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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 08/17/2010

Forecast: Nicer today; rain tomorrow

By Matt Rogers

Weekend blend of humidity, heat & scattered t'storms

* TWC's Stu Ostro talks weather-climate links | Heat jokes *
* Outside now? Radar, lightning, temps & more: Weather Wall *
* 90+ days in 2010: 52 (Apr-May 5, Jun-July-Aug 47); Record 67 (1980) *

updated at 11:10 a.m.

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.


Lower humidity & precipitation chances shift our digit higher.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Partly sunny & more comfortable. 88-93. | Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Late night showers. 70-75. | Tomorrow: Showers and t'storms likely. Mid-to-upper 70s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Our region is caught between two weather zones -- a cool upper level trough pattern in the Midwest and a hot and humid ridge pattern in the Atlantic and Southeast. Being stuck on the fence like this can usually make our forecasting job more difficult as a slight shift in these patterns can change our weather dramatically. And things are certainly shifting. After a hot, humid day yesterday, we're looking at a hot and dry day today (with much less humidity). But that won't last as a disturbance pulls a front back toward us tomorrow with higher humidity, lower temperatures and heavy rain potential.

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map powered by iMapWeather (base map by Google). Click and hold on map to pan. Double-click to zoom. Refresh page to update. See larger map on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): The stationary front to our south may still send enough cloud cover up into this area to promote partly cloudy skies. But surface winds will be mostly from the north and that means dry dew points and more comfortable conditions. Temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s will not feel nearly as bad as yesterday afternoon's "ugh". To our south there may be sufficient moisture/humidity, to scrape up some stray showers and storms in the far southern suburbs (20% chance). Confidence: Medium

Tonight: The winds should shift to come from an easterly direction, which will work to increase our cloud cover and introduce showers very late at night (40% chance). Lows should be in the low-to-mid 70s. Confidence: Low-Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Depending on your perspective, this could qualify as the worst day of the week as a disturbance riding along a stationary front feeds lots of showers and storms through the area. The advance of precipitation should be from south to north through the course of the day. Expect mostly cloudy skies all along and highs only in the mid-to-upper 70s. Rain could be heavy at times and I wonder if our local National Weather Service office will issue a flash flood watch given all the recent rains. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tomorrow Night: More showers and storms (70% likelihood) are expected and they could be heavy at times. Lows should drop into the mid-to-upper 60s. Skies should stay on the cloudy side. Confidence: Low-Medium


Thursday has a chance to be a decent day if the front slips far enough south. Highs are still expected to be in the mid-80s with lower dew points and partly sunny skies. But we'll have to watch that front position closely. Right now, there is a 40% chance for afternoon showers and storms mainly to the south side of the area. Thursday night should be partly cloudy with lows in the upper 60s to around 70 downtown. Confidence: Low-Medium

Friday is still poised to be a drier day with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs heading back up to the upper 80s and low 90s. We have to keep low ranges on our confidence though as the tricky front could linger to our south. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend looks shaky unfortunately, as the guidance varies between late Saturday and early Sunday for the next cold front to sweep through the area. So, perhaps we can say that the first half of Saturday and the second half of Sunday have the best chances right now to be on the drier side. Thunderstorm risks increase Saturday afternoon and abate toward midday Sunday. Both days will run a 40% chance of storms at this point until we can resolve the timing debate. Highs should range from the mid-to-upper 80s. Lows are favored to range from the 60s to around 70. Confidence: Low

By Matt Rogers  | August 17, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Call me weird but that 78 on hump day looks good, and we can use the rain.

Posted by: jaybird926 | August 17, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Jaybird, I agree! With the cool/wet day being a good thing...not the calling you weird part.

Posted by: MattRogers | August 17, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Agreed! A day of 78 in August is one less chance for a 98 degree day in August!

Posted by: authorofpoetry | August 17, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of upper 70s with rain as well-- but it will still be muggy :-/ Ok, I should just enjoy it, right? :)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | August 17, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Rain is no longer even mentioned in the NWS forecast for saturday during the day. It calls for a 30% chance of storms saturday. What do they know that you don't or vice-versa? Or are they just being coy?

Posted by: blablabla | August 17, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

If the temp is 80 degrees at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, the long 80-degree-plus streak stays intact, regardless of the afternoon high. We're so close to the recognized record of 72 consecutive days (thanks to Ian's research) that it would be a shame to break it now.

But I was the guy that soooo wanted DCA to top 60" of snow last winter and that didn't happen, either.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 17, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I wonder if NWS will re-introduce rain chances for Saturday or not. Even the slower model guidance (favoring Sunday) still brings storms into the area Sat evening too. I'd love a drier Saturday, but this one is still too close to call.

Posted by: MattRogers | August 17, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I am supposed to pick up a friend flying in from London tomorrow at Dulles around 1:30pm or so. What are the chances that flight makes it in here unscathed?

Posted by: HokieTerp | August 17, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse


Expect some minor delays tomorrow given on-and-off rain chances and the possibility of heavy rain limiting visibility.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | August 17, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for temps in the 70s tomorrow, but please don't spoil my golf game with rain in the morning.

Posted by: dick1932 | August 17, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

What is your best guess on Wednesday rainfall totals in the immediate DC metro area?

Posted by: wzitlau | August 17, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Good question Wzitlau. I'm thinking about .75" to 1" tomorrow around the area. The heaviest totals should be to the south and east.

Posted by: MattRogers | August 17, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Ah, to be in Washington right now, where I see you have 88 and a 61 dew point ... meanwhile, out here in Salisbury, we're at 90 and a 79 dew point, giving us a lovely 107 heat index. I can only hope that your weather pushes out here sooner rather than later!

Posted by: MisterTanaka | August 17, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I dislike "what time do you expect..." questions, but I've got a cold and will be out this evening.

So, what time is the rain apt to begin?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 17, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse


We're unlikely to see more than an isolated shower until 11 p.m. or later. Stay tuned for more details in PM Update.

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | August 17, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Dan. My only regret is you can't write "we're unable to see an isolated SNOW shower until 11 p.m...."

Maybe, in 3 1/2 months, it'll happen.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 17, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

WTOP just posted that DC is handing out sandbags for storms "expected to hit around 9pm." What's the story here?
I tried to find sandbags at Lowe's on Saturday -- they don't even carry them. Glad we've already ripped up our entire carpet out of the basement from last Thursday's storms...

Posted by: vtavgjoe | August 17, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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