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Briefly Cool Before Next Warming Trend

Dan Stillman @ 1:05 AM

After a cool day in the 50s today, temperatures will rebound to the 60s tomorrow and keep right on going into the 70s for Friday. The details are as follows ...

Today and Tomorrow

Today: Windy and cool this morning with temps in the low-to-mid 40s and a sprinkle possible. The bulk of the day should be partly sunny but remaining windy and cool, with a high only in the low 50s. Tonight: Winds will diminish this evening. We'll see partly cloudy skies overnight with a low in the mid-to-upper 30s in town, low 30s in the 'burbs. Tomorrow: Sunny with a high in the low 60s. Tomorrow night: Increasing clouds and not as cold as tonight -- low in the mid-to-upper 40s.

Friday and the Weekend

Friday: A partly cloudy day as a warm front gives us a chance of a few showers and boosts our high temperatures into the mid 70s. Friday night and Saturday: We might be able to escape the evening hours with just a chance of a passing shower. But overnight and into early Saturday afternoon look for a better chance of heavier rain and possibly thunderstorms as low pressure interacts with a cold front passing through. We'll see clearing skies late Saturday with a high around 60. Sunday: A dry and sunny day as high pressure takes control. High near 60.

Blossom Tips

Though peak bloom has past, the cherry blossom blooming period, according to the National Park Service, is forecast to continue through Saturday. Also through Saturday, cyclists headed down to see the blossoms around the Tidal Basin can valet their bikes for free.

After checking out the blossoms downtown, cyclists may want to head over to Georgetown and hop on the Capital Crescent Trail. That'll take you north of the city right by the Kenwood neighborhood of Bethesda, home to more than 1,200 cherry blossom trees. Cars are welcome to drive through the area as well. I caught a glimpse of these suburban blossoms on Sunday and I would say they are just as nice as the ones downtown. Bike Washington has a guide for biking to the blossoms. A recent Washington Post article highlights lesser-known blossom areas around town.

Pictured: Cherry Blossoms as seen Sunday in the Kenwood neighborhood of Bethesda, by Debra Stillman.

Parched Plants

Expected Change in Soil Moisture During the Next WeekPictured: Expected change in soil moisture during the next week, as predicted by NCEP.

Monday's thunderstorms were a welcome treat for anxious gardeners. But, despite the half-inch or more of rain that fell in some locations, precipitation is still running more than 3 inches below normal since March 1. That means the ground is quite dry. And according to the adjacent soil moisture forecast map from NCEP, only little improvement -- an increase of between 0 and 2 centimeters of liquid water in the top 2 meters of soil -- is expected over the next week.

What can you do to keep the grass and plants from becoming completely parched? Experts say the best time to water is as early in the morning as possible, when winds are typically light and the sun is just beginning to rise. As the day goes on, the wind tends to increase and the sun gets stronger, which results in more evaporation of water rather than it soaking into the soil.

Can't water in the morning? Then afternoon watering is better than nothing. The big no-no is watering in the evening -- with no sunlight overnight, plants and grass stay wet for too many hours, thus becoming susceptible to disease. More watering tips here.

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