite a lot of fall. The snow, the hype, the fun while it lasts is great, but the drear we've had to endure after ... the mud, the potholes, the wrecked landscape, really harshes my mellow. I think we deserve more of what we had yesterday and some cherry blossoms!

Posted by: weathergrrl | March 10, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Snowy perfection generates a lot more page traffic and comments than sunny perfection.

-- Flakey diehard from Florida

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | March 10, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Au contraire, ftwash. Bring on the rain! At least I don't have to shovel it, and it won't keep me stuck in my house for days courtesy of the ineptitude of both the area DOTs and the area drivers. True, it causes traffic problems, but those abate shortly after the rain stops, unlike the icy frozen stuff.

Sun > Rain > Snow

Actually got to hit the golf course for the first time this season last weekend, so I'm a happy camper.

Posted by: nocando | March 10, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen the QPF totals for these storms!!! If only this storm can a bit more to west the NAM and GFS would be off the charts. I'm going to put my underpants on inside out and invert my umbrella for my rain-dance - let's hope the AO oscillation could provide additional daming - man we could squeeze out additional totals then!

Though I hope it doesn't rain too hard on Friday night as I have my dance to go to. And on Saturday I have a flight - does CWG know if my flight may be delayed? Please oh mighty CWG oracle tell me if my flight will be delayed and by how much, and if I should switch different flights! Or if it would be better to drive...then what time should I drive?

Posted by: BritBobinHerndon | March 10, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll try not to quibble with the experts here, but I am near the Shenandoah Mountains (Shenandoah County) almost every weekend and most of the snow there and in the surrounding areas is long gone. Even with the cooler temperatures in the mountains, there has been a slow melt on for almost three weeks now...

Posted by: signof4 | March 10, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse


Yep ... it's the remaining snow to the west of you (farther upstream), and the water locked up in that snow, that is of concern in terms of flooding potential. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 10, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse


The concern is the north branch of the Potomac river which begins in Garrett County Maryland where there is still a hefty snowpack.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 10, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I second nocando's comments.

I prefer sun, but I'll take rain 100 times out of 100 over snow and ice.

And the reason why there's less comments on sunny days as opposed to snowy days is obvious....people are actually outside enjoying the sunny ones.

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

I don't think rain is always better than snow. I'd much rather have snow than rain with temps in the 30s or 40s. Nothing's more miserable than a cold rain. Rain in the 50s vs. snow, I'd normally consider a push, but after this winter, I'll take the rain.

Posted by: ryanem1 | March 10, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Of course Saturday will be a washout. We're moving. And to a place with a basement, so I'm sure we'll flood as well. Perfect.

Posted by: mdem929 | March 10, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Well I will take snow over a strong rain anyday. So sign me up for pouting. And for those that think that Washington DC drivers are actually better drivers in a rain like that forecast for Saturday, I have to wonder where you drive? I have not noticed an improvement of skill and in fact the number of accidents etc, in a storm like that forecast for Saturday actually seems to me to be somewhat similar or worse.

In addition, for those with allergies this weather is causing nightmarish symptons.

With this weekend's rain, I am going to be stuck outside at a soccer tournament cheering on my daughter rain or shine. So frankly I am not thrilled by the amount of rain being forecast, and the winds which will make it seem colder than the temps indicate. Oh well, it was bound to happen, at least everything will be green and beautiful soon.

Posted by: soleil2000 | March 10, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse


I heard on the radio (Elliot in the Morning) that there was a potential storm for later in the month that could bring a lot of snow to the area. I know it is far away, but do you guys have any insight on this?

Love the site

Posted by: aaf314 | March 10, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The advantage of this will be mild, showery spring rain, not the raw nasty stuff we kept getting last spring, or which we get when we're on the west side of a "coastal" once it gets too warm to snow during meteorological spring. We should have periods of heavy rain, but will have relatively dry, mild spells in between.

If the right instability parameters come into play, thunderstorms are possible. Sterling has been tending to minimize the threat of thunder thus far.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 10, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

aaf314 - nothing is imminent or scientifically significant with regards to snow later this month. I wonder if Elliot was mentioning the always-entertaining Farmer's Almanac?

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | March 10, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I heard on the radio (Elliot in the Morning)..

Now there's a reliable source!

Posted by: Axel2 | March 10, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It's not in the Farmers' Almanac that I could see. It was the first place I looked after hearing about the radio address - then I checked here :-)

Posted by: kygurl94 | March 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Is Elliott in the Morning an expert on anything?

Posted by: 123home123 | March 10, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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