PM Update: Storms possible this weekend as heat and humidity return; Mining for Arctic data in old satellite films

Temperature Map

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map. See interactive map on our Weather Wall.

This morning was fantastically cool and the rest of the day has been just as excellent, with temperatures slow to climb through the 70s after morning lows that bottomed out in the mid-50s! The humidity has also been pleasantly low, with dew points in the low to mid-50s into the afternoon under clear skies. Things will start to warm up again on Saturday, though, as summer makes a holiday weekend return.

Through Tonight: A great evening to head outdoors. Skies remain clear and the temperature comfortable as lows bottom out in the mid-60s near the city and around 60 in the cooler suburbs. Winds remain light from the east.

Tomorrow (Saturday) and tomorrow night: The humidity starts to climb on Saturday, though overall it’s not going to be terribly uncomfortable, as warm, moist air flows into our region from the south. Highs will reach the mid-80s in the afternoon under partly cloudy skies. There’s a small, 10 percent chance of showers as the day wears on, mostly for our western suburbs. Overnight lows will be warm –  around 70 degrees – and might not get lower than the mid-70s in the city.

Sunday: Our chance of showers and storms climbs to 60 percent on Sunday afternoon, as that warm, humid air gives the atmosphere something to play with. The temperature really starts to get cooking on Sunday with highs reaching the 90 mark both in and outside the city. There’s no way to get around it — it’s going to be muggy on Sunday as dew points climb to around 70. That 60 percent chance of thunderstorms continues through the overnight, with lows around 70 degrees in our cooler suburbs, and the lower 70s in the city.

Labor Day: A lot like Sunday — hot, humid, and potentially stormy. Highs around 90 in the city, and in the upper 80s in the cooler suburbs. A 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, but partly sunny otherwise.

See A. Camden Walker’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter . For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.

Pollen: Trees and grasses are LOW. Weeds are HIGH. Mold spores are HIGH.

A beautiful, D.C. night on Thursday. (wolfpackWX via Flickr)

A beautiful, D.C. night on Thursday. (wolfpackWX via Flickr)

Blast from the past: Mining for data in Nimbus satellite films

 

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) are mining for data in old, long-lost films from the NIMBUS satellite project, which was launched 50 years ago this month.

For its time, Nimbus was an amazing feat of technology. “An attractive feature of the next Nimbus, will be the ability of small, relatively inexpensive ground stations to receive live pictures during the daytime, as well as infrared pictures at night,” the Nimbus video narrator states. Fantastic!

The only problem with those images is that they were burned onto film, stored in canisters, and organized by orbit, making it very hard for the NSIDC scientists to get the historical, Arctic data they were looking for without going through every single image — 250,000 of them.

NSIDC is now digitizing these images, they’ve reached 1970. Watch the video to hear about how this data is helping scientists understand our ever-changing Arctic.

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