Washington picked up 2.18 inches of rain through 3 p.m., while Dulles and BWI Marshall logged 1.65 and 2.01 inches. According to Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston, today is the fifth time in 2020 Washington has seen over two inches of rain in a single day. “Only 1886 and 1878 have seen more such days with six each,” he tweeted. “Most recently saw five in our wettest year of 2018.”
While Zeta’s rain is moving out, a trailing disturbance is likely to set off more showers overnight when another 0.1 to 0.5 inches may fall. This second wave should end by around sunrise Friday.
This is the last update in this article. Stay tuned for our PM Update, publishing by 5 p.m., for a more detailed look at the forecast for tonight and Friday.
12:15 p.m. — Flood warning for immediate area through late afternoon
As heavy rain streaks through the area, the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning from central Fairfax County through the District and Baltimore. Generally, between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain have fallen and another inch or so is possible before rain tapers off late this afternoon.
Areas most vulnerable to flooding are roads near small streams and low-lying spots with poor drainage. Never try to cross a flooded road in a vehicle. Turn around, don’t drown.
Here are rainfall totals through noon: Reagan National: 1.41 inches, Dulles: 1.33 inches, and BWI Marshall: 1.51 inches.
10:15 a.m. — Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Zeta to drench region over next 6 hours
Radar shows a large area of heavy rain entering the metro region that will last into the late afternoon hours. We can expect 1 to 2 inches of rain during this time, with locally higher amounts, on top of what has already fallen. The sustained nature of this drenching rain is likely to cause some streams to overflow and flooding in poor drainage areas.
Since the rain began during the the predawn hours, 0.75 to 1 inches has already fallen.
In addition to the rain, winds will become a bit gusty this afternoon. While tropical-storm-force winds are likely to remain south of the Washington region closer to where Zeta is tracking, parts of Southern Maryland, where a wind advisory is in effect, could see gusts up to 40 mph. In the immediate D.C. area, gusts over 25 mph cannot be ruled out, particularly during the mid-to-late afternoon hours when the center of Zeta makes its closest approach. While we wouldn’t be shocked to see some isolated gusts over 30 mph in the immediate area, we do not expect widespread power outages.
We do expect this surge of rain from Zeta to rapidly exit late afternoon. A second wave of rain from a trailing disturbance is expected late tonight with another 0.5 inches of rain or so expected before it moves off early Friday morning.
Today’s daily digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10: All you get is nothing but wet from sunrise to sunset.
- Today: Rain, heavy at times, and breezy. Highs: Near 60.
- Tonight: Occasional rain, breezy. Lows: 42-46
- Tomorrow: Showers end early, partly cloudy afternoon. Highs: 50-55.
Forecast in detail
Tropical Storm Zeta races through southwest and central Virginia today, drawing soaking rain over our region. Drier air gradually arrives Friday, setting up mostly sunny and cool weather for the balance of the weekend, including Halloween. Some of our colder suburbs probably will see frost Halloween morn.
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Today (Thursday): Rain greets even the earliest of risers. The heaviest rain may occur in the late morning and afternoon, when the core of Zeta makes its closest approach. At least one to two inches of rain are likely and a few pockets of flooding cannot be ruled out near streams and in poor drainage areas. Winds from the northeast may gust to 15 to 25 mph during the afternoon and even 30 to 40 mph into Southern Maryland. With the rain, temperatures hold steady in the upper 50s to near 60. Confidence: Medium-High
Tonight: Rain continues and, while it may not be as heavy as during the day and could pause, up to another inch of rain could fall by the end of the night. Winds from the north are occasionally gusty. Lows fall to the low to mid-40s. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow (Friday): Gusty winds from the north start to bring enough dry air to disperse most of the showers fairly early with slow clearing during the afternoon. The colder air surging in limits highs to the low to mid-50s. Confidence: Medium
Tomorrow night: Skies finally clear and winds steadily lighten up. This allows temperatures to fall off at a decent pace. Lows in the low to mid-30s (upper 30s downtown) make it likely that frost will be scattered across much of the area. Time to bring in those houseplants if you have not already. Confidence: Medium
A look ahead
Sunshine is back in control on Saturday, but the colder air is not budging. Highs only top out in the low to mid-50s but light winds keep it from being too painful. The Halloween Blue Moon rises in the east in the evening, lighting the way for any ghosts and goblins that are out and about. Overnight lows drop to the mid- to upper 30s (low 40s downtown). Confidence: Medium
A strong cold front will be racing toward the area on Sunday but ahead of it, south winds should pick up and highs rise into the low 60s in much of the area. Skies are partly sunny but likely cloud up in the afternoon, and a shower or sprinkle is possible with the arrival of the front. Winds abruptly shift to out of the north in the evening and are gusty through the night. Lows range through the 30s. Confidence: Medium
Gusty north winds Monday prevent temperatures from rising much, with highs mainly in the 40s despite partly sunny skies. So bundle up! Confidence: Medium