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Tropics Active as We Stay Hot and Dry

Matt Ross @ 12:00 AM


Another warm September day is on tap with Partly Cloudy skies and highs in the mid 80s. There is a 30% chance of showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mostly in the early afternoon as a cold front moves through. Most of the action will be to our north however, and if the September trend continues many of us will remain dry. Skies will clear after dark. Dry, warm conditions should persist through the weekend.

Rita and Philippe

Hurricane season marches on record fashion. We are currently dealing with two tropical systems in the Atlantic. The first, Hurricane Philippe, will pass east of Bermuda and recurve out to sea. The second system, Rita, which is likely to become a Hurricane today, if it isn't already, is an immediate threat to the Florida Keys where it may strike as a Category 2 sometime late today before entering the Gulf of Mexico. At that point, Rita looks to strengthen and head towards the Galveston/Houston area of Texas for a late week or early weekend landfall. We will update tomorrow regarding the Florida Keys and then throughout the week about the probability of a Texas hit and any resultant impact to our area's weather.

Dry and Hot

Our dry and hot September continues as we stand at only 0.01" of rain for the month. You have to go back to 1884 for our driest September of all time with only 0.14" of rain. It was also amazingly our 2nd warmest of all time. Only 13 Septembers dating back to 1871 have finished with less than one inch of rain. If National Airport manages to dodge the rain today, we could get pretty close to the end of the month before another chance. While a good soaking thunderstorm could render this post moot, this record bears watching as we head into the last 10 days of the month. We don't have a realistic chance at the warmest September of all time at 77.1F, which belongs to 1980 with 1884 as mentioned above a very close 2nd at 77.0F. Nevertheless as we currently sit at over 4 degrees above normal, the top 10 is quite probable. Aided by our five 90 degree days this month, we have a good shot at even finishing above our normal June temperature of 74.5F. One of the most interesting contrasts this year will be the bookends of meteorological summer, May and September. September averages about 5 degrees warmer than May in DC, but this year with our very cold May and our very warm September, it is likely for September to average close to 15 degrees warmer than May. The last time September was more than 10 degrees warmer than May was 1973 and we should match this feat easily. As the average monthly temperature drops almost 12 degrees from September to October, it is only a matter of time before we see some cooler spells hit the region. We can't defy climatology forever.

Image above courtesy of Accuweather.

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