Cherry blossoms frame the Jefferson Memorial (Brian Swogger via Flickr)

The weather was impressively warm around the region today. With aid from a strong southerly wind as well as clear skies, most of the area jumped into the mid- to upper 80s this afternoon. I wish I could say that Sunday would feature more of the same. In reality, the forecast is much more complicated.

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Through tonight: No problems during the evening hours. Temperatures will slowly fall through the 70s after sunset, as clouds start to creep in from the south. Winds will continue to gust over 20 mph from the southwest through 8 p.m., when they turn more true south and ease up a bit. Cloud cover will thicken after midnight with skies becoming overcast late. Temperatures stay on the mild side, with lows ranging from 59 to 63 degrees. Winds will be from the south/southeast at 10 mph.

View the current weather at The Washington Post.

Tomorrow (Sunday): Extremely tricky forecast for Sunday. A backdoor cold front will attempt to infiltrate the region from the northeast, and weather will be quite varied depending on which side of the front you are on. Models are having a hard time resolving where the line of demarcation will end up, so forecast confidence remains low.

Overall, expecting mostly cloudy skies in the morning with temperatures in the 60s around the District. Rain showers will increase in coverage by early Sunday afternoon and the second half of the day will feel quite raw with an east wind in the 10-to-15-mph-plus range. A strong cold front will approach the region Sunday night, bringing a burst of heavy rain and some isolated thunderstorms. The main hazard with this line of storms will be heavy rain: Anywhere from 1 to 2 inches could fall in just a few hours. The heaviest rain should move through sometime between 1 and 4 a.m. Monday. Low temperatures will range from the upper 40s to mid-50s with winds out of the east at 10 to 15 mph and gusts up to 25 mph.

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April 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington 153 years ago today. This much I am sure you know, but perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered what the weather was like that fateful night. The Weather Bureau, the predecessor to the National Weather Service, was still six years away from being formed, but lucky for us, the Smithsonian Institution ran a network of observing sites across the region. One of those sites was the U.S. Naval Observatory, which was the first weather station in the country to record hourly observations.


U.S. Naval Observatory meteorological journal entries for April 14-15, 1865. While the entries for April 14 record the weather in the District, on the day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, a notation beneath the entries for April 15 show how the observatory paid respect to the fallen president. Via Weatherwise Magazine

Naval Observatory records show a morning low temperature of 41 degrees in the District on April 14, 1865, rising to a daytime high of 71.5 degrees that afternoon. Skies were reported as mostly clear for much of the day, becoming partly cloudy with a temperature of 49.5 degrees by the time Lincoln and his entourage arrived at Ford’s Theatre in the early evening.

Booth’s escape route. Via the U.S. Park Service

Booth fired his infamous shot at about 10:15 p.m. that night, and Lincoln died some eight hours later. Booth and David Herold, a co-conspirator, fled the theater on horseback and crossed the Anacostia River via the Navy Yard Bridge, riding into Maryland. Booth and Herold would be on the run for nearly two weeks, spending much of their time camping outdoors, before authorities finally caught up to them on April 26 in Virginia. Booth and Herold had many misfortunes on their fugitive run, one of which came in the form of uncooperative weather. The Naval Observatory records show that it rained three times between the 15th and the 26th of April, with lightning observed on the 21st.

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