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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 10/11/2010

Forecast: Warm Columbus Day before cooling

By Jason Samenow

High temps drop 20 degrees by late week

* U.S. lags other nations in weather prediction | Harvest Moon *
* Outside now? Radar, temps, clouds & more: Weather Wall *

(posted at 5 a.m., updated at 7:30 a.m.)

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


Summer-like heat. Is Columbus Day the new July 4th?
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Mostly sunny and very warm. 84-88. | Tonight: Chance of shower or t'storm late. 55-60. | Tomorrow: Variably cloudy, chance of showers. 75-80. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Turn the clock back a week and it was dismally wet and cold. We just missed matching the record (56 in 1988) for the coldest October 4 on record at Reagan National (the high was 57). Today, it's about 30 degrees warmer and while the record of 90 should be safe, temps are going to take a ride well into the 80s. Tomorrow, though, a cooling trend begins and by Thursday, temperatures turn cooler than normal and it may get wet.

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 (Monday): The first thing you'll notice if you're out early is the absence of the cool, crisp air of days past. It's not exactly muggy, but flow from southwest means we start the day in the 50s to around 60 rather than the 40s to near 50. With the help of abundant afternoon sun, high temperatures reach the mid-to-upper 80s. Could it hit 90, allowing us to break the 90+ record (which we tied)? Unlikely...just a 15-20% chance. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: A cold front drops southward to near the Mason Dixon line, likely triggering showers and thunderstorms, but probably impacting locations mainly north of the metro area. Nonetheless, a few showers/storms could (30% chance) pass through the region late - especially in the northern suburbs. Outside any storms, it's partly cloudy and mild with lows 55-60. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through next weekend...

Tomorrow (Tuesday): The cold front continues its trek southward, pushing through the metro region. Showers and storms are possible, particularly from the morning hours through mid-afternoon. Temperatures are warm for one more day, with highs 75-80 under variably cloudy skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: Skies clear and it turns cooler. Lows fall back into the upper 40s in the cooler suburbs to the low-to-mid 50s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High


Outstanding weather returns to the region Wednesday as cooler high pressure builds in. Highs are near 70, with Wednesday night's lows in the 40s to near 50 (downtown) under clear skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Clouds increase Thursday as high pressure retreats to the north. Rain is likely (60-70% chance) to develop as low pressure develops to the south, with highs 60-65. Confidence: Medium

Late Thursday into Friday is potentially stormy as low pressure develops off the mid-Atlantic coast. Chilly (lows 45-50), wind-swept rain is likely Thursday night lasting into part of Friday. Some partial clearing is possible by the second half of Friday, but it's probably breezy and brisk, with highs near 60. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend begins on a cool and breezy note Saturday. Highs are probably in the vicinity of 60-65 under partly sunny skies. Winds relax Saturday night with chilly lows in the 40s. By Sunday, we should have a good deal of sunshine along with light winds and seasonable highs from 65-70. Confidence: Medium

By Jason Samenow  | October 11, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Record watch: Dulles crushes old record


NWS forecasting 80% chance of rain Thursday and 70% Thursday night. Just yesterday, the forecast was for sunny skies Thursday. Why did the forecast change so quickly in the opposite direction?

Posted by: david_in_stafford | October 11, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

With all the hot air exhaled in Washington, we ought to be able to make 90 today and thereby set a new record for 90-day degree days. 90-degree days have happened as late as Oct. 11, I think.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | October 11, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse


Though I'm not sure why NWS didn't at least have a chance of showers in yesterday's forecast for Thursday, the reason for the sudden increase in rain chances is that prior to today most (not all) models had low pressure going out to sea, now most of them have it coming up the coast.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 11, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation, Jason. The models seem to have a hard time with these coastal systems lately.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | October 11, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey there JerryFloyd1 - Yup October 11 marks the last day of record maximum temp being 90 degrees. Statistically speaking it would be very difficult for the lower atmosphere to produce a 90-degree day after today! (but not impossible)

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | October 11, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Please credit the "much-unneeded-rain" crowd with yet more forecasting hijinks. They tend to do this when the global jet stream drops southward as we move towards winter. I really dislike it, though, when they convert a heretofore forecasted nice sunny day into a nasty, rainy one. That's what they did in this case. Let's just hope they don't ruin Saturday, when there's a late afternoon event at the Lisner Auditorium.

@JerryFloyd1 & Camden.

A few weeks ago I posted that the Twin Cities could conceivably hit 90 as late as Oct. 24. It would be interesting if some local weather experts could draw up a similar table of how hot or cold it can get on any day of the year here. As far as I know, only the 1970's-era editions of the WCCO Weather Almanac have compiled such a table--for the Upper Midwest!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 11, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Bombo47jea, this is not the table you wanted, but it does show records for every day of the year It should show today as the last 90 degree record, but it's pretty hard to pick that out.

Posted by: eric654 | October 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Bombo, just this morning I texted Zeus to whip us up some wind-swept rain for Thursday. He twittered in agreement, knowing how the MNR crowd has suffered so during this summer of brutal heat, record temperatures, and withering drought.

Humanity thanks you, Zeus! Bring on that "nasty" rain!!

Posted by: TominMichiganParkDC | October 11, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

wow...just got back from playing tennis and man it's HOT out there. i didn't see this one coming, but then again, my bad for not checking in here first....

anyway, while i was out there sweating up a storm i wondered if we had any chance in h-e-double-toothpicks of reaching 90 to break the record. can somebody go hold a lighter under the DCA thermometer....?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | October 11, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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