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Steamy Stretch Continues, But End is in Sight

Dan Stillman @ 10:30 AM

We'll continue to sweat the hot air and thick humidity, along with chances of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms, until a cold front comes through early Friday. Behind the front, a potentially pleasant weekend awaits.


Forecast Confidence: HighHot, very humid ... possible PM storms. Under a hazy mix of sun and clouds, high temperatures of 90-95, combined with dewpoints near or slightly above 70, will produce heat indices in the upper 90s to near 100. The afternoon and evening may bring an increase in clouds and a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Tonight, partly cloudy and muggy with a continued chance of showers and storms through midnight, lows in the low-to-mid 70s.


Forecast Confidence: HighOne more day of hot and humid ... increased chance of late-day storms. The weather story will be much the same -- hazy, hot and very humid with highs 90-95 and heat indices approaching 100. As a cold front edges closer from the northwest, we may see an increased chance (60%) of afternoon and especially evening showers and thunderstorms; some could be severe (damaging winds are the main threat according to the Storm Prediction Center). Overnight, partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and storms, lows in the low-to-mid 70s.

Pictured: A thunderstorm over Oakton, Va., on Monday. By photographer Kevin Ambrose.


Forecast Confidence: MediumUnsettled AM ... cooler. The morning into early afternoon has the potential to be a cloudy, showery and possibly stormy period as the cold front pushes through from the northwest to southeast. Skies should begin to clear during the afternoon, but not without the chance of a lingering shower or thunderstorm, as the humidity finally starts to come down. Temperatures will be cooler behind the front -- highs in the low-to-mid 80s. Overnight, clearing skies and decreasing humidity with lows in the low-to-mid 60s downtown, upper 50s to near 60 in the burbs.

The Weekend

Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighWorth the wait. We still seem to be on track for the "comfortably warm, low humidity" weekend that Jason called for in his Monday post. Saturday looks to be partly to mostly sunny, and Sunday mostly sunny, with highs both days in the low-to-mid 80s. Saturday night, mostly clear with lows in the low 60s downtown, upper 50s in the burbs.

And You Are? ...

A column by Emily Yoffe in Monday's Washington Post says that Al Gore's campaign to educate the public about global warming -- using tools such as "An Inconvenient Truth," the upcoming Live Earth concerts and a children's TV show now in development -- is about "fright and absolutes." She goes on to say that "just because something can be plotted on an X and Y axis does not make it the whole truth," but offers no explanation as to what quantitative relationship she might be referring to.

Rather than making a logical and effective argument about the issue of climate change, the column instead begs the question: Who the heck is Emily Yoffe?

Her prose and biographical information indicate that she is a talented and accomplished writer whose articles on a variety of topics have appeared in Slate, the New York Times and other well respected publications. But there is no indication that she possesses the educational or professional background that would give her the authority to speak to the science of global warming.

"It's supposed to be a sign I'm in denial because I refuse to trust a weather prediction for August 2080, when no one can offer me one for August 2008 (or 2007 for that matter)," writes Yoffe, as she adheres to the fatally flawed, yet commonly heard, argument that predictions for several decades from now must be faulty if forecasters can't even get the weather right for this coming weekend. The reality is that no reputable scientist would ever claim to be able to accurately predict the weather 73 years ahead of time, or even 73 days.

Models used to estimate global warming and its impacts over a period of many years and decades are programmed to simulate changes in Earth's climate -- the long-term average of weather conditions across a geographic region or sometimes the entire planet -- not day-to-day weather. Changes in climate, on the order of a couple to several degrees over the course of a century, are slow and gradual as compared to the often erratic changes we see in the weather on a daily and weekly basis. Thus, there is legitimate reason to believe that climate models, which employ different methods than weather models, have the potential to make skilled predictions of long-term trends. In fact, Yoffe's reference to a "weather prediction for August 2080," rather than a "climate prediction," is a sign of her lack of scientific knowledge about the subject.

Although Yoffe admits that "all this is not to say that it's not getting warmer and that curbing our profligate environmental ways is not a commendable and necessary goal," she implores that "there must be a limit to how many calamitous films, books and television shows we, and our children, can absorb."

I would suggest the limit is however many are necessary to counter uninformed opinions such as hers.

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