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Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 07/12/2010

PM Update: Showers and storms into the night

By Ian Livingston

Unsettled through tomorrow or Wed, then 90s return

* NASA eyeballs glacial melt in Greenland *
* Outside now? Radar, lightning, temps & more: Weather Wall *

A batch of showers with embedded storms has moved in from the west and southwest and rain should continue on-and-off through the night. This may be the first of several batches of showers and storms to roll through over the coming 24-48 hours. Highs today were stunted in the mid-to-upper 80s by abundant clouds. Humidity, however, has made a big return with levels pretty close to -- if not fully -- oppressive.

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: Showers and a few strong storms move through into the evening and night. Parts of the area could see .5"+ with the first batch while places that get a storm could see even more. Rain may become more isolated to scattered at times, but the potential exists for more rounds overnight. So, if you're headed out, keep an umbrella handy. Lows drop to around 70 in the suburbs to the mid-70s downtown.

Total rainfall accumulation by morning could reach or even pass 1" or 1.5" in places. The lowest amounts are likely to set up over far western or northwestern suburbs.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): Rain chances continue fairly high tomorrow and scattered showers and storms are possible through the day. Areas northwest of the city may miss out on the heaviest activity. With clouds plentiful once again, highs struggle to reach the upper 80s. Additional heavier rain is possible late tomorrow or tomorrow night, but may end up going to our south. We'll try to fine tune as it gets closer.

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

By Ian Livingston  | July 12, 2010; 4:10 PM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Forecast: Storms today with more heat later


How bad are the winds going to be? We have a Sun-Setter system that is stuck in the "Open" position and I am afraid the wind and storms may cause it to rip from the house. While somewhat entertaining to our neighbors....I worry what it will do should it make like a sail and blow off the house. We were planning on having someone come out to take it down and install a new one in the coming days.

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | July 12, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's a terminology question: What do meteorologists mean by a "soaking rain?" Seems to me that any rain other than a light drizzle soaks things.

Posted by: mhardy1 | July 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Naturally a deluge in Germantown but arriving home in NW Montgomery I find that not a drop has fallen. Another screw job.

Posted by: MKadyman | July 12, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Not even enough at the 301 Bridge to get the deck wet. Murphy was right about Mother Nature.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | July 12, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting on all that rain. Counted three or four raindrops in Michigan Park this afternoon.

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | July 12, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Convection is tricky, some places get nothing while others get doused. Just east of 95 several locations picked up 1"+ this afternoon. Perhaps it won't be generally rainy as forecast overnight, but guidance has continualy spit out more precip and some additional is likely which would verify things pretty much. Since we can't do rain that well these days, might as well start looking at the big heat showing up around day 10.. more 100s? Not to skip past the heat coming this week, but it probably will be lesser though with high humidity.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

So does that mean that the chance of rain tomorrow is decreasing?

Posted by: see1 | July 12, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Getting a helluva rainstorm in Centreville right now.
No lightning, but rain is very heavy.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 12, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse


Not expecting too much wind -- although not out of the question a couple storms could mix down a few decent gusts (20-30 mph) overnight or tomorrow.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse


When we say a soaking rain, we're typically talking about quite a few consecutive hours of rain with totals of at least 0.5" or so. But there's no set definition.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax county here it comes.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 12, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting a heavy downpour in Fairfax, about the 3rd one we've had today.

Posted by: rwalker66 | July 12, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Dulles only got 0.06 inch today and it already looks like a bust for the 0.5-1.0 in overnight forecast. And tomorrow does not look very good either.

I'm beginning to wonder where these moisture went given that they looked so promising on the NAM earlier? Most of the time these models wind up under-performing so I will believe when I actually see/hear it.

Posted by: LoudounGeek | July 12, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

LoudounGeek: It's implicit, in my opinion, for a shower forecast to end up with areas that do not get a ton of rain... though it's often spelled out in the text I suppose, as it was with Jason's forecast this morning. The higher numbers presented are more the upper end for places that get multiple rounds of rain and could actually be low for someone.

Guidance was showing a pretty sharp cutoff just to our northwest, a small shift in something like that can mean little to no rain for some. This batch is laying down rain in some places that missed earlier and we stay in the general setup where disturbances can swing through overnight, though it's tough to say if and where they will.

It would probably be hard to call for a forecast .01"-2.00"+ but that could be the spread in an event like this.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

10 pm heavy rain alexandria, 1 thunderclap

Posted by: pvogel88 | July 12, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

10:02 in McLean and we are getting a massive thunderstorm. Radar looks promising. VERY heavy rain!

Posted by: HokieTerp | July 12, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Getting some heavy rain in S. Arlington for the past 10 mins. From the radar, it looks like this rain is coming from the SW. Don't we usually see these rain lines from the west or NW? Part of what makes predicting weather in this area such a crapshoot.

Posted by: jojo2008 | July 12, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Ian - thanks for the explanation. I was just disappointed that these kinds of disturbances are so hard to model ahead of time, relative to some other weather events such as the high pressure ridge system we seemed to track with much precision earlier. You guys have done a nice job managing that IMO.

Posted by: LoudounGeek | July 12, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Some of the heaviest rain you see around here still going on in Cleveland Park. Almost like June 2006 except it lasts 20-30 minutes instead of a few hours.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

First rumble with this line in Columbia.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse


Doppler estimated rain rates were about 2-4" per hour at peak in NW DC. Pretty impressive.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Really coming down in Silver Spring...lightning and thunder

Posted by: gjjg4dgd | July 12, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Booming storm east of Glenmont. Heavy rain and intense lightning. Lost power for a few minutes. Lawn is happy.

Posted by: bgaffney491 | July 12, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

My parking lot has quickly turned into a river. Intense!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

jojo2008, we're in a trough/weakness between two upper level ridges -- one to the west that was helping bring the super hot of recent and the Atlantic ridge to the east trying to assert itself and build westward. The general flow above us dives down behind the western ridge then back up at us from the southwest. Forecasts are for the Atlantic ridge to build stronger and pinch this flow off, though a southeast/Bermuda ridge is often "dirtier" than a continental one, so you can get some rain chances though lower than with the trough near us. If you watch the upper air loop you can sort of visualize it with the circle areas in the Atlantic and over the southwestern U.S.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 12, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Got a nice river in my back yard here in NW. Too bad it took a detour into my basement :-(

Posted by: hoos3014 | July 13, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

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