* Flash flood watch southeast of Washington Thursday afternoon and night *
If you’re like me, another day of 80 degrees or higher and continued muggy conditions is not the worst thing ever, but you’re still getting tired of it. Cooler weather is on the horizon in the wake of Hurricane Michael passing by. That could bring some heavy rain to the region Thursday afternoon and night, especially in our southeastern areas.
Through Tonight: We’re already in the flow around Michael. Some hefty showers are to our south and generally headed north. Much of this may miss our area, but we should see an increase in rain for the first half of the night or so, then perhaps a lull. It’s still grossly humid, with lows near and above 70.
View the current weather at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Thursday): Showers remain intermittent during the first half of the day, but Michael is rapidly headed this way during the afternoon. Conditions first deteriorate in locations to our south. The worst rain around here may focus in the evening to overnight period. More details on that below. Afternoon highs are near 80 — the last time for a long while!
Michael and the D.C. area: Hurricane Michael made a devastating landfall on the Florida Panhandle today, and it won’t be long until its brushes our region, probably as a tropical storm. This is a quick-moving system, the brunt lasting perhaps 10 hours locally at worst, but it will drop some heavy rain and deliver some gusty winds, especially to our south and southeast.
A few random showers turn into an increasing chance of steady and breezy rain as we get through Thursday. The most consistent rain and wind may hold off until near and after sunset in the Washington area, but conditions will go downhill during the day to our south.
Whether Michael passes near the shoreline around the North Carolina and Virginia border area or comes a little more to the north will make a sizable difference in how much rain we see locally. We are right at the divide between heavy and more moderate amounts.
The GFS weather model is among the wetter models as it brings the low farther north into southeast Virginia when it passes.
This afternoon’s NAM weather-model forecast and this morning’s European weather-model outlook agree that Michael will end up a little farther southeast than the GFS prediction. Their rainfall outlooks are similar to the GFS, but with closer to one inch in the D.C. area and rapidly decreasing totals to the northwest.
The National Weather Service takes a blend of the two models, and predicts amounts to increase from around 0.5 inches in Hagerstown to 3 inches in Southern Maryland. Inside the immediate area, it paints 1 to 1.5 inches.
The Weather Prediction Center is monitoring our region and, especially, areas just to the southeast for the potential for excessive rainfall Thursday into the night.
A flash-flood watch is up for far southeastern suburbs, as well as a stripe up and down the coast from there. In the part of our region under the flash flood watch, 1 to 3 inches of rain is most likely. In the immediate area, closer to one inch near Interstate 95 seems a good bet, then trailing off to a half an inch or so north and west.
The rain ends overnight Thursday as the storm heads out to sea, but winds may become a nuisance, especially by the predawn hours Friday. Widespread gusts past 40 mph seem possible, higher as you head toward the Eastern Shore. Thankfully, our soils have dried out a bit lately, but some spotty wind damage cannot be ruled out.
Stay tuned for updates on Thursday as the forecast could still shift some.
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