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Posted at 3:20 PM ET, 07/14/2010

PM Update: Rain departs, heat to fill place

By Ian Livingston

Sunshine makes a comeback and brings more 90+ along

* The curious case of Tom Sater | Tropics: not be quiet for long? *
* Outside now? Radar, lightning, temps & more: Weather Wall *

After two days of dousings across much of the area, the daytime hours today have proven fairly benign outside an isolated shower or storm. Sunshine began to break through the clouds around midday and temperatures have responded by shooting into the mid-80s to around 90. Humidity levels have dropped slightly on a northwest wind, but they remain quite high, and that will be the story going forward, especially since we now have some ground moisture to evaporate when the sun is out.

Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Through Tonight: Nothing like the last few nights is on tap tonight. However, an isolated shower or storm is possible through sunset. Muggy readings in the 80s this evening will fall to lows near 70 in the suburbs to the mid-70s downtown. There could be a spot or two of fog where winds go light.

Tomorrow (Thursday): Heat returns on Thursday as we see plenty of sunshine. Unlike the big heat that caused 100s across the area, this air mass will continue to be quite tropical and thus temperatures will not reach those insane levels. Still, highs in the low-to-mid 90s, combined with near-oppressive humidity, will make it feel close to 100 during the afternoon. Given the ground moisture around, and high temperatures, I can't rule out an isolated storm in the afternoon, but most spots should stay dry.

See Dan Stillman's forecast through the weekend. And if you haven't already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Feast or famine: On the heels of a 10-day stretch with no rain that included temperatures topping 100 and the official start of a "drought", things have changed a bit. In just the last six calendar days (mostly the last 5), DCA has picked up 3.77" of rain. The average July number is 3.66". While not all locations have received copious rains recently, much of the I-95 corridor has. Radar estimated totals going back to Monday show 3-5" maximum rainfall areas both around here and up toward Baltimore. Last night alone, DCA recorded 2.18" of rain. Dulles picked up .75" during that time and BWI 1.19".

By Ian Livingston  | July 14, 2010; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The curious case of Tom Sater
Next: UnitedCast: Very warm and humid


Everyone feeling some of the relieving rain lately? I am glad our drought has been seriously dented.

Ian, I like how you label "insane" for 100 degree temperatures. AGREE. :)

The weak cold front that has moved through and cleared us out appears to not have ability to lower our humidity much... for reasons stated above. I am bummed, but oh well.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | July 14, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

With all the rain last night I was sure I'd wake up to flooded streets, but even the usual suspects (Columbus Circle, etc) were dry. So where did all the water go?

Posted by: MadRabbitScientist | July 14, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

MadRabbitScientist, I suspect the ground soaked it up like a sponge. The run-off drains are all pretty clear this time of year without leaves or pollen clogging them up. I think I recall the Hydrological Prediction Center issuing specific rainfall thresholds of 2-3" that would trigger flash floods the last two nights -- yet we really stayed under those amounts, in most if not all locations (we lucked out!)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | July 14, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

There's enough of a breeze from the north that it wasn't too bad despite the humidity when I went for a run about 2 this afternoon .

Posted by: marathoner | July 14, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The weather generally goes from west to east so we got 0.2 last thurs and 1.5 last friday night when many areas to the east weren't hit. Total for the past week was about 2.5 inches. That's very good considering it all soaked in (the river has barely risen at all).

Posted by: eric654 | July 14, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

To paraphraise what I posted yesterday evening, I'm glad we got the rain the trees look happy, and the ragweed is practically jumping out of the ground with joy (or will be in a few weeks).

What's the average day for the first serious frost hereabouts again?...

Walter, if you're around, you mentioned recently you'd be happy living in Alta, I believe. Crater Lake averages 450" of snow and Cascade Concrete is much better than Utah talcum for sculpting.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

re: first sentence in previous post, paraphrase, not paraphraise (although in this context, paraphraise might work...)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 14, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Pretty intense but tiny shower over NW DC right now. About 5 minutes of heavy rain.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 14, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

CWG, can ya pull the above post please?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 14, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I applaud your request, FIREDRAGON47! Please remove immediately, CWG. We do not need that here.

The rain was FANTASTIC!!! Everything seems to have perked up.

Let's hope this is a pattern change that will provide even more precip. to eliminate our drought!

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | July 14, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

you know, i'm sure you're right. that light fluffy powder is arguably great for skiing...but not so much for my purposes...

how's the moisture content of the lake effect snow?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | July 14, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Finally got some rain last night, about .5". Beats the heck out of 0.

Posted by: VaTechBob | July 14, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember that May in either '02 or '03 when it rained just about every day for a month? I'd take even a week of that now. Last evening's rains were great, but we need more!

Posted by: natsncats | July 14, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Is there a place where one can find the range of dew point temperatures that occur in a typical DC summer? I'm a transplanted Washingtonian living in Minnesota and I'm always trying to tell the locals "this ain't nothing" when they complain about heat and humidity. However, the dew point in Minneapolis reached a DC-like 79 today and I'm wondering how often that occurs in the old hometown.

Posted by: eddiedog2 | July 14, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

eddiedog2, 79 would be pretty extreme here.. I think our "typical" summer range is upper 60s and lower 70s. Every so often we'll get into the mid-70s+ but near 80 is probably quite rare. Moisture associated with corn fields in the cornbelt has actually been shown to cause very high dew points (near or past 80) from time to time.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 14, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

TominMichiganParkDC, hopefully we will see more rain shots, we could use a pattern that produces more often. The weekend may give some more but models havent produced as much lately on that end. Next week looks hot.. maybe near 100 hot again.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 14, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Ian. The corn field moisture seems logical. Des Moines hit a dew point of 80 today, the highest in six years.

Posted by: eddiedog2 | July 15, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

@Walter, my hunch is that the moisture content of lake effect snow may at least partially relate to air temperatures, i.e., heavy wet snow when temps are near freezing, drier snow when it's down around 10 degrees. But CWG could answer this question with much more authority.

The fetch may also play a role in this; air that spend a long time travelling over the lakes picks up more moisture. But again, temps probably need to be factored in.

Certainly, Buffalo has had some very wet lake effect snows (c.f. the big October 2006 snow) and some dry ones (January 1977 blizzard).

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 15, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

First frost date is generally in the range of 15-20 October. Some years we've gone deep into November before first frost.

Speaking of which, what was the last freeze date at KDCA this spring?

Posted by: ennepe68 | July 15, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Lake effect snow is usually very dry. I'd guess the times it is wet are more often than not early or late season. Some call it "fake effect snow" because when it stops it tends to lose like half or more of its mass regardless of temps etc.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 15, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

hhhmmm....thanks ian...kind of disappointing that lake effect snow is so dry. may have to re-think my retirement plans....hahaha

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | July 15, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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