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Capital Weather Gang: August 29, 2010 - September 4, 2010

Forecast: Labor Day weekend perfection

After 2010's seventh heat wave, that lasted 6 days, and boosted our 90+ degree day count to 60 (the second most on record), this weekend's cooler weather is well-deserved. Even better, humidity takes a plunge, the sun shines brightly, and tropical troubles are behind us. We should embrace this stretch, as heat builds again by the middle of next week. Still no signs of appreciable rain.

By Jason Samenow  | September 4, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
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UnitedCast: Crisp air greets the Columbus Crew

* Our Full Forecast | Weather Wall | Soccer Insider * United vs. Columbus CrewSaturday Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m., RFK Stadium KickoffFinal WhistleWeatherChance of RainLows 70sUpper 60sClear0%Could be one of the nicest soccer evenings of 2010. Temps fall back into the 60s under clear skies.   UnitedCast appears on the...

By Jason Samenow  | September 4, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  UnitedCast  
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PM Update: Approaching front pushing Earl away

We've spent much of the day under high clouds from the weakening Hurricane Earl, but an approaching cold front is pushing the storm and its back edge of high-level moisture away. Despite the high clouds, temperatures have still managed to warm quite well -- into the upper 80s or around 90 most spots. The approaching cold front promises to deliver a pleasant, if a little windy to start, first weekend of September.

By Ian Livingston  | September 3, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
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Hurricane Earl's sunset sequence

Did anyone notice Hurricane Earl's spiral bands of clouds moving northwest across our area late Thursday afternoon and evening? The cloud bands from Earl helped to create a very interesting and colorful sunset for the Washington area. Tropical storms to the east combined with a setting sun to the west is often the perfect setup for great sunsets. During Thursday's sunset, Earl's distinct cloud bands were easily discernible as they painted long bands of color across our sky with the sun's fading light.

By Kevin Ambrose  | September 3, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Photography  
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Earl eyes New England after lashing N.C.

Earl, with its eye well offshore, is making its way up the Atlantic coast, with its southern bands of rain lingering across northeastern N.C. and the Outer Banks a few more hours, and its northern rain bands now reaching into New Jersey. At 8 a.m., Earl was a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and higher gusts.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 3, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Forecast: Earl passes by, then cooler air rushes in

Aside from a lone shower or two, the D.C. area escapes any wrath from Hurricane Earl, finally catching a break in this year of crazy weather. Our coastal neighbors & friends are not as lucky, though fortunately Earl is significantly weakened from yesterday's Category 4 status as it brushes the Eastern Shore on its way up the coast today. Locally, it's more of the same for one last day today -- hot & sunny. But then, WOW, we get almost a full taste of autumn this holiday weekend with highs in the upper 70s to 80s. Enjoy it, because warmer stuff probably returns next week.

By Camden Walker  | September 3, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
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Weakening Earl to remain offshore North Carolina

Hurricane Earl is struggling this evening as it tracks due north northeast at 18 mph offshore the North Carolina coast. Maximum sustained winds as of 11 p.m. are 105 mph, and Earl is now just a Category 2 hurricane (down two categories from this morning). As track guidance has consistently forecast for days, Earl will not make landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina and it's even questionable whether the Outer Banks will observe sustained hurricane force winds (odds are minimal according to the National Hurricane Center).

By Jason Samenow  | September 2, 2010; 11:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Hurricane Earl headed north off East Coast

Hurricane Earl continues to weaken as it moves northward from a position east of the S.C./N.C. coastal border while rainbands associated with the storm move closer to shore (see radar loop). As of 5 p.m. the center of Hurricane Earl was about 185 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C. and the storm was moving north at 18 mph. With winds sustained at 115 mph, Earl is still a Category 3 storm but it is now nearing the lower end of that scale (111-130 mph).

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 2, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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PM Update: Hurricane Earl sends in some clouds

Despite all the excitement about Hurricane Earl, it's a pretty quiet and boring day around here unless you were eagerly awaiting adding another 90+ day to the list. But, this one is somewhat significant in that hitting 59 puts us tied for #2 all time for 90 degree days in a year. Things stay calm into the evening but you may notice increasing high clouds moving into the area from the south and southeast as Earl heads toward its closest approach.

