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The week ahead: Feelin' Ophelia?

Jason Samenow @ 12:00 AM

Everyone seems to want to know: 1) When is it going to rain again? - and - 2) What's Hurricane Ophelia going to do? I'll attempt to answer these questions, so keep reading...

No rain today. Just plenty of sunshine, and somewhat toasty. The mercury should climb close to 90 and it will be a bit humid (low 60s dewpoints).

No rain Tuesday, either, just heat and humidity. We'll see high temperatures near 90, and you'll notice the stickiness factor, with dewpoints around 70 that make it feel more like 95. It will be a throw back to July.

You want rain? Wednesday may be your best bet. Ophelia, likely to be hugging the coast, may throw back some showers (50/50 chance), particularly in the afternoon and evening. Even if Ophelia misses us, we could see a shower from a passing front. High temps should be near 80.

By Thursday, Ophelia may be pounding the coast of New England, while we experience slow clearing. I would expect high temps in the low to mid 80s with a mix of sun and clouds.

We should be under the influence of high pressure Friday through Sunday, meaning dry, comfortable days and clear, cool nights. Look for highs near 80, and overnight lows in the low 60s downtown and 50s in the suburbs.

More on Ophelia

Notice that in my references to Ophelia in the previous narrative, I used the word "may" both times. Beware of when I use the word "may", because it means I'm being intentionally wishy-washy (remember this come snow forecasting season) due to forecast uncertainties.

Most track guidance now bring Ophelia northwestward towards the Carolinas before turning her to the northeast. The timing of her turn to the northeast will have significant implications for the forecast up and down the eastern seaboard.

If she turns northeast sooner, she may just give the North Carolina Outer Banks a glancing blow, and spare most of the East Coast from any significant impact with the exception of high surf (near miss scenario -- somewhat likely 35%). If she turns later, she could make a direct landfall near the South Carolina/North Carolina border, and then move up I-95, bringing significant rain and gusty winds to the big cities, including DC (inland runner scenario -- least likely 20%). Perhaps the most likely solution (45%) is landfall on the Outer Banks and then a northeastward turn, bringing wind and rain to the coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast but just minor effects inland.

In terms of her intensity, she continues to struggle with dry air intrusion and cold water upwelling (because she's stationary), but I still think these limiting factors will lessen and that she'll strengthen a bit in the next 48 hours to a strong Category 1 or weak Category 2 storm.

Results from the last 'week ahead' forecast contest

It has been a couple weeks since we did a forecast competition. During the week of August 22, I competed against Howard Phoebus, a forecaster for Verizon's weatherline. I had an OK week, averaging 3.1 degrees off/forecast whereas Howard had a rough one, averaging 5.7 degrees/off forecast. Using's grading scale, those scores translate to grades of C+ and F (ouch), respectively. My head-to-head record now stands at 6-2-1. This week, I have no competitor. Would you like to compete in this contest in some future week? Email me.

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