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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 09/22/2010

Forecast: First days of fall to feel like summer

By Dan Stillman

Three shots at 90+, then a cooler & less humid weekend

* Risk for U.S. hurricane increasing | Why weather matters | NatCast *
* Outside now? Radar, temps, clouds & more: Weather Wall *
* No. of 90+ days: 63 (record 67, 1980) | Hurricane Tracking Center *

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


Perfect 10s are gone for at least a few days as humidity rises, temps ramp up toward 90 & t'storm chances return.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly to partly sunny, more humid. 30% chance of p.m. showers/storms. Near 90. | Tonight: Lingering shower/storm chance. Upper 60s to low 70s. | Tomorrow: Partly to mostly sunny. Chance of a p.m. shower/storm. Low 90s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Maybe I'm in the minority, but typically I don't mind late-September heat. It helps keep that summer spirit alive just a little longer, and the weaker sun takes the edge off a bit. That said, we've had so much heat this summer that there's certainly plenty of merit to the "enough is enough" mentality, especially with heat now returning just as fall begins (officially at 11:09 p.m. tonight). We'll have three shots at 90 or above before the next cool down, moving us ever closer to the 1980 record of 67 90-degree days.

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 (Wednesday): Morning temperatures rising through the 60s into the 70s, under mostly sunny skies, aren't nearly as cool and crisp as yesterday. Light breezes from the south/southwest pump in the higher humidity, and afternoon highs peak near 90 as skies turn partly cloudy. A line of showers and thunderstorms may form and, if it holds together, move in from the west during the mid-afternoon into evening. Let's go with a 30% chance you'll get wet where you happen to be. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Cool and refreshing evenings have skipped town for the time being. In their place is a warm and muggy one with temperatures falling through the 80s into the 70s. The shower/storm threat may linger through around mid-evening. After that, we're left with partly cloudy skies and overnight lows in the upper 60s to low 70s. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Thursday): We've had some beautiful fall-like days as of late. But this first full day of fall will not be one of them. Classic summer weather prevails with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs likely in the low 90s. Maybe an afternoon/evening shower or t'storm pops up in the warm and rather humid air mass. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Almost identical to tonight -- warm, muggy, and the continued chance of an evening shower/t'storm. Overnight lows aim again for the upper 60s to low 70s. Confidence: Medium


Friday looks to be the last and probably hottest day of this late-September heat wave. Mostly sunny skies send highs soaring to the mid-90s or so with humidity hanging on as well. The cold front that will put an end to this burst of heat comes through Friday night, possibly with a stray shower or t'storm, though it doesn't appear the front will have much moisture to work with. Lows should be within a few degrees of 70 most spots. Confidence: Medium

As we sometimes see this time of year, the much cooler air may be slow to stream in behind the cold front. So, while less humid and cooler, Saturday should still be on the warm side of average for this time of year (upper 70s) as highs climb into the 80s. Skies are at least partly sunny and winds somewhat breezy. Confidence: Medium

Forecast confidence is way low for Saturday night and Sunday, with models disagreeing on how far south of here the front stalls out, and if and when low pressure develops along the front. That means a high degree of uncertainty in how much cloud cover we'll see and whether we need to worry about showers. Saturday night lows should be in the 50s to near 60 with Sunday highs somewhere in the 70s. Confidence: Low

By Dan Stillman  | September 22, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Gotta say, still pretty nice out there this morning despite warm-up...high 50s (outlying suburbs) to high 60s downtown are pretty doable for me...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | September 22, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I say we're an "8" today, even if it gets warm and a little muggy. We've had a break from the heat, and this summery weather won't stick around for long. Let's break the record!

Posted by: mmurphy70 | September 22, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

So, we're now looking at the cold front to clear on Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon? Excellent. Am planning a flight in the old Cessna down to Kitty Hawk. Not having to dodge t-storms would be nice.

Posted by: chris_soule | September 22, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse


The front probably makes it through the D.C. area by early Saturday, but you may still encounter it on a flight south during the day Saturday. So wouldn't rule out the possibility of a thunderstorm along the way, though overall the font doesn't look like a very juicy one.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | September 22, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

When is this infernal heat going to end? We've been 5-10 degrees above normal almost every day since the 90 degree weather in early April.

If we hit 94 degrees, we will be 18 degrees above normal for this time of year. That wouldn't be so unusual if April, May, June, July and August weren't already several degrees hotter than they should be.

If anyone doubts global warming after this 7 month long summer, they get the Best Achievement in Self-Deception Award.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 22, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

i agree w/mmurphy. let's get the record. we're so close.

EVEN IF we get these next 3 days above 90, we would be a few days shy, right?

that "predict the #of days over 90" contest set the cut-off at september 21 - even though the equinox is on september 23 this year.

anyway, doesn't seem like we're gonna get all the way up to 90. it's pretty cool right now.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 22, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree that breaking the 90+ record would be impressive; we might as well go for it (or at least tie it). Unfortunately, it becomes less likely with each passing day. Does anyone have a long-range forecast into October? Accuweather et al. indicate a cool down with highs in the 60s about 10-12 days out. Maybe it will warm up again? Or perhaps we'll break the record for the latest 90 degree day of the year after October 11?

Posted by: meteorolinguist | September 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Walter, today is quite an airmass change. Those hefty breezes outside are from the south and will pump in the very warm, more muggy air!

AxelDC, do you believe October would be our 7th month of "summer" since.. April? It has indeed been too warm for my taste (too long too warm!) as well :-)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 22, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

meteorolinguist, there is always an outside chance we set a new 90-degree day (as a record high) after October 11 (the final day recorded of 90 degree or higher record high)

we should cool down some in October. I don't know with confidence if we will stay cool or our trend of warm, dryer-than-normal pattern will reassert itself until Thanksgiving. But at least we know, for certain, the solar input of the sun is on the wane! Temperatures will slowwwwlyyy trend down. Oh yes ;)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 22, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Slowwwly being the operative word here, Camden. Can't wait for highs in the 60s/low 70s with some nights falling into the 40s. Alas, it looks like the next few nights will feature more muggy July-like lows around 70. At least the last round of heat was dry...just got back from a run and it's sticky out there.

Posted by: meteorolinguist | September 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Some records are NOT meant to be broken and hopefully that 1980 90 degrees or more record of 67 will stand. I mean, enough heat already.

I thought the automonal equinox was at 10:09 p.m. EDT today?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | September 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Was that thunder I just heard rumbling over Reston? Or just a really, really big truck on the toll road? ;-) -- CNMD

Posted by: CarefulNervousMotherDriving | September 22, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse


I hereby nominate Mr. Q for the Self-Deception award...he seems to be one of the biggest global-warming skeptics around here.

It is getting dry enough to start cutting down on the cricket population, though not on the stinkbugs. Will have to see if more crickets start showing up when the rains return...I believe the sudden six inches following the dry spell back in 2004 or so caused some cricket populations to "crash", but a good average sized rain should bring some crickets out of hiding. In general, crickets don't seem to mid dry weather but the females may need some moisture in the soil in order to deposit their eggs.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | September 22, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's add MMCarHelp as a co-winner with Mr. Q. for that Self-Deception Award.

Looks like we fall just short of that record with 66 90-degree days...unless we get another hot spell in early October. And don't rule out the possibility of one or two 90-degree heat records after Oct. 11 this fall the way things seem to be going!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | September 22, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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