D.C. area forecast: Rainy today, plus a pleasant Sunday

* Flood watch Saturday morning through evening *

3:45 p.m. temperatures and radar across the northeast. (Weather Underground and NOAA)

3:45 p.m. temperatures and radar across the northeast. (Weather Underground and NOAA)

3:55 p.m. update: The back edge of more consistent precipitation is nearing western parts of the area now, and should continue to slide through. Once this passes, the majority of the rain should be done with anything behind more of the isolated to scattered variety. However, the main front is still back near the Ohio/WV border, so a few more showers are possible until it passes. It appears a risk for a few passing showers may drift a little later into the evening than per our 5:00 a.m. forecast, but we should be sounding the all clear when it comes to that by 10 p.m. or so.


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.

2:10 p.m. update: Precipitation at the big three airports ranges from about a half inch to 3/4 of an inch so far, with some more rain yet to come. A bit of a stationary coastal front has set up in the area, keeping those west of 95 much cooler than forecast, while the D.C. area and east is coming close to the range expected. While the warmest of temperatures  (up to 60 degrees or higher) over east/southeast parts of the area should begin to cool, those spots still in the 40s should still try to warm up a bit. Widespread shower continue through the afternoon, with the next big batch headed in from the southwest now.

12:20 p.m. update: Our initial window of the most concentrated rainfall activity is upon us, and it looks like we’ll be seeing more rain than not in the next several hours. In addition to a heavy band of activity pushing in from the west, patches of heavier stuff continue to swing up from the southwest. Any breaks in the next while should be pretty short lived. Temperatures have also begun to reach near and past 50 in more spots as cold air damming finally breaks down.

Temperatures around 11 a.m. (Weather Underground)

Temperatures around 11 a.m. (Weather Underground)

10:45 a.m. update: While warm air has surged into the area just southeast of D.C., the push through the rest of the region is a slow go thus far. A smaller zone of warmth ahead of the front can’t be ruled out, but it looks more likely that we won’t see the full warm push across the area. Still, temperatures rising to the 50s seems a good bet for most, with some spots higher. Those in the 50s southeast should still head above 60.

Today’s Daily Digit

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 1 to 10.

3
A milder rain compared to Friday’s freezing rain and cold rain. Guess that’s worth an extra point!

Express Forecast

Today: Showers likely, especially midday into PM. Thunder? Highs: Upper 50s to mid-60s.

Tonight: Slight chance of showers early. Clearing and breezy. Lows: Mid-30s to near 40.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, breezy. Highs: Upper 40s to low 50s.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Today may springlike at times thanks to higher dew points and temperatures briefly surging into the region out ahead of a cold front. But, it won’t last too long, and those higher dew points come along with a near certainty of some rain. The mercury is back down on Sunday, but up again early in the work week. Active and changeable is the story of the time ahead.

Today (Saturday): As a storm gathers strength to our northwest and sends a front our way, showers are possible pretty much the whole day. They are basically inevitable starting around midday, with the heaviest of that likely focused in the 1 to 6 p.m. range. Thanks to the surge of springlike air mixed with impressive mid-level dynamics, there’s a risk of a rumble or two and some gustier showers, but any real severe weather threat should remain south of the area. Winds are from the south around 10-15 mph, shifting westerly late day.

One camp keeps today’s readings in the 50s, the other pushes toward mid-60s. I’d lean warm, at least briefly before the frontal passage, though it may be a slow process through the morning before a better surge out ahead of the front. We could see a decent gradient across the area, with upper 50s to mid-60s the best guess on range. Bonus: For you dew point nerds… We got down to -14 during the cold snap, and may approach or pass 60 at DCA today! Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Rain should be pushing east as we get to or past early evening, but let’s keep a slight chance going until about 8-9 p.m. Daily rain totals may range widely, with the lowest numbers just east of the mountains, but approaching 1-2″ or more in others. Winds from the northwest are likely to increase, and could gust past 30 mph at times. Other than that, plan on clearing skies. You’ll maybe just want to layer up a bit if headed out as lows in the mid-30s to near 40. Confidence: Medium

For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…

Tomorrow (Sunday): This is looking like a “much needed” sunny and quite decent one. Winds may still be up a bit much to call it a perfect mid-winter break, but with highs reaching the upper 40s to low 50s it should feel quite good. Winds are from the northwest around 10 mph, gusts around 20 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Skies are mostly clear, and winds calm down a good deal. Lows reach the near 30 to mid-30s range. A nice quiet end to the weekend. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Snow Potential Index

A daily assessment of the potential for at least ~1″ of snow in the next week, on a 1-10 scale.

2 (↑) System Wednesday’ish a day closer, yet not too much clearer. We’ll need some luck, but a window is there.

We get back to work on Monday with another pleasant day. Maybe a few more clouds than Sunday. It probably warms back up, at least a little, with highs mostly in the mid-50s. By late in the day, clouds may be on the increase as a front approaches from the west, and it could very well drop some showers overnight. Confidence: Medium

On Tuesday, clouds are numerous as a front passes. There’s some uncertainty as to whether a low tries to form along the front. If it does, we probably see a bout of heavier rains at times. If not, it’s probably more light and garden variety stuff. Those extra clouds and the rain around should keep us a little cooler than Monday, with afternoon temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s — if we end up with the stronger low on the front, perhaps a bit milder. Confidence: Medium

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