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D.C. Weather Depends on Ernesto

Dan Stillman @ 12:04 AM

As Tropical Storm Ernesto makes its way northward across Florida today, the Washington area and the rest of the East Coast await its exact track. With a little luck, Ernesto could bring some much needed rainfall to the region by Friday. But, just like we saw earlier this summer, too much of a good thing can mean a sudden shift from drought to flooding. And what will Ernesto have to say about those holiday weekend plans? The forecast details follow.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighCooler and not as humid, chance of PM storm. Mostly cloudy skies, with only a few peeks of sunshine here and there, will limit high temps to near 80. Humidity will be in the moderate range, but will feel significantly better than yesterday's steamy soup. Showers and thunderstorms (due to a frontal boundary, not Ernesto) are a possibility during the afternoon and evening. I'd put the chances at 25%. Tonight, mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of rain and lows in the mid-to-upper 60s.


Forecast Confidence: MediumCloudy and cooler ... increased rain chances. Cloudy skies are a good bet with the frontal boundary still hanging around, and rain chances increase to 40%. Rain is possible through the day, not just in the afternoon or evening. With the lack of sunshine, highs will struggle into the upper 70s. Overnight, mostly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms possible (40% chance) as the wind starts to pick up in advance of Ernesto. Lows in the mid-to-upper 60s.


Forecast Confidence: Low-MediumErnesto's rain and wind moves through. Depending on Ernesto's track, Friday could be a day of heavy rains and persistent winds -- possibly sustained at 20-30 mph -- and a high only near 70. The current track brings the center of Ernesto's circulation to about 250 miles southwest of DC by Friday afternoon. Even if the track were to deviate slightly, we'd still probably be in line for a good deal of rain and wind. Whether we're talking 1-3 inches of rain, or something on the order of 4 inches or more, it's hard to say as of now. Overnight, rain is likely to continue, but could diminish along with the wind toward morning.

Holiday Weekend

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighSalvageable. How quickly Ernesto moves north and away from us is still a bit uncertain. But I do think there's a decent chance that after a cloudy start to Saturday, we could see clearing skies by Saturday afternoon and partly sunny skies through Monday, with highs in the low 80s, overnight lows in the mid 60s, and only minimal chances (20% or less) of afternoon or evening showers and thunderstorms for the majority of the long weekend. Overnight lows should bottom out in the mid 60s.

Ernesto Makes Weak First Impression, Could Get Second Chance

Ernesto trackErnesto made landfall yesterday night about 60 miles southwest of Miami. The storm brought heavy rains to South Florida, but sustained winds were only about 45 mph and caused little damage.

The storm is expected to track north and then slightly northeast today, with the circulation center emerging off of Florida's eastern coast and back into the Atlantic Ocean this evening. After weakening over land today, Ernesto could strengthen somewhat, with maximum sustained winds possibly reaching 60 mph, before making a second U.S. landfall along the North Carolina-South Carolina coast.

Pictured: Ernesto's predicted track, as forecast by the National Hurricane Center. 'S' indicates tropical storm; 'D' indicates tropical depression.

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