After the messy weather midweek, then a fairly cool and gray Friday, we're treated to a pretty excellent weekend. Today's highs near or above 60 are only slightly tempered tomorrow, and both days feature a good amount of sun!
This animation shows the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research's wave height estimation for the March 11, 2011 tsunami that started off the coast of Japan and has placed the entire Pacific basin on alert.
Less than three weeks after resigning as AccuWeather's chief long-range forecaster, Joe Bastardi announced Friday that he has accepted the position of chief forecaster at WeatherBell, a fledgling weather consulting firm.
Considerable clouds and a gusty breeze from the northwest have made for a chilly early March-like day. Highs have fallen short of 50 for the most part. After a chilly a Friday night, a somewhat milder regime settles in for Saturday pushing temperatures about 5-10 degrees above today's levels.
On March 19, the moon's orbit will make its closest approach to Earth in 18 years while at the same time be in full phase. Such a coincidence has been named a "SuperMoon" by astrologer Richard Nolle. As entertainingly chronicled by John Metcalfe over at TBD, Nolle predicts all kinds of weather and natural hazard mayhem, including strong earthquakes, in conjunction with the Supermoon. So the questions that emerge are: 1) Is there any legitimate science linking the Supermoon and extreme natural hazards? and, 2) Did the upcoming Supermoon play a role in this morning's horrific earthquake in Japan?
The extraordinary earthquake that devastated parts of coastal Japan this morning has triggered tsunami activity currently propagating across the Pacific ocean. At the same time, a flood of information is pushing through cyberspace that could easily overwhelm anyone seeking the basic facts. Let's break down what we know based on information from sources we trust.
Today we leave yesterday's rainy mess behind and get ourselves ready for a pretty pleasant weekend. Highs rise into the low-and-mid 50s, which is pretty close to average. Tonight is a bit chilly, but we should make a run at 60 both tomorrow and Sunday!
It's soggy (and in places flooded) out there, and while the end might be coming into sight, there's more moderate to heavy rain to go through first. Bands of rain will continue into the evening, and some gustier showers and thunderstorms may march through as well. Keep an eye out for ponding on roadways and remember not to drive through standing water.
Notwithstanding the current and recent deluges, planting time is fast approaching. I always like to keep an eye on the map of average temperatures over the past several weeks. It is a good rule of thumb for monitoring soil temperatures in the garden. We have risen above the 40 degree mark and that signals the beginning of plant awakening in our area.
Rain continues steadily this morning. For the most part the rains haven't been heavy enough to cause street flooding or stream and creek flooding. However, strong flow from the southeast has caused tidal waters to rise, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Coastal Flood Warning now in effect through 3 a.m. tonight.
We get the rivers of rain out of the way today and then it is smooth sailing all weekend! We could set the record for rainfall on today's date. Does anyone think that commuting today is going to be anything but ugly? Please slow down to avoid hydro-planing and lights on! The worst will probably be with the afternoon rush.
If you have any question about why we're expecting heavy rain through tomorrow night and possible flooding of streams and creeks, just look at the expanse of the cloud field (shown above) associated with the frontal system coming through over the next 36 hours.
For most of the region, the rains have held off today. Nonetheless, it's been gray and dreary, with highs mainly in the mid-to-upper 40s. Rain increases in areal coverage during the evening hours and sticks around through a good part of Thursday night. A flood watch remains in effect until then for up to 3" or so of rain.
Almost two years ago I asked the question, "Do Solar Storms Threaten Life as We Know it?" The answer then and even more so now could very well be a scary "yes" - even within the next few years - as an increase in solar activity coincides with the increasing vulnerability of technology-dependent societies to a powerful solar storm. Moreover, should there be a solar strike capable of causing widespread blackouts and crippling disruptions of satellilte and radio communications, it's likely there would be little advance notice, and currently there is virtually no capability to shield much of the planet and virtually no planning on the books to recover from the potentially disastrous consequences.
It's a little sad, but not surprising, to hear that after 70 years Verizon plans to pull the plug on telephone time and weather on June 1. How do you feel about the demise of 936-1212?
Another significant rain event is on the way, with the potential for as much or more rain than this past weekend's generally 1-2.5" soaking. After a chance of showers today, moderate to heavy rain is likely late tonight and tomorrow, which could lead to minor to moderate flooding issues late tonight and tomorrow. A Flood Watch is in effect this evening through tomorrow evening.
Look quick! According to Frank Roylance at the Baltimore Sun, both the International Space Station and shuttle Discovery - pictured above - will be simultaneously visible this evening between 7:23 and 7:26 p.m.
The beautiful sunshine of the last two days is now fading as high clouds arrive ahead of the next storm system. Thanks to sun earlier in the day, highs still managed to reach near 50 today. Tomorrow turns gray, with rain shower chances increasing in the afternoon.
While Mardi Gras revelers get their buzz tonight in New Orleans, forecasters are buzzing about the severe thunderstorm risk encompassing Louisiana and surrounding states in the Deep South. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center says these areas, including the Big Easy, stand a slight to moderate risk of dangerous storms capable of producing damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes.
As we mentioned in our forecast this morning, the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the metro region Wednesday night through Thursday night. The NWS is calling for up to 3" of rain - enough to send creeks and streams over their banks.
In conjunction with the Post's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, we are doing a series of stories describing the difficult weather conditions often encountered in both the North and the South. This first installment broadly outlines the winter weather prior to the outbreak of war in April 1861.
Today's sunshine feels nice. But after Sunday's soaking, we're looking at another drenching Thursday with clouds rapidly building back in tomorrow. Fortunately, the upcoming weekend falls in between storms.
While there were no reports of accumulating snow inside the beltway last night, you only had to travel a little over 60 miles to get nearly half a foot. Capital Weather Gang reader Steve Gass, who photographed the image above, measured 5.5" on the slope of High Knob, in between Linden and Chester Gap in Warren County.
While we were treated to loads of sun today, cool temperatures and a gusty wind made it feel a little less comfortable than it may have appeared from inside. We stick with the chill tonight as temperatures fall well into the 20s in the suburbs to near 30 in the city. Temperatures warm back toward "normal" tomorrow as a good deal of sun remains.
Last Sunday, the Washington Post ran a provocative essay on the front page of the "Outlook" section by climate activist Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. In it, Tidwell reveals the lengths to which he is going to prepare himself and his family for what he sees as the now inevitable consequences of climate change. For example, he is stockpiling food, testing guns, and invested in an emergency generator - all in an effort to stave off social unrest that he sees coming down the pike due to climate change-related extreme weather events. The essay is surprising - and completely wrong - in two main respects.
Heavy rains fell throughout the metro region yesterday, with amounts generally in the 1-2.5" range from east to west spanning Prince George's county and western Fairfax and Montgomery counties. West and southwest of Fairfax county, isolated locations saw around 3" or a little more. Capital Weather Gang's forecast for 1-1.5 inches in the metro area with locally heavier amounts to the west was pretty close to correct, albeit a little conservative. Where our forecast went wrong was in the snowfall department.
After yesterday's deluge, we get a few days to dry out. The negative in the week ahead weather is no stand-out day with both sunshine and warmth. The sunny days tend to be chilly. We get more rain late Wednesday and Thursday.
Anyone complaining of drought should rejoice with today's solid soaking. An inch or more of rain is possible for most, and a Flood Watch is in effect for most of the area today. Starting tomorrow we'll enjoy a few seasonable days (though tomorrow is fairly windy) before another system approaches for the second half of the week.