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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 02/28/2011

Forecast: Warm, but risk of dangerous storms

By Jason Samenow

Tranquil Tuesday through Friday

updated at 9:25 a.m.

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

 

Likely heavy t'storms spoil 70-degree warmth
 
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Very mild, t'storms likely, some severe. Near 70. | Tonight: Evening storms, then windy. 30-35. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, breezy. Around 50. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail

FORECAST IN DETAIL

February may end with a bang as we carefully monitor the significant risk of severe thunderstorms today. When it's not storming, temps near 70 degrees (for the fourth time in the last two weeks) feel great. But it won't last as gusty winds bring chillier (but not cold) air for the middle of the work week. Mild weather may bounce back by Friday and Saturday.

Snow Potential Index: 0 (→) - And the Oscar for the best snow hole goes to... our Nation's Capital.

 
The SPI is a daily assessment of the potential for accumulating snow for the next week on a 0-10 scale. Get the 'SPI' on Twitter
 


Radar & lightning: Latest regional 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 (Monday): Before it turns stormy, the first half of the day is pretty fine. Although an isolated shower can't be ruled out during the morning (especially north early), it's most likely partly sunny and very warm, with temperatures rising to around 70 (record highs of 70 and 71 at Dulles and BWI are in play, but not National's 82). You'll notice quite the breeze, with a strong wind from the south at 10-20 mph gusting to 30 mph at times.

By late morning in the north and northwest suburbs and during the afternoon everywhere else, the weather goes downhill. Periods of thunderstorms are likely, some of which may be severe with torrential rain (flash flooding), damaging winds, hail, and even a tornado or two (especially south of the District). Some storms could linger into the evening commute, especially east of town. Rainfall potential is 1-1.5 inches (with isolated higher amounts). Stay tuned as we will be live blogging storm updates later today (assuming severe weather develops). Confidence: Medium

Thundercast:
Probability: 80%
Coverage: Widespread
Most Likely Timing: 11 a.m. (northwest) - 6 p.m. (southeast)

Tonight: Thunderstorms end by early to mid-evening., then it turns windy and much colder between 8-10 p.m. Lows range from the mid-30s downtown to near 30 in the colder suburbs. Winds become from the west, at 15-30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Keep reading for the forecast through next weekend...

Tomorrow (Tuesday): It's 20 degrees colder than Monday with a gusty wind at times from the northwest and north (at 10-15 mph, with some gusts in the 20-25 mph range). But the high of 50 is right around average for the first of March and sunshine is plentiful. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Winds go calm and it's clear and cold. Lows range from the mid-20s in the colder suburbs to the low 30s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

High pressure over top of us Wednesday makes for a pleasantly sunny day. Temps make a good run through the 50s to near 60 with light winds. A cold front passes from the northwest during the afternoon, knocking temperatures down through the 30s overnight. After waking to lows from 24-30 (suburbs-city) Thursday morning, afternoon highs only reach 45-50 with a cold northerly breeze. Confidence: Medium-High

We get back into southerly flow Friday, lifting afternoon temperatures back into the 50s. It's on the mild side Friday night, with lows in the 40s. Though a bit breezy, Saturday has the potential to be quite mild with highs in the 60s. Confidence: Medium

Showers and thunderstorms are likely Saturday night as a cold front pushes through. This rain could last into Sunday morning depending on how the fast the front moves. But Sunday afternoon looks dry, though breezy - with highs in the 50s. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Jason Samenow  | February 28, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Warm-up leads to Mon. severe threat
Next: Tornado watch dropped for metro region

Comments

Love the 70s temperature. Wish the thunderstorms didn't come with the warmth, though. At least this morning should be enjoyable.

Posted by: creativekev | February 28, 2011 5:55 AM | Report abuse

"Dangerous" storms?

Is there any other kind? ;-)

Posted by: jaybird926 | February 28, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

"Dangerous" storms?

Is there any other kind? ;-)

Posted by: jaybird926 | February 28, 2011 6:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious about the huge spread in the record high temps for today. They're usually a couple of degrees off each other, but 12 degrees different from National to Dulles is fascinating. (Perhaps this explains why National's snow totals are always so low!) Any insight?

Posted by: aem1970 | February 28, 2011 7:30 AM | Report abuse

aem1970,
don't know this for a fact, but i bet it's because dulles hasn't been keeping records as long.
-----------

snow must be going out of season....

march 6
the storm isn't showing any "back end" snow anymore, except maybe possibly something like .1" of snow. all the moisture blows through before bringing in the cold.

march 10
this image looks promising:
http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/06/images/gfs_pcp_252m.gif
it clearly looks like the equivalent of about 3" of snow will be produced up in the clouds. but this image dashes all hope:
http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/06/images/gfs_ten_252m.gif
it's not even close to being cold enough at the surface...

looks like stupid climatology is winning out. harumph.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 28, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Like the 70 for a high today.

Just about time to say "sayonara" to February and meteorological winter.

Things are looking up!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | February 28, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Walter and ThinkSpring (both posted at 7:40): I love the juxtaposition! I'd suggest a compromise with 70 degree days, then a parting snowstorm with no cold rain component, then two 40-45 degree days for working the snow, then 70 and sunny again.

