The Washington Post

The D.C. dry tongue

Doppler estimated rainfall from late Monday to late Thursday. (National Weather Service)

For much of this week, we’ve advertised flood watches, severe thunderstorm watches, heavy rainfall potential and so forth. The Nats even cancelled Tuesday’s game over the dire forecasts and only a few drops of rain fell. So what in the heck happened to all the rain? Answer: it artfully avoided us.

The image above shows Doppler radar estimated rainfall totals from Monday evening to Thursday evening. Notice how the narrow area of rainfall of 0.75” or less snakes from Charles and Prince George’s counties right through the District and then into Montgomery County. To the south, to the north, and to the west, amounts of 1.5 to 4” or so were common. For example, Dulles received 1.63” of rain Tuesday through Thursday, while Reagan National received 0.33”.

Computer models generally simulated more rain west of D.C. than to the east, but the lack of rain through the gut of the metro region was purely serpendipitous and not really possible to predict.

D.C. wasn’t the only area that eluded heavy rainfall. Downtown Baltimore did likewise through Wednesday as reported on Baltimore Sun’s weather blog. And on Thursday, BWI only recorded 0.11” of rain. Notice the little dry notch right over downtown Baltimore in the top image. Philadelphia also found itself mainly in the rain-free zone.

The big rainfall winner? New York City. The map above shows 2-4 inches of rain were common around the Big Apple. CWG’s Andrew Freedman - who resides there - reports flooding and road closures were common.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.


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