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More Rain and a Look Ahead Toward Winter

Matt Ross @ 12:00 AM


Today we will have occasional steady rain, moderate at times, becoming more showery in the evening. Highs will be around 65 degrees.
Due to the copious rain totals from this weekend, the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the entire area. Main concerns would be flooding of streams and creeks, and standing water in low lying and other prone areas. While 1-2" of rain is certainly possible, I wouldn't be surprised if this event underperforms in the same fashion that this past weekend overperformed.

Rain falls steadily on the Potomac Saturday afternoon in Alexandria. Despite the heavy amounts, river flooding was not a significant issue.

Vince, Wilma, Alpha?

Tropical Storm Vince should become a depression today as it nears Portugal's coastline. There is some indication that Wilma could form as early as late week, perhaps near Bermuda, although that remains to be seen. The emergence of Wilma, if it should occur, would match the most active Hurricane season on record, 1933's 21 tropical cyclones. While Hurricane season lasts for another 7 weeks, our chances for a named storm continue to statistically diminish as the peak season of August to October, with its peak in mid to late September, passes in a few weeks. However, as this has been a season to defy statistics, Alpha and Beta could be right around the corner.

Some Winter Thoughts

We are about 2 weeks away from releasing our winter forecast here at Capitalweather. October has typically been a very popular time to release winter outlooks, although many will wait until November when the first snowfall is close at hand. Two outlooks that have been released recently are Accuweather's and Keith Allen's. Accuweather, which forecasts for the whole country has forecast temperatures to be 2.5 degrees below normal in DC for the winter months, with slightly above average snow for National and Dulles Airports, 18" and 24" respectively. Senior Forecaster, Joe Bastardi, has relied heavily on the record tropical season in preparing his winter thoughts, thus drawing comparisons between upcoming winter and those winters that followed the very active tropical seasons of 1933, 1969, and 1995. Keith Allen, who released his outlook in late September, has become a local legend with his uncanny accuracy for the DC area for over 20 years. KA, as he is often referred, has called for slightly below average temperatures and well above average snow, with his primary winter analogs being 1962-63 and 1995-96. KA has called for December and January to be 1 to 2 degrees below normal with the potential for even colder. He believes February will thaw out at 3 degrees above normal with a return to cold and snow for March. He has called for 25" at DCA, almost 10" above our 30 year running average of 15.5", and has targeted mid December and late January as possible time periods for more significant winter storms. We have only reached the 25" mark 11 times at DCA in the 64 years that snow has been measured there. Each one of those seasons featured a snowstorm of at least 8.5" with 6 of the 11 seasons featuring a storm of 12" or more, thus lending credence to the idea that we need a large storm to reach large totals in DC. We can't nickel and dime our way there. Personally I would give more credence to KA's outlook than that of Accuweather's as he forecasts just for this area with a stellar track record including calling the warm, snowless winter of 2001-02, the cold, snowy winter that followed, and nailing the snow totals at DCA within 2" for the last 2 seasons. In a couple weeks you will know our thoughts here at Capitalweather. While we have not finalized anything yet, I will say that those hoping for a warm, snowless winter like 2001-02 and 1997-98 will likely be disappointed. Stay Tuned.

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