5:58 p.m. update: The tornado warning (for our eastern suburbs) has been discontinued. Scroll on down for the forecast overnight through Friday, and more…

5:55 p.m. update: I just spoke to Wes Junker (Capital Weather Gang’s winter weather expert) who lives in northern Calvert County where the doppler indicated tornado (see update below) would’ve likely come through. He said he did not see any signs of a tornado and winds at his house were not particularly strong. Radar indicates the rotation in the storm has weakened some, but still exists. I imagine the warning will be allowed to expire at 6:00 p.m.

5:35 p.m. update: A TORNADO WARNING has been issued for eastern Prince George’s, southern Anne Arundel and Calvert County through 6:00 p.m. Doppler radar indicated a possible tornado near Dunkirk moving southeast at 20 mph. This storm produced a funnel cloud near Clinton at 5:26 p.m.

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.

Overview, from 3:45 p.m.: A cool front sinking south through the region triggers showers and storms into this evening.  But then we welcome drier, less humid conditions into the region tonight into Friday.

Through Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms are likely late this afternoon and this evening, working northwest to southeast through the metro region.  Some downpours, lightning strikes and strong wind gusts can’t be ruled out, but truly severe storms probably stay well to our south in central and southern Virginia, where a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect.  By 7 to 8 p.m., most of the shower activity should be exiting the region.  Then, drier air gradually oozes in.  Cloudiness gradually decreases, with lows in the low-to-mid 60s downtown and as cool as the upper 50s in our north and west suburbs.  Winds are from the north around 10-15 mph this evening, decreasing to near 5 mph by morning.

Tomorrow (Friday): This day earns high marks… at least a 7/10 in my book, and you could argue for higher (Camden gets to make the call).  Skies are partly to mostly sunny with highs 80-85.  The big plus? Low humidity!  Dew points dip into the mid-50s.  We add on a pleasing breeze from the north at 5-10 mph.

See David Streit’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: Tree counts are LOW, grass counts are MODERATE-HIGH, weed counts are LOW-MODERATE, and mold spores are LOW-MODERATE

Tuesday was hot (as the visual makes clear), but a cool front is pushing the heat and humidity out of town. (Number7Cloud via Flickr)

California Drought: More bad news for California.  In the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, the percentage of the state classified under “exceptional drought” (the most severe rating) increased from 25 percent to 33 percent in the past week alone.  Now that the dry season is firmly underway, the drought is likely to get worse before it gets better, as Climate Central and Mashable explain.

Torrential rains, flooding in Minneapolis: Storms brought extremely heavy rain to the Twin Cities today.  Around 2-5 inches of rain fell in the region.  “At about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 3.95 inches had fallen at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the weather service,” reports the Pioneer Press.  Another round of rain could lead to more flooding there this afternoon.