By Ian Livingston  | September 2, 2010; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Earl weaker, still a serious threat to East Coast

As of 2 p.m., Hurricane Earl's maximum sustained winds have decreased to 125 mph, which now makes it a Category 3 storm (down from 140 mph and Category 4 earlier today). Though continued gradual weakening is anticipated, the National Hurricane Center expects Earl to remain a powerful hurricane as it passes the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 2, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Earl threatens coast from N.C. to New England

Earlier we focused a series of Qs & As on the potential impacts of Earl from the DE/MD/VA beaches and south to the Outer Banks, N.C.. As the Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds continues to advance northward, let's take a look at conditions expected along the coast from Delaware/New Jersey toward points north. We'll start north in New England, which may see the worst impacts of anyone in the Northeast, and then work our way south.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 2, 2010; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Intense Hurricane Earl barrels toward East coast

At 11 a.m., Hurricane Earl was 300 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., heading north at 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 140 miles per hour and Earl remains a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 90 miles from its center and tropical storm-force winds out to 230 miles. We imagine you have many questions about this dangerous storm, so here are some Qs and As:

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 2, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Forecast: Hot thru Friday, much cooler weekend

The constant chatter about heat and 90+ days takes a brief backseat to the unnervingly close approach of Hurricane Earl. This storm is a monster and will batter the mid-Atlantic beaches hard on Friday with 10 to 15 foot waves. The region's salvation comes in the form of a strong cold front rumbling across the Midwest, arriving in the nick of time to nudge Earl just far enough east to probably spare the metro area. Not only that, it brings a cooler and drier air mass to grace the holiday weekend.

By David Streit  | September 2, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
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Impressive Earl intensifying, turning up coast

Earl has reached its greatest strength as it starts to turn up the East Coast, but most likely offshore. At 11 p.m., the category 4 hurricane, positioned 520 miles SSE of Cape Hatteras, had maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. This is a very impressive hurricane as evident in its very symmetrical appearance on satellite imagery and well-defined eye.

By Jason Samenow  | September 1, 2010; 11:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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Earl: Storm warning up for VA/MD/DE beaches

Hurricane Earl has again become better organized this afternoon and evening on its path toward the East Coast of the U.S. Earl is expected to fluctuate in intensity over the next 12 hours or so, with some potential additional strengthening possible in the short term. Gradual weakening thereafter is expected as the storm accelerates and swings up the East Coast. Winds now sustained near 135 mph are expected to remain above Category 3 intensity as Earl approaches the NC Outer Banks.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 1, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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PM Update: September starts off really hot

Today is day 4 of the current heat wave, the third day in a row with temperatures in the mid-90s, and day 58 this year of 90 degrees or higher at National Airport. Had enough? Well, too bad -- it's going to be hot forever. OK, OK, on a serious note, we should start stepping down tomorrow but it could still top 90 through Friday.

By Ian Livingston  | September 1, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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The thunderstorm and the Battle of Ox Hill

There is one more example of a thunderstorm that thwarted the efforts of an attacking army with plans to conquer Washington. Fast forward from the year 1814 to 1862, exchange the British Army with the Confederate Army, and exchange one drenching thunderstorm for another. It was a severe thunderstorm on Sept. 1, 1862, which played a very important role in changing the course of a major Civil War battle that occurred near Fairfax, Va.

By Kevin Ambrose  | September 1, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Education, Photography, Thunderstorms  
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Hurricane Earl watches for VA/MD/DE beaches

As of 11 a.m., Earl was positioned 725 miles south southeast of Cape Hatteras and is moving northwest at 17 mph. Most computer models continue to indicate Earl will remain offshore though a couple have the center briefly passing over the North Carolina outer banks, where hurricane watches remain in effect. These watches have been extended to cover the VA/MD/DE beaches. Earl's maximum sustained winds are 125 mph, down from 135 mph this yesterday -- making it a Category 3 storm

By Greg Postel  | September 1, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
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Summer 2010 hottest on record in Washington

The broken heat record keeps on playing. Warmest astronomical spring... warmest June... warmest July (tied)... no, not quite there for August... But yes, warmest meteorological (Jun-Aug) summer. Those who've lived it don't need the Capital Weather Gang to know it's been a toasty one. Still, it is worth noting just how toasty. D.C. did not only top the previous three-month record, it pretty much crushed it with its 81.3 degree average. Beating a seasonal record by 1.3 degrees with a departure from normal of 4.3 degrees is, however you cut it, extremely impressive.

By Ian Livingston  | September 1, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Extreme Heat, Local Climate  
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Forecast: A new month... same old heat

We just can't seem to buy a "boring" weather month in 2010. September begins just as busy as the rest of the year has been, starting today with what will be the year's 58th 90-degree day and the third straight day of highs in the mid-90s. Next up on our jam-packed weather schedule is Hurricane Earl, who shouldn't bother us here in the D.C. metro area, but is a concern for coastal locations Thursday into Friday. Fortunately, the holiday weekend brings a welcome break in the action with sunshine, cooler temperatures and no rain.

By Dan Stillman  | September 1, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
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UnitedCast: Summer warmth for semifinal

Still really toasty for the start of this U.S. Open Cup semifinal game, but some relief as temperatures drop through the 80s.

By Dan Stillman  | September 1, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Earl update: Hurricane watch for NC Outer Banks

A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES FROM NORTH OF SURF CITY NORTH CAROLINA TO THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER...INCLUDING THE PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE SOUNDS.

