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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 09/28/2010

Forecast: Showers to wind down, afternoon sun

By Matt Rogers

Weather whipsaw: rain risk again by Thursday

* Outside now? Temps & more: Weather Wall | NatCast *

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.


A mucky morning, but the afternoon should be dry and warmer with sunny spots.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Morning showers/storms. P.M. sunshine. 80-84 | Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. 55-60. | Tomorrow: Afternoon clouds, chance of evening showers. Mid-70s. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


After a mostly calm and quite warm September, we have been seemingly catapulted into a much more volatile, transitional weather situation. From our previous dryness standpoint, this is a good thing as we'll see frequent chances of precipitation. But from a daily outdoor planning angle, this creates complexity that challenges our confidence at times. In the coming days, we'll see the weather change quickly from one half of the day to the next.

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.

Today (Tuesday): Look out for some early morning heavy showers or even some storms. The biggest downpours should be running through the western suburbs in the early hours into the eastern suburbs by mid-morning. Skies should break a bit around midday and then clear in the mid-to-late afternoon, boosting afternoon high temperatures into the low 80s. Light winds come from the west by afternoon. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tonight: Mostly clear skies allow for cooler low temperatures. Low 50s are expected in the suburbs with around 60 in the city. Light winds. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Mixed skies in the morning with some sunshine, but clouds increase again in the afternoon, hampering high temperatures (low-to-mid 70s). Some showers could (30% chance) sneak back into the area by the early to middle evening rush hour. Confidence: Low-to-medium.

Tomorrow Night: Depending on the track of storm system originating in the Caribbean, rain probably (50-60% chance) moves back into the area overnight. Some of the possible showers and embedded thunderstorms may turn heavy late at night into the morning, especially east of the city. Lows range in the upper 50s to low 60s. Confidence: Low-Medium


Thursday looks complicated as yet more tropical moisture streams from south to north through the Eastern U.S. Heavy showers and storms are possible, but there's a high degree of uncertainty about the storm track and where the heaviest precipitation will occur. Overall, not a pleasant day with cloudy skies and muggy temperatures in the 70s. More showers are possible Thursday night with lows in the 60s. Likelihood of precipitation Thursday and Thursday night is around 70%. Confidence: Low

Friday could be peppered with morning showers (40% chance), but there are indications that drier weather along with clearing skies could arrive by the afternoon to set the stage for a nicer weekend. Highs again are in the 70s. Confidence: Low

The weekend weather delivers a big taste of October as temperatures reach their coolest levels of the autumn. Highs should be in the 60s and lows in the 40s. While the weekend should be mostly dry, there is some degree of uncertainty as a lot of cool air in the upper levels creates instability and variable cloud cover. This could trigger some light afternoon showers, but nothing like the tropical rains of this week. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | September 28, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Natcast: Nice weather window
Next: The rain that wasn't


I don't think Fairfax County got a drop all night.

Posted by: HenryFPotter | September 28, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

NWS fail. Yes, better to be safe than sorry, but did the mets *LOOK* at any radars before issuing the plethora of watches and special wx statements last night?? VATechBob and a couple others were calling this one correctly since yesterday afternoon, which is to say we were going to get little if anything out of this system in NoVA. Wow...

Posted by: VAStateOfMind | September 28, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, Dulles has reported light rain off and on since midnight as has National airport. Of course, some showers are moving through the area right now, especially into the western edges of Fairfax county.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | September 28, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Looks like VATechBob was right. The storms did the DC split except from the south. There was decent rain Fauquier and west and east into Delaware (plus some areas north of town yesterday).

Posted by: eric654 | September 28, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

There's little getting around this was a pretty big forecast flop -- from the model output to the human forecaster. NWS's 2-4" forecast with isolated 5" amounts wasn't even close. Our 1-3" forecast was only a little better. Storm isn't over, but totals will probably average under 1", though a few spots that got heavy storms yesterday will be over 2".

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | September 28, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

wow...funny how little (i.e., not at all) i'm disturbed by an "underperforming" storm this time of year. THAT's a different story. let's avoid these underperforming, dry-slotting, dc-splitting events this winter, shall we?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | September 28, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Fellas - This upcoming weekend looks spectacular...a jacket weather extraordinaire! Stupid question: Are we done with the nasty heat? I know, there are no such thing as stupid questions but there is such a thing as stupid people.

Posted by: authorofpoetry | September 28, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Centreville VA A little less than an inch in the rain bucket this morning. The storm forecast was not a total flop as I feared late yesterday.
Garden is happy.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | September 28, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

What caused/causes the "DC split"? Yesterday kind of reminded me of the Jan 2000 storm when, after an initial period snow, we were in a snow "valley", as areas to the east (especially) and places to the west were getting hit. Weird bifurcation.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | September 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

More puddles near Ffx City this morning, but ground could use more. According to the Weather Channel we got .45 inches of rain - not bad in one shot, considering the ground was more than capable of absorbing it.

CWG, since it's a pretty good bet we'll be getting more rain on Thursday, is the ground better able to absorb water now that it's somewhat wet? (Or is that more of a gardening question?) I just remember a comment some time ago about how ground can be so dry that the water just runs off of it...

Posted by: MKoehl | September 28, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the forecast had FAIL written all over it. Fortunately it was not snow, in which case EPIC fail. 1/4" in NW DC from yesterday morning.

Posted by: ah___ | September 28, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Last night was a total bust... But I'm happy to see some true fall temperatures lined up for this weekend :).

Posted by: B-Kraemer | September 28, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Overall, the forecast precipitation amounts were overdone. A case of the old forecaster's adage, when in drought, leave it out; indicating that when an area has been in an extended dry pattern, a rule of thumb is to reduce precipitation amounts and chances predicted by models. However, there were some 2-3 inch amounts over central VA, between Culpeper and Charlottesville. Keep in mind that precipitation is rarely uniform even over a small area; especially showery precipitation associated with systems having a tropical moisture feed. There are micro-scale factors unable to be detected by models and observations that can create isolated areas of heavier precipitation. These micro-scale factors are almost impossible to forecast.

Posted by: WayneP1369 | September 28, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I think Thursday could be either a beneficial soaker or a bust...please see my post under the "Rain overdone" heading.

TWC's analysis of the NHC spaghetti model runs indicates that "Nicole" will either sit in the Gulf or pass well offshore Ocean City and Rehoboth.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | September 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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