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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 06/ 1/2010

Forecast: Clouds return with afternoon storms

By Matt Rogers

Week ranges from warm to sometimes hot & humid

* Outside now? Radar, temps & more: Weather Wall | Traffic *
* Later: Capital Weather Gang's summer outlook *

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
5The potential for disruptive afternoon thunderstorms knocks the digit down a notch from Memorial Day.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Variable a.m. clouds with p.m. storms (70% chance). 85-90. | Tonight: Evening storms. Partly cloudy. 67-72. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, less humid. 85-90. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


While yesterday is the unofficial start of summer and June 21 is the first day on your calendar, today is the first day of meteorological summer (which runs through Aug. 31). Yesterday brought summer heat and humidity to the D.C. area, but today brings the other feature of our typical summers: thunderstorms! Look for the rumblers to get fired up this afternoon and they could linger into the evening hours. At this point, most of the storms shouldn't be severe, but there may be some isolated intense storms to monitor.

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 (Tuesday): Some sun could be seen this morning into the midday period, but mostly cloudy skies take charge this afternoon as thunderstorms develop and move into the area. These thunderstorms will likely be scattered since they are moving along a weakening cold front, but there is a 70% chance you'll see one. Rainfall totals should generally be around 0.25" but with locally heavier amounts. Highs reach upper part of the 80s (maybe 90) with southwest winds at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Evening thunderstorms (40% chance) should fade well by or before midnight. Cloudy skies hold low temperatures up in the upper 60s to low 70s. Confidence: Medium-High

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

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The cold front may fail to bring temperatures down, but it will succeed in lowering humidity. Highs should again be in the upper 80s to around 90, but lower dew points make it noticeably more comfortable. Oh yeah, skies will be mostly sunny! Light and variable winds. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy and warm with lows in the mid-60s to low 70s. Confidence: Medium-High


Thursday turns hotter and more humid with a 30% chance of afternoon to evening thunderstorms. Abundant sunshine is expected into the afternoon with light winds from the southwest. Highs are forecast to range from the low to maybe the middle 90s. The A/C will have to work a bit harder today and into the night as lows only drop into the 70s under partly cloudy skies. Confidence: Medium

Friday trends cooler and cloudier, but still humid with an increased likelihood of showers and storms (60%). Highs should be in the mid-to-upper 80s. Cloudy skies and lows in the upper 60s to low 70s Friday night. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend looks warm and humid at this point with yet more thunderstorm potential. Saturday should see partly to mostly sunny skies with a 40% chance of afternoon to evening storms. Sunday should be more on the cloudy side with a 60% chance of storms as a stronger cold front targets the area. Highs are expected to be in the 80s and lows will probably range from the upper 60s to low 70s. I don't expect the weekend to be a washout, but we'll need to watch those details. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | June 1, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: A hot & humid holiday
Next: Capital Weather Gang's 2010 Summer outlook


Ah, the first day of meteorological summer, meaning o-n-l-y three months 'til metorological fall and six months 'til winter and the snow dancing can begin.

I'll be tap dancing for a new single record snowfall of 22" at DCA, so Walter can sculpt a great white whale in Falls Church.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | June 1, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

meteorological fall in the above; not metorological... which is of course Sept 1 (I never really understood why meteorologists start summer, fall, etc. on the first days of the month that the equinoxes and solstices occur.

Maybe they get their seasonings at Trader Joes?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | June 1, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Hello Hurricane Season!

Posted by: weathergrrl | June 1, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

P.S. The Trader Joes comment was meant in jest... I buy pepper there. Spices up things.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | June 1, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that things remain calm down in the Gulf for the Summer so that the oil is not brought well inland.

Posted by: jcmcgrath1969 | June 1, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm sure Greg will be posting about our hurricane season in the near future, but for right now, wind shear is very high over the Gulf of Mexico, which will act like a firewall to protect it against hurricanes for now. Anything above 20kts is sufficiently strong to kill threats:

Posted by: MattRogers | June 1, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm sure Greg will be posting about our hurricane season in the near future, but for right now, wind shear is very high over the Gulf of Mexico, which will act like a firewall to protect it against hurricanes for now. Anything above 20kts is sufficiently strong to kill threats:

Posted by: MattRogers | June 1, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

ha! thanks for thinking of me. i was kind of thinking on some really hot day in the middle of july or august i'll post a link to that snow sculpture page. they'll probably look really refreshing in the high humidity 100 degree "dog days".

