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Record Rains Subside After Overnight Final Punch

Dan Stillman @ 1:40 AM

Mother Nature delivered one last blow to some parts of the area in the form of soaking overnight showers. Today, finally, brings a return to more typical summer weather, which does include chances of showers and thunderstorms through the weekend, but not as widespread or as frequent as in recent days.

Despite the improving conditions, the waterlogged Washington area is facing a host of problems, including the continued threat of flooding, possible dam failure, street closures, water-damaged homes, government closings and unhappy tourists. And, DC Mayor Anthony Williams has declared a State of Emergency.

Pictured: Rock Creek fills its banks in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest DC, by photographer Ian Livingston.

Today's Weather

A lingering morning shower north and east of town is possible. Otherwise, the clouds that have persisted for so many days will finally give way to clearing skies and afternoon highs in the mid-to-upper 80s. Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighShowers and thunderstorms are possible during the evening and overnight hours (30% chance) as tonight's low drops to the upper 60s to around 70.

Tomorrow and Beyond

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighTomorrow, partly sunny skies early will turn partly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible during the afternoon and evening (20% chance). High temps should reach the mid 80s as the humidity finally begins to

Forecast Confidence: HighFriday, weak high pressure builds in. The result will be mostly sunny skies, drier air, and only a slight chance of an isolated late afternoon or evening shower or thunderstorm. Highs in the mid 80s.

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighThe Weekend: High pressure slides off the coast and moister air starts to flow in off the Atlantic behind it. At the same time a front will be approaching from the north, though it may not make it here until late Sunday. A preliminary forecast is for partly sunny skies and a 20 percent chance of afternoon or evening showers and storms. Temperature-wise, highs should be in the mid-to-upper 80s on Saturday, while Sunday will feature an increase in humidity and highs near 90.

Rising Rivers

Flash flood watches and warnings for the area expire this morning, but in their place is a coastal flood warning in effect until 12pm today. Believe it or not, the coastal flood threat is not a direct result of the rain, but rather a byproduct of prolonged southeast winds (associated with the storm event) pushing water up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. The National Weather Service says "minor to moderate" flooding is possible.

While winds will shift today to a southwesterly direction, the flooding threat isn't quite over. All the rain that has fallen to our west is draining downhill and into the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. Flood stage could be reached or slightly surpassed at various locations along these rivers between now and Thursday. The National Weather Service has the details.

Reports and Records

  • NWS has the latest reports for total storm rainfall here. Reagan National finishes with 13.47 inches, Dulles with 11.23".

  • According to this thread on Eastern US Weather Forums, the four-day total of 12.11 inches at Reagan National (as of 8am yesterday) beats the old four-day record at National of 8.72 inches on August 12-15, 1955.

  • Yesterday's 1.47 inches of rain at Dulles broke the old daily record of 1.26 inches set in 1968.

  • More records to come as last night's rainfall totals get calculated into the mix.

Rain Drenches D.C. Hole

Weather junkies know it as the "DC hole" -- the bare spot on radar that seems to form over Washington during some precipitation events. True or not, the perception is that DC never seems to be in the bullseye of rain or snow.

This time, however, the District and its close-in suburbs were in the thick of the action. The Doppler radar-estimated rainfall map at right, which shows estimated rainfall totals from 4:18pm Thursday through 12:44am this morning, shows that DC and vicinity was in the thick of the action. Legend is not included as the radar estimates are uniformly underdone.

Image courtesy National Weather Service.

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