* Flood watch 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday | Wind advisory 6 a.m. to noon Thursday *


HRRR model simulated radar between 2 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday. (PivotalWeather.com/PivotalWeather.com)

We’re smack dab in the middle of winter and just hours removed from a punishing Arctic blast. But Thursday morning’s temperatures could spike to near 60, and springlike downpours may sweep across the Washington region.

The bulk of the rain is expected to fall between about 5 a.m. and noon. It will be a day you’ll want your raincoat for the morning commute and a parka for the trip home as temperatures tumble in the afternoon as the downpours pass.

The trigger for the storminess is a cold front, but before it arrives, southerly winds will draw up unseasonably mild air and make it feel like March or April.

Temperatures are predicted to rise through the 40s overnight Wednesday and through the 50s by early Thursday morning. Some forecast models project a 7 a.m. temperature of near 60 degrees in Washington, a rise of nearly 30 degrees in 24 hours.


24-hour temperature change forecast from high-resolution NAM model 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m Thursday. (PivotalWeather.com/PivotalWeather.com)

When the cold front collides with this unseasonably mild air Thursday morning, a line of gusty showers may develop embedded within the main area of rain — between around 6 and 9 a.m. We can’t even rule out some thunder.

“Given frozen ground and heavy rain rates, some instances of flash flooding may occur,” says Jeff Halverson, Capital Weather Gang’s severe weather expert. “Additionally, these showers have the potential to mix down strong winds to the ground, causing gusts in the 40 to 50 mph range, and perhaps a few isolated gusts exceeding 50 mph.”

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory from 6 a.m. to noon Thursday, given the potential for such strong gusts.

How much rain are we talking about? The National Weather Service says amounts should average around an inch, with isolated totals up to 1.5 to 2 inches.


Rainfall forecast through 1 p.m. Thursday from National Weather Service. (WeatherBell.com)

Here are the amounts projected from several different models in Washington:

  • GFS model: 1.5 inches
  • NAM model: 1.3 inches
  • High-resolution NAM model: 0.9 inches
  • HRRR model: 0.9 inches
  • European model: 1.1. inches
  • Canadian model: 1.2 inches
  • High-resolution Canadian model: 1.4 inches

As the rain comes through and ends Thursday morning into the early afternoon, temperatures are forecast to steadily fall — back into the 40s by midday and 30s by sunset.


HRRR model temperature simulation from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Thursday. (PivotalWeather.com/PivotalWeather.com)

So after rising 20 degrees overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, temperatures may then fall 20 degrees during the day. Quite the temperature roller coaster!