Washington’s record-breaking streak of rainy days is a survivor, and there may be no stopping it. The same pattern responsible for this barrage of rain may recharge next week.

The streak almost ended Tuesday. Almost.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, the Washington area had just recorded a trace of rain for the day. Yet in its final hour, 0.01 inches of rain fell, and the record-breaking streak with measurable rain lived on, growing to 14 days.


More rain has fallen today, extending the number of consecutive days with measurable rainfall to 15! That’s five more than the previous record of rainy streaks (10 days), from 1938 and 1873. We are in uncharted territory.


The forecast for the next few days, at least, offers more chances for rain.

There’s a chance we end the streak Thursday, when models show only very light precipitation. We may see mostly just drizzle, or trace amounts of rain, rather than measurable amounts. But just a brief shower could easily drop 0.01 inches in the gauge, so I think it’s more likely than not that the streak reaches 16 days.

On Friday, measurable rain is very likely as a cold front comes through. That is potentially Day 17.


Forecast weather map shows rain showers in the D.C. region on Friday. (National Weather Service)

Another cold front is slated to zip through the region Saturday with likely midday to afternoon showers. There’s 18.

By far, the best chance to end the streak comes Sunday, when we’re between weather systems. Models, as of now, do not show rain in the region.

But there are still a few ways in which rain could sneak up on us and extend the streak to 19 days Sunday:

  1. Saturday’s front slows down, and its passage crosses over into early Sunday morning.
  2. Cold air at high altitudes triggers some pop-up showers Sunday afternoon.
  3. A stream of moisture ahead of a weather system moving toward the region Monday arrives earlier than forecast, producing some late-evening showers.

In other words, don’t assume that Sunday will be dry.

If it somehow manages to rain Sunday, then the streak could get a fresh set of legs next week as an active storm pattern may reload. Some forecast models show the jet stream flowing over us and a stalled front draped in our vicinity. Such a setup, reminiscent of the 19 prior days, would bring a good deal of clouds and intermittent rain chances.


Jet stream early next week, Monday, May 16, 2016. (TropicalTidBits.com)

Of course, the further we project into the future, the more uncertain the forecast becomes. A slight shift in the jet stream next week could mean improved weather. Some models keep the storm track more to our north.

In about 10 days, beyond the time frame in which forecasts are really reliable, models hint at a warmer and drier pattern. Of course, if they’re right, we’ll be practically jumping straight into summer, the three weeks of our normally nicest spring weather lost forever.


8-14 day precipitation outlook from the National Weather Service favors near normal precipitation and a possible end to the wet pattern.