9:55 p.m. - Rain starting to ease, flood threat lingers south and east
The rain is showing signs of starting to ease just a bit in the immediate metro area. It won’t totally move out until 2 a.m. or so, thus flooding continues to be a concern especially south and east of the Beltway where the heaviest rain has fallen. Note the contrast in rain totals thus far, from generally 2-4″south and southeast of D.C., to around 1″ or less from D.C. toward points north and northwest, as seen in the image below.
8 p.m. - Rain continues through evening, heaviest south and east with flood risk
The entire area is getting soaked by Michael, but the heaviest rain continues to focus across the southern half of the metro area, and in fact we have flood warnings in effect to the southwest of D.C., including Alexandria, Arlington, Springfield, Dale City, and points south through Fredericksburg. Drivers south and also east of the Beltway should proceed with extra caution, and never drive into standing water.
5:50 p.m. - Wind advisory issued for tonight
Due to Michael and the winds expected in its wake, a wind advisory has been issued for the overnight hours. Sustained winds could reach 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph. The strongest winds will occur east and southeast of Washington. “Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines,” the Weather Service cautioned. “Scattered power outages are expected.”
It’s possible today is the end of summertime weather in the area. The warm season has hung on long and strong this year, but it has to give in eventually. Michael is helping things along as a six-to-12-hour rain-and-wind storm rides north along a cold front, delivering autumn in its wake. Starting tomorrow, we might even be hard pressed to find a high of 70, which is perhaps to be expected, given the average highs now falling into the 60s.
Through Tonight: The main area of rain is beginning to move into southern and southwestern parts of the metro region. Some thunderstorms are possible, and they may be strong, with locally intense winds. Initially, rain may focus near and west of Interstate 95, but it should move into the rest of the area through sunset or so. This is all moving along, so rain, moderate to heavy at times, lasts until near or a bit after midnight before tapering off.
Up to two to five inches of rain is possible in the southeastern suburbs, with isolated higher amounts also a risk. For the immediate area and to the west, a range from about a half-inch to an inch or two, lowest north and west, seems a good ballpark. Some localized flooding is possible, particularly south and east.
Winds pick up, as well, and they peak near and shortly after the low passes in the overnight to pre-dawn period. We could be talking sustained winds in the range of 30 to even close to 40 mph well south and east. Gusts near and past 40 mph are a good bet areawide, with some experiencing stronger gusts. Lows are in the mid- to upper 50s or thereabouts.
View the current weather at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Friday): If you’ve been waiting for an autumnal day, this one fits the bill. There’s a nip in the morning that is made somewhat chillier by continued strong winds. Sustained winds around 20 to 30 mph early seems likely, and they taper thereafter. Daytime highs (actual highs are close to midnight) are in the mid-60s.
Latest on rain and wind expectations: Since we’re near start time, there’s not a lot of change from earlier thoughts in the forecast, and in Jason’s detailed post for the broader region. It’s still a fine line between a lot of rain and not so much. We’re near that line. Most folks around here should see at least a period of moderate to heavy rain once things start up this evening. From there, the heaviest is likely to translate south and east toward the main low as it passes. That is where the highest totals will occur.
Winds seem likely to be at their worst somewhere in the range of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Some wind damage is certainly possible, with several hours of high gusts anticipated. The odds of this increase heading east and southeast.
Want our 5 a.m. forecast delivered to your email inbox? Subscribe here.