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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Forecast: Heavy rainfall likely, thunder possible

By David Streit

Severe storm risk south, rain ends around midnight

originally posted at 5 a.m., updated at 8:15 a.m.

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


A pretty crummy day but at least it isn't cold. I figure two is appropriate since a few places may need an ark.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: Periods of heavy rain. 56-60. | Tonight: Rain gradually ending. 41-46. | Tomorrow: Partly sunny, breezy. 53-57. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


We get the rivers of rain out of the way today and then it is smooth sailing all weekend! It is quite possible that we could set a rainfall record for today's date (current record 1.65" set in 1888 in Washington). 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. Take heart as mild and mostly sunny weather dominates the entire weekend.

Snow Potential Index: 1 (→) - There is at least one model still trying to give us a few wet flakes on Monday night but accumulations would be hard given the warm ground and above freezing temps.

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 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 (Thursday): The morning is wet but with a little luck the heaviest of the rains avoid the morning commute. We probably see a break during the middle of the day. The real downpours are likely in the afternoon into the evening with a few claps of thunder possible. There are a lot dynamics in the atmosphere, so we can't rule out some severe thunderstorms, especially south of town. The Storm Prediction Center indicates a slight risk of severe storms, with some potential for tornadoes. Breezes from the southeast at 10 to 20 mph (potentially higher in thunderstorms) should challenge the umbrellas. Highs manage to reach the upper 50s to near 60 but the wetness makes it feel cooler. Confidence: Medium

Probability of thunder: 60%
Coverage: Scattered, best chance south & southeast of District
Most Likely Timing: 4-8 p.m.

Tonight: After we survive the trip home and get dried out, the showers taper off and should end around midnight. Rainfall totals probably range from 1.5-2.5 inches with localized amounts to 3", especially west of town. Winds remain gusty early but diminish to just 5 to 10 mph by late evening. Lows should be no worse than the low-to-mid 40s. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through Monday....

Friday: Any lingering clouds should exit off to the east pretty quickly. While there is colder air surging across the area, the springtime sun is still capable of pushing highs into the low-to-mid 50s. Winds from the west at 10-15 mph require a jacket. A few clouds pop up in the afternoon but still a partly sunny ending. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow Night: The colder air that has been feeding in all day makes its presence known once the sun sets. Readings quickly fall through the 40s and with breezes still at 10-15 mph from the west there is a good chill. Lows should end up in the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium-High


Saturday is a banner day with plenty of sun and mild temperatures after a chilly start. Highs should make it to the upper 50s to lower 60s. A great day for gardening and I discuss that in my forthcoming garden blog post (today or tomorrow)! The evening is relatively mild and should not hit the 40s until after midnight. Lows reach the upper 30s to lower 40s. Confidence: Medium

Sunday's morning sunshine comes an hour later, that is if you remembered to switch your clocks to daylight savings time! Another great day to be out and check out the early bulbs that are now starting to bloom. Highs climb to the mid-to-upper 50s. This is a little shy of yesterday as a dry cold front is sneaking south across the area. It really becomes noticeable in the evening when the sun sets...but now not until after 7 pm. Lows reach the low-to-mid 30s. Confidence: Medium

Monday starts sunny and chilly. High clouds should be on the increase by midday with low clouds arriving in the evening. Those clouds thwart the sun and with winds out of the north, upper 40s to lower 50s is likely to be the best we can manage. There's a slight chance of rain showers (possibly snow showers in the colder suburbs) toward evening and overnight. Confidence: Low-Medium

By David Streit  | March 10, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Images of day: Massive storm, big time rains
Next: Rains so far and coastal & river flooding


Wouldn't Sunday morning's sunshine come an hour later? "Spring forward"

Posted by: js2225 | March 10, 2011 6:04 AM | Report abuse

That's true. The morning sunshine comes an hour later, but the evening sunshine lasts a hour later too.

Posted by: formerwxman1 | March 10, 2011 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Off the roads, DC crazies!! I'm on my way to the office and I'd like some calm after my lunch time (blatant) drunk driver yesterday.

Posted by: HappyArmyWife | March 10, 2011 6:29 AM | Report abuse

record snow for today is 5.3"... (record rain is 1.72")

so, is something supposed to "fill in" behind that blob on the radar passing over us? i see a giant hole behind it.

did you check whether that "drunk" person was actually driving under the influence of a cell phone conversation? i've found that's a MUCH more common cause of stupid driving these days.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 10, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Decent rain, but nothing epic or even above average by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: rocotten | March 10, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

So far, 1.9" up against the Blue Ridge, 30 miles west of Warrenton. Assuming that the 3" total is for the entire storm, and not just what we are supposed to get today, with another 1" or so predicted by NWS, 3" looks like it will be about right.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | March 10, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse


After all this rain a day as nice as Saturday sounds like a perfect time to garden. However most of this area is cursed with heavy clay soil and the last thing you want to do is mess with it when it's wet. If you do, you'll end us with something that makes concrete look soft. So gardening this Saturday needs to be restricted to raking up leaves and picking up twigs and branches. No digging please!