here's hoping predictions for an active hurricane season are wrong. here's hoping there's not a single hurricane. if there's got to be, here's hoping it stays out of the gulf.

incredibly depressing tracker (not updated since may 29 for some reason):

i was talking with an idiot who suggested that a hurricane striking the gulf region would be a good thing (!) because it would disburse the oil to the extent that it wouldn't be a problem. obviously this person is, well, an idiot. i'd like for you guys to do some sort of article about what will happen when a hurricane hits the gulf. i'm aware of that article you did soon after the leak started about the potential mitigating effects of a surface coating of oil. that article said it's not likely to have much if any mitigating effect, and did not, to my recollection, mention the environmental catastrophe that would ensue.

inland wind-whipped oil rain anyone?

what would happen to beaches, shorelines etc...?

and, thinking optimistically, have we ever had NO hurricanes in a season? have we ever had a season where none hit the gulf area (i.e., they all stayed south, in the caribbean, or came up the east coast)?

if/when this oil gets into the gulf loop current, how soon can we expect oil to get to western florida shores? eastern florida shores?

even a garden variety hurricane is inconvenient, costly and dangerous, but what about a hurroilcane?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ Walter; an analysis of possible impacts of a hurricane striking the Gulf Coast would be interesting. However, I realize we don't know what the oil spill will be doing when 'cane season really gets going in August and another big unknown is those underwater oil plumes which scientists insist exist (and I believe the scientists, not BP).

The storm surges from some of the past Gulf of Mexico hurricanes have been terrifying and unless we want a New Oileans situation, which they don't need down there, let's hope the Gulf stays quiet this summer and for the next few summers.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | June 1, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

GREAT day out there. Had another nice run on the Mall this morning. Good workout.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | June 1, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The National Hurricane Center issued a decent fact sheet on the potential oil and hurricane mix here:

Posted by: MattRogers | June 1, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Matt, thanks for posting this. Others have noted that there is always a certain amount of natural oil seepage taking place in the Gulf. But there has never been this much oil concentrated at or near the surface and of course the north central Gulf Coast has one of the highest probabilities of being hit by a hurricane. I believe SE Florida and the Cape Fear area are also on the higher end.

I shudder to think of the ecological, oil spill-related damage a really powerful hurricane could to the Gulf Coast and perhaps eventually to the east coast and other places, as well.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | June 1, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Much-needed rain" are still doing their dirty work by making it rainy these days when I have to be out in the slop. This despite the CWG outlook for a "dry" summer!

Due to the holiday yesterday I have to go down to Ballston today, tomorrow AND Thursday...usually I have the afternoon at home on Tuesday. The big issue is that of MORE dangerous lightning in the works for Thursday evening--I have one of my SGI Buddhist meetings, not a dance, scheduled that evening.

Unfortunately, I CAN'T reschedule these darned outings--if I put off till tomorrow the Arlington County Library hits me for a book fine! Had yesterday NOT been a holiday, the book would have been due then.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | June 1, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

thanks for that noaa page. i'd still like you guys to do an article.

that noaa fact sheet said, "The high winds and seas will mix and “weather”
the oil which can help accelerate the
biodegradation process."

so, is that "idiot" i referred to above right?! at least to some extent? i mean, if a hurricane hits in july or august, there could be 2-3 times the current amount of oil. i understand it would disburse oil, but "biodegrade" it?

if you guys do an article, could you elaborate on this?

the fact sheet does mention the obvious issue of possibly bringing oil as far inland as the storm surge reaches. it also mentions there won't be any oil, at least we've got that going for us...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Getting pounded by heavy rain in S. arlington. been that way for about 10 mins. 2:19pm.

Posted by: jojo2008 | June 1, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

close in lightning strike @ 2:21pm. Loud clap.

Posted by: jojo2008 | June 1, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Walter, a lot of oil is in great big plumes well under the surface and we have no idea what damage those are doing. But those should be relatively unaffected by a hurricane on the surface. As for the oil on the surface, the difference will be those completely dead areas versus a lot more area with spots of damage including inland. I think the latter will heal quicker.

Heavy rain and thunder in Rosslyn right now, less than 1/4 mile visibility

Posted by: eric654 | June 1, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

3 so far. 1st loud. 2nd semi loud. 3rd very close @ 2:23PM. And very loud!

Posted by: jojo2008 | June 1, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm in Centreville... any chance the majority of these storms will be out of the area by 6:30? My son has soccer tryouts tonight! Thanks!

