A rainy game of ultimate frisbee on Sunday. ( Kevin Wolf via Flickr )

A sunnier, drier weather pattern is about to hit its stride in the Mid-Atlantic. But before anyone gets too used it, consider weather models that suggest that a weather system developing in the Atlantic could bring more overcast, rainy conditions to the region early next week.

There’s a small chance that a tropical storm even forms.

Late this week, an area of low pressure is forecast to develop north of the Bahamas and steering currents may direct it toward the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast by Memorial Day. Yes, this means potentially cloudy and rainy conditions could move into the D.C. area sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.


Before canceling your Memorial Day barbecues, understand that the development and eventual track of this system is highly uncertain. It may not develop and/or the timing of its development could change. And whether it hits the Mid-Atlantic head-on or just brushes the region is also in question.

In a worst-case scenario, the system could obtain tropical characteristics and become a tropical or subtropical storm. Depending on its exact track, it could then dump heavy rain over the region combined with gusty winds. Minor to moderate coastal flooding would be possible as well as beach erosion.

If the system becomes a tropical or subtropical storm in the Atlantic, it would become the second of the year, earning the name Bonnie. Recall that in January, Alex formed and became the earliest Atlantic hurricane since 1938.

But Brian McNoldy, Capital Weather Gang’s tropical weather expert, doesn’t think the prospects of a Memorial Day tropical storm are high.

“The chances are really slim,” he said. “If the system organizes into some sort of coherent low before getting to the Gulf Stream, something could happen. It has such a short window of opportunity [to develop]. The models are less enthused about it now than they were previously.”

He added: “There will be some sort of disturbance or blob that heads towards the Southeast coast, but probably just a rainmaker.”

Right now, the European model forecasts one to three inches of rain falling in the D.C. area starting midday Monday and continuing into Tuesday afternoon (see below).

European model forecast for Atlantic weather system and early next week in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. (WeatherBell.com)

The GFS model (not shown) suggests damp weather could arrive as early as Sunday and continue intermittently through Tuesday.

Those (most of us) pulling for dry weather should hope the Canadian model forecast (also not shown) is most correct. Its forecast suggests that the weather system will strengthen into a tropical storm but just graze the coast and go out to sea.

The weather system has yet to even form, so pinning down its fate is not possible. Generally, though, models advertise a pattern in which moisture from the Atlantic is steered toward the Mid-Atlantic next week, which favors cloudy, rainy conditions at times.

Of course, a cloudy, rainy Memorial Day and end to May would only be fitting in the D.C. area, where rain has fallen on 19 of 23 days so far. It would certainly put an exclamation mark on the “worst May ever.”