9 a.m. Update: As of 8 a.m., Joaquin is now a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph and expected to strengthen. Although many models have now converged on a Saturday night-Sunday landfall somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey, last night’s European model (one of the most trusted) still has Joaquin staying out to sea. As described below, the D.C. area is in line for a serious rain threat Friday through Sunday regardless of the track of Joaquin. A direct hit on the Mid-Atlantic, with extreme wind locally in addition to potentially flooding rain, is one possible scenario. We’ll have a full update later this morning.
From 5 a.m. …
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
6/10: Muggy, mild, and not too rainy. Could be the best day we see for a while.
Today: A few scattered showers possible. Highs: Mid-70s to near 80.
Tonight: Chance of an isolated shower or two. Lows: Mid-50s to near 60.
Tomorrow: Cool with showers possible. Highs: Upper 50s to low 60s.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
Finally we are getting some much needed rain, and with it comes constant clouds and cooler temperatures. But will we get way too much rain in too short of time? Might we see a damaging windstorm as well? Both answers will be determined by the ultimate track and intensity of Joaquin, which at the moment are far from certain.
Today (Wednesday): A few scattered showers remain possible through the course of the day. We’re rather warm and muggy through much of the day, but should start to see the air dry out as a gusty breeze from the north develops by mid-afternoon. Skies are mostly to partly cloudy with highs in the mid-70s to near 80. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Still the chance of an isolated shower or two under partly to mostly cloudy skies. Otherwise it’s quite breezy and and cooler, though still warmer than average for this time of year, with lows in the mid-50s to near 60. Confidence: Medium-High
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Thursday): Shower chances stay in the forecast. We start with a 30% chance in the morning, with any showers likely to be scattered and light. By mid-to-late afternoon, rain chances rise to 50-60%, with the potential for more numerous and steadier showers. Mostly cloudy skies and a steady breeze from the north lock in the cool air, with highs only in the upper 50s to low 60s. Confidence: Low-Medium
Tomorrow night: Showers are likely as the atmosphere continues to moisten with a stalled front nearby. Cool breezes continue from the north, with overcast skies and lows in the low-to-mid 50s. Confidence: Low-Medium
A LOOK AHEAD
Friday through Sunday it looks like Joaquin, currently in the southwest Atlantic Ocean, and that stalled front will team up to produce periods of moderate to potentially very heavy rain. As of now, the chance of rain is around 70% each day. Winds could really crank up as well, especially during the weekend, though that depends on the very uncertain track of Joaquin. Each day probably features mostly cloudy skies and highs in the 60s. Confidence: Low
To elaborate some more on Joaquin… We have a pretty good chance of seeing periods of moderate to potentially very heavy rain (several inches possible) Friday through Sunday *regardless* of Joaquin’s exact track. However, if Joaquin gets close to the Mid-Atlantic coast or makes landfall as a tropical storm or hurricane — a legitimate possibility — then we could be looking at a serious rain and flooding event with very strong winds too. Unfortunately, models are all over the place on both Joaquin’s track and intensity, so we’ll have to wait for a better consensus.
Stay tuned for more detailed information on Joaquin later this morning.