2:12 p.m. update: Rain is spreading across the metro from northwest to southeast, but it doesn’t look like there will be much in the way of strong storms. Some isolated thunder and lightning and gusty winds might be possible, but overall this looks like a period of moderate rainfall. For any given location, it should last between one and 1 ½ hours.
Just as quick as it started, it will be over — models show clouds clearing out by 8 p.m.!
11:10 a.m. update: It ended up a pretty nice morning with mostly sunny skies dominating until recently. Clouds are streaming in now as a front approaches. Clouds thicken and lower over the next few hours before showers and storms arrive this afternoon. The most recent short-range modeling has the line hitting the western Beltway around 3 p.m.
8:20 a.m. update: We’ve got some “bonus sun” going on this morning. Some was expected, but not quite as much as we’re seeing. High clouds should be on the increase within a few hours and there’s still a good likelihood of showers and storms later. Short range modeling suggests the focus may be slightly on the late side compared to detailed below. The HRRR model has a band moving through the area from about 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with some showers lingering after. We’ll update on timing as needed.
From 5:00 a.m…
TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
6/10: We should see some sun, and it’s mild. But showers or storms may briefly interrupt afternoon activities.
Today: Mostly to partly cloudy. PM showers and storms. Highs: Near 70 to mid-70s.
Tonight: Clearing, breezy. Lows: 39-48.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, cool and windy. Highs: 60-64.
FORECAST IN DETAIL
We’re still in a zone where small victories against the clouds are big wins. This weekend should count as one of those types of victories. Today we’re still dodging gray skies, and we’ve got a risk of showers and storms this afternoon. But a strong cold front blows all of that out of here for tomorrow. It’ll be cooler, and gloriously sunny.
Today (Saturday): We start off with at least patches of sun early in the day, but clouds are generally on the increase again as a cold front rushes toward the area. It’s a strong front, so despite limited moisture for it to work with as fuel, we should see a fairly solid line of showers and storms push through. A few of these storms could be strong to severe, with gusty winds the main threat, and perhaps small hail as well. Best guess on timing for now is that the line crosses the Blue Ridge by early afternoon, then through the immediate region around 2 to 4 p.m. or so. So, for the broader region, impacts are generally in the 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. range. Before any showers and storms, highs are near and above 70. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: A shower could linger into early evening, but I would think it’s mostly or fully dry rather than very rainy. More good news: clouds are on their way out again. It’s a mainly starry late night, with lows mostly falling into the 40s but staying nearer 50 downtown. Winds are gusty throughout, the most so during the evening. At that point, sustained around 20 mph with gusts past 30 mph is a good bet, then slowly waning into the night. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow (Sunday): We’ve got the sun! Stay focused on that, and the fact that it’s mid-May so a ‘cold’ day isn’t too noticeable. Only a few clouds float by at times, and they are probably mainly of the high level variety. But it’s windy, with sustained near 20 mph from the northwest most of the day and higher gusts. Also, air straight out of the Arctic (quite modified by now) sits overhead, helping keep highs close to 60 or into the mid-60s in few spots. About 10-15 degrees below average. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow night: High pressure is solidly in control, so winds are way down. Calm wind and clear sky is often a recipe for effective cooling. It’s a night with a big temperature range from suburbs to city. Some of the colder spots north and west should end up in the mid-30s, with most other spots in the upper 30s to low 40s. In urban spots, it could be mid-to-upper 40s. Chilly any way you slice it. Confidence: Medium
A LOOK AHEAD
Monday is looking like a real winner, except for that little issue of it being the beginning of the work week. Skies should remain mostly sunny for a rare second day in a row. It’s also less windy and warmer. Highs rise to near 70. Confidence: Medium
On Tuesday, the clouds are back, as is a chance for rain. Right now it’s not a huge rain risk, but a little system should pass by to the south and keep us with at least an occasional shower chance throughout the day. Highs are in the mid-60s to near 70. Confidence: Medium