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Area Awash in Colors

Dan Stillman @ 12:25 AM

What's green, gold, pink and white all over? The Washington metro area in the midst of Mason Mania and blooming cherry blossoms, the latter due to peak on Thursday. But will we be adding sky blue to the mix? ...

Pictured: Cherry blossoms burst around the Tidal Basin yesterday evening, by photographer Kevin Ambrose.

Today and Tonight

Today: Partly cloudy to start the day with wake-up temps in the mid 40s. As high pressure builds in we should see clearing skies as the day goes on. Look for an afternoon high in the low 60s, possibly mid 60s with enough sunshine. Tonight: Turning mostly clear this evening with temps holding in the low-to-mid 50s through dinnertime, before dropping toward an overnight low in the low 40s in town, mid-to-upper 30s in the 'burbs.

Tomorrow and Friday

Tomorrow: A nice day on tap despite a chilly start in the 'burbs (wake-up temps will be in the upper 30s but will rise quickly). Expect mostly sunny skies and high temps in the upper 60s to around 70. Friday: Southerly flow ahead of an approaching frontal system will warm us into the 70s -- I think mid 70s are a good possibility. It will be breezy at times, especially in the afternoon. Clouds will likely be on the increase toward evening as the front approaches.

Friday Night and the Weekend

We stand a decent chance of scattered showers from Friday evening through mid-morning Saturday as the front takes its time passing through. Not sure at this point whether a drought-busting downpour is in the cards. Cloud cover will keep temps from dropping much below the low-to-mid 50s Friday night.

Saturday's high temp depends on whether we can kick the clouds out of here by afternoon. I'll stay conservative for now and go with upper 60s. Same for Sunday -- upper 60s -- under mostly sunny skies.

My Garden is Thirsty

Great. The blossoms are blooming, but what about my garden? I imagine a lot of you green thumbs out there are asking this exact question, hoping and praying that a substantial rain is on its way.

Yesterday's 0.01" of rain at Reagan National brings the March total to 0.05", a far cry from the monthly average of 3.6". Things aren't much better at Dulles, where yesterday's 0.03" bumped the March total up to .07", well short of the monthly average of 3.55". For the year, National and Dulles are running more than 3" and 4" below normal, respectively.

Adrian Higgins, garden editor for the Washington Post's Home section, had this (not-so-surprising) advice in an online discussion yesterday:
We seem to be in the midst of a terrible drought that has crept up on us. As soon as the plants leaf out, any remaining moisture is going to be sucked out of the soil. We need to be watering big time until the weather breaks.
Next chance of rain comes early this weekend (see forecast above). Unfortunately the storm tracks right now are not in our favor for bringing significant amounts of rainfall to the area.

Giving Kocin His Props

I haven't had a chance, until now, to comment on the Weather Channel's firing of winter weather expert Paul Kocin, or as he put it on a weather junky forum -- the elimination of his position. Steve first brought our attention to this a couple of weeks ago.

Kocin was the main reason I would tune into TWC during winter storms. I've always had a ton of respect for his forecasting skills and experience, and enjoyed his delivery as well. I'm surprised there hasn't been more reporting and commenting on this in the mainstream media or even in the blogosphere.

Although he doesn't know it, Kocin and my wife and I spent some quality time together two winters ago. You see, my wife and I had to pull off I-95 on our way up to NYC in the midst of a heavy snowstorm. We landed at an Applebee's in Newark, Del., where we watched TWC as we waited out the storm for about three hours. Kocin's reporting helped us determine that the storm would pass quickly enough that we could make it back to D.C. that evening. (No need to comment on the irony of a meteorologist being stuck in a snowstorm -- I'm aware, thank you.)

I hope we'll see Kocin surface somewhere else soon. Until then, winter storms won't be the same without him.

Pictured: Paul Kocin, courtesy the Weather Channel.

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