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The week ahead: From muggy to marvelous?
Ernesto nears Cuba, potential effects on DC unclear

Jason Samenow @ 6:00 AM

We start the new week as we ended the last one -- very warm and humid with the continuing risk of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. By midweek, the airmass should change to a much more pleasant one -- although Ernesto may have something to say about that...


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighHumid, 30% chance of PM storms. The pesky frontal boundary -- separating the drier air to the north from the muggy airmass over us -- will remain to our north, keeping us in the soup. Like yesterday, expect mostly cloudy skies, with a 30% chance of thunderstorms, particulary in the evening, and particularly to the west. High temperatures will be in the upper 80s. Overnight, we'll have perhaps our best chance of rain (50%) in a while as a frontal wave moves by, with lows near 70.

Week at a Glance

Hottest Day: Today (High of 89)
Coolest Day: Friday (High of 79)
Dry Days: Wednesday though Sunday
Rain Chances: Today (30%) and Tomorrow (40%)
The Week's Wild Card: Does Ernesto bring any rain to our area Wednesday through Friday?
Climatological Average High/Low: 84-83/67-65

Pictured: Tropical Storm Ernesto nears eastern Cuba. Infrared satellite image courtesy NASA.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighWarm, humid, shower or storm? The front to our north will finally push to our south but ahead of it we'll have mostly cloudy skies, and a chance of showers and storms in the afternoon (30%). High temperatures should be 85-90. Overnight, skies should become partly cloudy, with lows 63-68 (suburbs-city).


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighDrying out? High pressure will begin to move in from the norhwest with much drier and more pleasant air. At the same time, Ernesto is likely to be affecting Florida and parts of the southeast. Some of his moisture may begin surging northward, but should stay a bit to our south. Expect partly sunny skies with highs in the low 80s. Overnight, skies should be partly cloudy, with lows 58-64 (suburbs-city). There's a slight (20%) chance Ernesto's moisture could surge northward, producing some rain as early as Wednesday night.


Forecast Confidence: MediumBeautiful and dry, or tropical torrent? Ernesto's (or his remnants') best chance to affect us would be Thursday. However, a strong area of high pressure to our north should suppress him to our south. More likely than not, we'll have a partly sunny and very pleasant afternoon with highs near 80 (with low humidity). However, this forecast has considerable bust potential if the high pressure area is weaker than forecast and Ernesto's rain shield surges northward. Overnight, it should be mostly clear and dry, with lows 55-60 (suburbs to city) -- but this is contigent on Ernesto staying to our south and east.


Forecast Confidence: MediumProbably spectacular, but not out of the woods... Ernesto should be moving offshore to our southeast meaning we'll enjoy a terrific day, with plenty of sunshine and highs in the upper 70s. There's a remote possibility he'll (or his remnants) still be around and affecting us, but just a 10% chance or so. Friday night looks to be clear and cool, with lows 50-58 (suburbs to city)


Forecast Confidence: MediumVery nice, and comfortable. High pressure to the north should continue to be the dominant weather player and Ernesto is likely to be history. (This is one of the rare situations in which my confidence in a day 6 forecast is higher than any other day of the week). Expect partly to mostly sunny skies, and highs 80-84. Overnight, it should be clear -- excellent sleeping weather -- with lows 54-60 (suburbs to city).


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighPartly sunny, seasonable. The high to our north should finally move offshore, turning our flow more easterly. Accordingly, humidity levels should increase a bit, with highs 81-85 under partly sunny skies.

Tropical Update

After taking a bit of beating having crossed the rugged mountains of Haiti, Tropical Storm Ernesto is showing signs of life this morning as he has emerged over the very warm waters of the Caribbean. This intensification phase will be short lived as he will shortly move over Cuba. Since he will only be over land a short time, he may not weaken significantly and is likely to restrengthen -- perhaps rapidly as he approaches the Florida Keys. The National Hurricane Center indicates he could intensify to a Category 2 or 3 storm before possibly affecting Florida (50% probability), Tuesday night. Miami is now a possible landfall target, although the track guidance keeps shifting east -- so perhaps Florida will be spared and residents further up the East Coast (i.e. North Carolina) will need to be concerned (30% probability). Or, maybe he will miss the U.S. entirely (20% probability). Stay tuned.

See Washington Post story: With Ernesto Approaching, NASA Moves Shuttle Indoors

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