Posted by: mchristinaw | June 1, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey mchristinaw, there is a decent chance you could miss activity after 6:30pm. Activity should be quite scattered up to around 9pm or so before all fading away. But it is really hit and miss right now. The cold front causing all this trouble is still way back in far western Pennsylvania.

Posted by: MattRogers | June 1, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Walter, WTOP had an article saying the oil could reach the Chesapeake...

Posted by: spgass1 | June 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

yes, i've heard about those giant underwater all just sounds so awful. presumably those plumes are making their way to the surface, right? i guess there's another thing we've got going for us: oil is less dense than water, so it's floating to the top, where it can theoretically be skimmed, somehow collected, or washed ashore.....

also, there are "accidents" and there are "accidents". this sounds like an accident in the way a russian roulette death is an accident.... sounds like BP, surprise, surprise, took a few shortcuts while building the rig....involving the "blowout preventer"...bastages....

yikes! (but thanks for the depressing link...)

i guess that could happen once it gets in the loop current - then it's off to the gulf stream and beyond. like they said a well-timed storm could bring it into the bay. i guess we'll be "lucky" if it just stays along the eastern seaboard....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Oil Breakdown

Once the oil is exposed to the water and the air, it is attacked and slowly broken down by the environment. However, tar balls remain.

According to Malcolm Spalding, Professor of Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island, the toxic nature of the oil begins to diminish after three days, then begins to convert to tar balls. As the tar balls age, they too become less toxic.

this seem like goodish news...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I thought oil normally floats, but some of this stuff is pretty dense and takes a while to make it up to the surface. Also the dispersant may change that characteristic so it doesn't float or doesn't float as quickly. The uncertainty in this situation is much higher than normal because of the depth. The 79 spill was shallow, the big spills in the Middle East were shallow. The plumes seems to be lingering under the surface down to a few thousand feet (maybe due to temperature differences like a lava lamp?)

Posted by: eric654 | June 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

when i hear "plumes", i too imagine a lava lamp. i guess there's all sorts of densities of oil coming out of there. not to worry though: the oil company (denial experts that they are) has assured us the plumes don't really exist....

one article i read said that strong storms can cause mixing of waters up to 150 meters deep. seems extreme, but i don't know.

how 'bout pouring this all over it?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 1, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Walter, that link is a bit myopic. There is certainly ice decrease since 1979 which is the beginning of the exact satellite measurements, but there were fluctuations before that and will be fluctuations up and down in the future. Mostly the ice was melted by warm sea temperatures and part of the warming oceans is positive PDO and part is CO2 warming. See for example

Posted by: eric654 | June 2, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

i only mentioned that skeptical science ice article because in the comments people mention the PIOMAS, which you were studying.

re PDO:

according to spencer's chart ice should be increasing now, right? is there a lag?

see figure 3, here, in argument #50:

i guess we're both saying it's part PDO and part co2. it's PDO-induced blips against...yes...the background of co2-induced rising temps.

let's just agree to agree... :-)

here and earlier you called 1979 a "peak" or a "maximum" in ice extent. why do you think of 1979 as a maximum? i mean, sure, looking back at it from today it looks like a maximum, but that's because of, warming...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 2, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I can definitely agree to agree on the combination of factors. The amounts of each are always subject to revision by new data. Yes, there is a lag by sea temperatures under the ice (depends on overall temperatures plus circulations).

The late 1970's peak shows up a lot of places, but particularly in the studies using Russian data. Here's one (not the one I was actually looking for): where temperature bottomed out and ice peaked in the late 70's. The main takeaway to me is that the "CO2 = stronger arctic warming = less ice indicates AGW" isn't much more than a talking point. The circulations and cycles are a lot more important than CO2 is for ice extent.

Posted by: eric654 | June 2, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

eric, co2 causes warming, but not in the arctic?! all that ice-melt is from natural cycles? the cycles have all been pointing "up" (for temperature), huh? what a coincidence. any chance THAT's evidence of warming climate?

so, when will arctic ice start going up (for periods longer than 6 weeks...)? you say it will "fluctuate" - does that includes fluctuating ABOVE the 1979-2010 averages?

which way are those natural cycles (PDO, NAO, any other cycles?) "pointing" now?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 3, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

this says the arctic oscillation has been negative or neutral since the mid 90s.

a great (but sad) animation showing the decline. they track the movement of the ice also. you can almost see the old ice "leaking" out btwn greenland and iceland.

for forcings in general (not specifically related to arctic ice) ssems to be neutral or negative - except for human-induced greenhouse gasses...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 3, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

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