Posted by: eric654 | February 28, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Walked to work this morning without the wool coat for the first time in months. I have to admit, it was quite pleasant!

I'm afraid climatology will sadden the Spring Chickens on this blog, though, as in DC our inter-seasons (which in my mind are spring and fall) are typically very short- I'm sure it will be hot and muggy very soon!

Posted by: kolya02 | February 28, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Walter, great response! Washington Dulles was built in 1959 and National's records go back to the early 1940s. Also, they use the downtown original location for those records, so there are many more opportunities to see more extremes at National vs. BWI and Dulles.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 28, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

eric,
that is funny - the juxtaposition and the "compromise" you suggest. i wish we could make weather deals like that - if we could limit the participants to CWG posters, since we are seriously skewed towards over-representing snowlovers here. i'm pretty darn sure if we polled the babies around the metro area it would never snow....
------------

normal high for today is 50. so, we're predicted to be 20 or more degrees above normal today. i recall days a week or two ago where we were 24 degrees and 20 degrees above normal too.

i know we had a lot of cold days, but did we have any days that were 20 degrees below normal this winter?

tennis anyone?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 28, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Is the local forecast page for the NWS not working for anyone else or is it just me?

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Walter, we had two days back in December (14th and 16th) that had high temperatures 19F below normal. That was the coldest I could find this winter.

Posted by: MattRogers1 | February 28, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

@jaybird926

Thunderstorms run the whole spectrum and don't always have cloud to ground lightning, damaging winds, large hail, torrential rain, etc. There are certainly storms whose impacts don't rise to the dangerous level.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 28, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

We're under a tornado watch? What the Hell? And you thought the winds were strong last week.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 28, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Walter - too windy today for tennis.

Car got washed last night. Another good rinsing forecast today....yay!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 28, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

NWS website is loading slowly for me too.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 28, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Re tornado watch, has this system spawned any confirmed tornadoes on its way toward us?

Posted by: tinkerbelle | February 28, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

thanks so much for checking matt. i didn't remember any "crazy cold" days.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 28, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

What's the time range for heavy rainfall/storming in Montgomery County? BTW, it got dark in about two minutes as I type this.

OVer the past 18 months DC has seen as high winds as you can get without it being a hurricane, a record blizzard, record cold temperatures,record heat. I think the only thing we haven't seen is an icestorm, and proper flooding.

Question for the CWG: Does anywhere in the world have the range and diversity of weather we get here? In terms of temperature some might, but when you throw in temperature combined with different weather conditions I'm thinking DC gets a little of everything to a greater extent than almost anywhere else.

Posted by: superseiyan | February 28, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Channel 4 mets are saying this first line is stabilizing the atmosphere; it's possible the tornado watch will be canceled soon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 28, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Channel 4 mets are saying this first line is stabilizing the atmosphere; it's possible the tornado watch will be canceled soon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 28, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@superseiyan
Within the U.S., Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska all probaby get even a wider spread of weather and more severe (at least in terms of blizzards and tornadoes).

Posted by: givemeabreak6 | February 28, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@superseiyan:

Everyone thinks that about their particular locale. It's what gave rise to that useless and lame cliche, "Don't like the weather in (insert your town here)? Just wait five minutes! Hee-YUK YUK YUK..."

Whatever.

Sure, some places do have more variable weather than others. San Diego, Honolulu, LA, etc. are comparatively monotonous weather wise. Yet, there are a range of places that all have diverse and changeable weather, with the only differences being on emphasis. Seattle, for example, has far more diverse weather than it is credited with, going from sunny to showery and back again several times in a single day--but in the weather books the day is recorded simply as "rainy" and the stereotype persists.

Minneapolis gets all four seasons and in abundance, in a way we never experience here. And I was once driving on I-25 in Colorado (relocating to Seattle from Florida, in fact) on the first day of fall. I was wearing shorts, enjoying the cloudless blue afternoon skies. The radio forecast snow and cold temps later in the day as we drove north. Sure enough, in Colorado Springs, the sky grew dark from a rapidly approaching cold front, then rain began and quickly changed to snow.

Several inches of powder greeted us as we arrived in Denver for rush hour (listening to salsa music on the public radio station in a rental truck!) and the first snow of the season. Nothing remotely like that ever happens around here.

Even New York, Philly and Boston probably have as much range of weather, they just hang on to the cold longer.

Posted by: BeauTochs | February 28, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Re: Walter's comment on 20-degree-below/above days, how many days this (and last, while we're at it) winter were maybe not 20 degrees lower, but at least 10 degrees lower (i.e., on average, haven't we had a couple of "cold" winters for this area)?

Posted by: SSpring1021 | February 28, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

SSpring1021,
i bet there were a LOTS of 10 degree below average days this winter. seems to me like we had a really long streak of moderately cold weather this winter. i think many people may remember it as extremely cold because of the wind.

BeauTochs,
don't know about n.y., but i remember a poster from boston saying how they only received a very few thunderstorms a year, and how everyone went crazy every time one happened.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 28, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Do you think Bostonites rush to the grocery store to stock up on milk and other supplies in advance of a thunderstorm? ;)

Posted by: SSpring1021 | February 28, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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