By Jason Samenow  | August 31, 2010; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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PM Update: Seventh heat wave of year rolls on

We're finishing meteorological summer in the same fashion we've lived a large portion of it, on the hot side. Though we still have a few more weeks where we can see 90 or higher, I'm sure many are breathing a sigh of relief that this story is starting to come to a close. Highs mainly in the mid-90s today are again accompanied by relatively low humidity levels, so at least it's a dry heat!

By Ian Livingston  | August 31, 2010; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Re-living the emotions of Katrina at the Newseum

I got a chance over the weekend to see the Newseum's new "Covering Katrina" exhibit, which chronicles media coverage leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's deadly and destructive landfall along the Gulf Coast in 2005. Even if you weren't directly affected by Katrina, the exhibit's display of newspaper front pages, a video of TV storm coverage, and artifacts such as a store owner's anti-looting sign are vivid reminders of the emotions that stirred inside many of us five years ago.

By Dan Stillman  | August 31, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Media, Tropical Weather  
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Core of Earl still likely to stay offshore

Hurricane Earl is a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph. Located about 1070 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Earl is moving west-northwest at 14 mph. In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center cautions hurricane watches could be required for portions of the mid-Atlantic coast later today.

By Greg Postel  | August 31, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
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Forecast: Heat repeats 'til Friday; weekend cooler

A very large dome of high pressure has taken up residence along the East Coast and it plans to dominate your weather through the balance of this week with sunny skies and dry, hot weather. The lack of air mass movement means that we probably continue with the poor air quality alerts through this week. Powerful Hurricane Earl makes an attempt to menace the East Coast by week's end, but a sizable cold front is forecast to act like a pinball flipper and knock Earl back out to sea. Then a first-class weather weekend arrives!

By Matt Rogers  | August 31, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
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PM Update: Piling on more 90s

Today's temperatures in the mid-90s have pushed National Airport to 56 days at or above 90, and we're now tied with 2002 for the third most ever recorded in a year. Next up is 59 days to tie for second, and 60 will put 2010 in second on its own. The forecast for the week says it's likely we'll get both in a few days. On the plus side, dew points are running somewhat low, so we're not seeing terrible heat indices to go along with the high temperatures.

By Ian Livingston  | August 30, 2010; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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Hurricane Earl could be close call for East Coast

Hurricane Earl is a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph. Located about 1,450 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., Earl is moving west-northwest at 15 mph. The official intensity forecast calls for Earl to strengthen to 145 mph (Category 4) by tomorrow afternoon. Given that the intensity forecasts for tropical cyclones, though improving, are still less than reliable at times, this expectation should be treated with caution.

By Greg Postel  | August 30, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
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Katrina: A lesson in risk mismanagement

Hurricane Katrina, which roared ashore five years ago this past Saturday, was not exactly a shining moment in risk management. Weather forecasters, including those who were then part of the independent website capitalweather.com, repeatedly warned about the extreme dangers presented by the hurricane with a name more befitting of an exotic woman than a deadly tempest.

By Andrew Freedman  | August 30, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Freedman, News & Notes, Policy, Science, Tropical Weather  
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Forecast: Five days of heat, humidity bearable

Last week, I gleefully declared in Monday morning's forecast "no 90-degree days are in our immediate future." How times have changed. This week chances are strong we'll reach 90+ through Friday as hot high pressure sits over top of us. The stagnant air isn't going to help air quality and we'll probably contend with at least code orange conditions daily. The saving grace of this heat wave is that the humidity holds in the moderate range. Will Hurricane Earl impact our weather later this week? It likely remains off the coast - but we'll be watching it...

By Jason Samenow  | August 30, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
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Forecast: Heat looms large into the week

Most meteorologists occasionally use the phrase "dominating high pressure" when skies are clear and temperatures warm for a few days. For the high pressure we're dealing with currently, this expression almost does no justice. Centered almost directly overhead, and in no mood or hurry to go anywhere else, this big H on the weather map brings huge doses of sunshine and elevated temperatures to the area for the foreseeable future.

By Brian Jackson  | August 29, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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Hurricane threat to U.S. may increase next week

The "Cape Verde" portion of this year's hurricane season has come alive. Thunderstorm clusters associated with tropical weather disturbances moving westward off of Africa -- and close by the Cape Verde Islands, hence the name -- are now showing an ability to remain intact as they trek across the Atlantic.

By Greg Postel  | August 29, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
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NatCast: Sunny skies for Natstown

* Our Full Forecast | Weather Wall | Nationals Journal * Nationals vs. CardinalsSunday, August 29, 1:35 p.m., Nationals Park First Pitch9th InningWeatherChance of RainUpper 80sLower 90sLots of sun%Make sure to pack the sunscreen if you head to the ballpark today as you'll get quite the tan. It'll be warm...

By Brian Jackson  | August 29, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  NatCast  
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