Posted by: BruceSorrell | March 10, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Just FYI to the Capital Weather Gang crew when I pull up the WP's website over last 36hrs I dont see your weather icon on the right side of the page. Instead I have to go into the blog directory to access this site. Happened my office with Windows, at my home office with Apple and in the house with my Apple.

Right now I am in my home office with a fire going in the Count Rumford fireplace going. Three very wet herding dogs smell like fresh rain not wet dog right now. We checked the streams and creeks on my property and cleared the jams from fallen trees and debris.

I have 600+ lambs who are chasing each other and splashing the puddles. They are enjoying life before they meet their ultimate fate. Yuuum lamb chops and leg of lamb.

Posted by: sheepherder | March 10, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Light rain on my drive to Belvoir today from Belleview. Nothing heavy. If this were snow, of course it would have tracked away from us.

Posted by: TBAlexandria | March 10, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@js2225: my bad it will be an hour later, i must be one of those who will end up late for everything this Sunday! @Walter: there will be a gap in showers and then they should intensify later today when the cold front and possible thundershowers come through. @BruceSorrell: its like you read my gardening blog that will be coming out later today! Yes indeed, I recommend waiting at least 3 and ideally 5 days to do and soil work to avoid turning that clay into concrete.

Posted by: davidstreit2 | March 10, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I was going to post this when Walter asked for pictures of snow, but there is still a pile of snow left this soggy morning at the University of Maryland.

Posted by: crazer | March 10, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind a few inches of rain when I look at the weekend forecast!!!

Saturday I'll be at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge for their annual eagle festival.

And, Sunday I'll be at the St. Patty's Day parade downtown. It almost always cloudy or rainy for this parade.

Posted by: ResQgal | March 10, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind a few inches of rain when I look at the weekend forecast!!!

Saturday I'll be at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge for their annual eagle festival.

And, Sunday I'll be at the St. Patty's Day parade downtown. It almost always cloudy or rainy for this parade.

Posted by: ResQgal | March 10, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

was that mid-day "gap" originally expected? or is that what the 8:15 update was about? it's been my understanding that it was supposed to rain all day. presumably that gap will cut into expected precip totals. that gap would be extremely vexing if this were a snow storm. now, eh... or as the kids say, "i'm like all, whatever".

is the part that's going to hit us after the gap even on the national radar yet? or is it something that "pops up" suddenly like summer thunderstorms?

crazer! that was taken today?! that's still there even after sunday's rain and the fact that we haven't been below freezing in i don't know how long! it's amazing as those piles last year were from gobs and gobs of snow, but this is from a mere, albeit it wet, 6" or so 6 weeks ago...

can anybody beat that? or is crazer the winner?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 10, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse


We never anticipated that it would rain steadily continuously for 36 hours but may have not communicated that clearly enough in previous posts. But yes, the 8:15 a.m. update was to specify the midday break (we knew there would probably be a break in the past, but weren't able to pinpoint the timing).

Looking at the latest NAM model, it does show lower totals than previous runs - so there is some potential for this rain event to underperform. A lot rides on the next big batch later today and how much it produces.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | March 10, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Looks to me like a decent number of places -- especially I95 nw before hitting elevation -- will end up with less rain than modeled outside a few bands here and there. We'll see though, I guess afternoon stuff could drop some high totals though the NAM suggests about .5-.75 more in the immediate area.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 10, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse


Any chance of one more good snow before it gets too warm?

Posted by: ed1210 | March 10, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@walter, yep that's from this morning. It's the remnants from the pile they cleared from the garage, it's in a shaded area so takes a long time to melt.

Posted by: crazer | March 10, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I love you guys for providing detailed information about things like how much more rain is expected this afternoon. I am worried sick about my basement (dry so far) so I hope the system underperforms this afternoon!

Posted by: weatherdude | March 10, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm annoyed the sidecar navigation box has dissappeared from the WaPo home page too as that is how I quickly accessed this blog and the Dr. Gridlock blog. A quicker way of accessing them now than through the blog directory is to click on "Local" from the top of the page. Then there is a link to the Captial Weather Blog at the top of the page directly to the right of the words "Post Local". Dr Gridlock also has a link to the blog near the top, center of the page. Takes two clicks.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 10, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

My beef with the whole WaPo website is that there's no showing anywhere of rainfall amounts for the past 24 hours (or for yesterday). I have to go track down a print edition and look in the Metro section for that information.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | March 10, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Takes two clicks.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | March 10, 2011 12:16 PM
Three clicks and you can be back in Kansas!!

Posted by: rpcv84 | March 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Please bring back the weather icon on the right rail!

Posted by: smill30 | March 10, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Please bring back the weather icon on the right rail!

Posted by: smill30 | March 10, 2011 12:39 PM |
Don't touch the 3rd rail, though...

Posted by: rpcv84 | March 10, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

It's been raining moderately pretty much non-stop since 7 this morning here in Rosedale. Don't have a rain gage at the office, but as of 1:00 BWI is reporting 1.58 inches already.

Posted by: marklandterrapins | March 10, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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