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Drying Out

Steve Scolnik @ 3:15 PM

The last remnants of Cindy were leaving the Philadelphia area early this afternoon, as the Washington metro area enjoyed bright sun through partly cloudy skies and a refreshing northerly breeze gusting over 20 mph at times. Although not quite achieving the upper limit of the forecast range in the immediate area, the rainfall amounts from the storm were truly prodigious. The official airport stations at Washington National and Dulles had 2.44" and 3.11", respectively. Amounts over 3" were spread over a large area; in Maryland: Frederick 3.75", Bel Air 3.44", Columbia 3.27", Damascus 3.10"; in Virginia: Boston (Culpeper County) 4.05", Reston 3.16", The Plains 4.10", Sterling 3.87", Shenandoah National Park 5.05", Haymarket 5", and the granddaddy of them all, Massies Corner in Rappahannock County 7.50".


Tonight should be a lot less exciting, with partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 60s. Tomorrow, we get back to the upper 80s, but the humidity should still be reasonable with dewpoints in the low or mid 60s.

Tropical Topics: Dennis in the Wings

Dennis is a strong Category 4 hurricane as it rakes the south coast of Cuba today. Highest winds have decreased slightly from 150 to 145 mph as it crosses the coast near Cienfuegos. For the U.S., hurricane warnings are in effect for the lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to the Dry Tortugas. A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch are in effect for the remainder of the Florida Keys. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the coast of Florida southward from Bonita Beach on the west and Golden Beach on the east.

The forecast track continues to put the storm into the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow, with landfall on the northern Gulf coast Sunday. There has been some discussion elsewhere and in the Comments on the possibility of a hit as far west as New Orleans. However, stronger storms, and this certainly is one, tend to veer somewhat to the right of the path which model dynamics would otherwise suggest. This means that a landfall near Mobile or to the east is quite reasonable. This track is confirmed by the latest model run, which was generated just a few minutes ago. On the other hand, given the magnitude of the threat, an evacuation decision for the New Orleans metropolitan area will be made today.

Since the remnants of Dennis are likely to move into the Ohio Valley, the direct impact of the storm on the DC region will be minimal, but we will monitor the situation and provide updates over the weekend as necessary.

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