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10-Day Outlook: Active Weather Pattern...

Josh Larson @ 11:00 PM

Today's Weather

Today's forecast calls for variably cloudy skies, very humid conditions, and a stray (<25% chance/coverage) shower or thunderstorm. Expect muggy afternoon highs in the mid to upper 80s in most locations. Partly cloudy and continued humid overnight, with lows dropping to near 70.

Ophelia update

Ophelia has been raking the North Carolina coast with hurricane force winds, high surf and heavy rains. South of Wilmington, NC, upwards of 1 foot of rain fell yesterday. While only a Category 1 storm (maximum winds of 85mph), Ophelia is having a significant impact due to her sluggish movement -- taking over 48 hours to move up the NC coast.

By late this afternoon, she should be just east of Cape Hatteras. An outer feeder band could reach our area -- especially in the eastern suburbs, producing some showers. And the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Statement for the Chesapeake Bay:
Ophelia should finally be outta here by Friday morning -- well east of Virginia Beach. She could clip Cape Cod as she accelerates to northeast thereafter. - Jason Samenow

Pictured: The stunning sunset illuminates Ophelia's outermost cloud bands yesterday evening near Chantilly, Va (click to enlarge). By photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Quick Pattern Overview

A ridge of high pressure is currently stationed over the western Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard, allowing for above-average temperatures and very humid conditions for our neck of the woods. However, a cold front approaching from the west will allow for a weak trough to build over the Northeast this weekend, bringing much cooler temperatures to our area Friday through early next week. A strong, broad ridge will build over the central and eastern US Monday through Wednesday allowing for warmer temperatures once again. However, models indicate that a very sharp cold front and associated trough complex is likely to push temperatures to below normal levels by Thursday of next week.

The next 5 days (Sept 15-19)
Forecast high/low: 80/63 (normal = 79/62)
Forecast precip: near normal

Roller coaster temperatures will be the rule over the next five days thanks to an active pattern aloft. After today's highs in the upper 80s, expect mostly cloudy to overcast skies on Friday, with cooler temperatures near 80/63. The aforementioned cold front is likely to provide support for scattered showers throughout during the day, perhaps lingering into the early morning hours Saturday. Saturday will feature a mostly cloudy morning with a stray shower, but some sunshine will return by afternoon. Expect much cooler temperatures near 75/60. Sunday will be delightful with abundant sunshine, low humidity levels, and temperatures near 78/63. Slightly warmer and more humid on Monday with mostly sunny skies and temperatures near 82/64.

The following 5 days (Sept 20-24)
Forecast high/low: 79/58 (normal = 77/60)
Forecast precip: below normal

The average temperatures (79/58) for next Tuesday through Saturday are a bit deceptive since the first part of the period (Tuesday and Wednesday) will feature well above normal temperatures while Thursday through Saturday will be much cooler. Expect mostly sunny and warm conditions on Tuesday with temperatures near 83/65. Wednesday will feature partly sunny skies, warm conditions, and the chance for showers late in the day as the cold front likely rolls through. Temperatures will be near 86/60. Delightful weather Thursday through the weekend, with abundant sunshine, very low humidity levels and temperatures in the mid 70s for highs and in the low to mid 50s for overnight lows! (Above: See the much cooler air filtering into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic by next Thursday as represented by the GFS Model; courtesy Unisys)

Verification of Last Week's Outlook

An excellent 10-day outlook last week: temperatures last Thursday through yesterday averaged only 1.6 degrees off my forecast highs, which is a very solid A according to's forecast verification scale. In fact, on three separate days (Thursday, Monday, Wednesday) I nailed the high temperature and another three days (Friday, Sunday, Tuesday), I was only one degree off. Unfortunately, I thought temperatures would be much cooler on Saturday than they ended up being -- I forecast 77 and we hit 85 -- so that one day significantly impacted my score. If we leave off Saturday, my temperature forecast averaged only 0.5 degrees off for the remaining 6 day period!

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