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Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot
Hot and gradually more humid through the weekend

Dan Stillman @ 8:50 AM

It's the first day of August, and the forecast is a familiar one for this time of year: Hot, hot, and more hot. The chances of getting any relief from showers or thunderstorms are slim to none through the weekend, with the exception of late Friday when an isolated shower or storm is possible. The lack of rain in the forecast is good news for those planning BBQs and days at the pool, but not so good for crops and gardens.

Today and Tomorrow

Forecast Confidence: Very HighMostly sunny, hot, gradually increasing humidity. Lots of sunshine will help boost high temperatures to the mid 90s, with low humidity today and moderate humidity tomorrow. Overnight lows are expected in the low-to-mid 70s in town, mid-to-upper 60s in the suburbs, under mostly clear skies.


Forecast Confidence: HighMostly to partly sunny, hot, humid, late-day storm? Humidity looks to increase a touch, which combined with highs in the mid 90s could put heat indices into the upper 90s to near 100. A cold front passing to the north could increase clouds in the afternoon, and the chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm in the late afternoon or evening can't be ruled out. Overnight, warm and humid with partly cloudy skies and lows in the low-to-mid 70s.

Pictured: A prediction of what radar will look like at 8 p.m. on Friday, from the NAM model. The model is likely overdoing the precipitation in our area, which will be on the southern tip of a passing cold front, but it's enough to include the chance of an isolated shower or storm in the forecast. Courtesy NCEP.

The Weekend

Forecast Confidence: HighScorcher. Neither the heat nor the humidity will budge. Both Saturday and Sunday are shaping up to be partly to mostly sunny, very hot and quite humid, with highs in the mid 90s and heat indices in the upper 90s to near 100. It's too early to completely rule out an isolated afternoon/evening shower or thunderstorm, but chances are looking slim. Saturday night should be partly to mostly clear, warm and humid with lows in the low-to-mid 70s.

Faulty Forecasts?

Some commenters have complained recently about rain forecasts not coming to fruition, presumably referring to a string of days last week -- Monday through Friday -- that held the potential for rain, but in the end only Friday featured widespread shower activity.

For example, one comment read, "I am also getting a little tired of certain tv weather persons who promise 'a better chance of rain tomorrow...just watch' and then nothing happens." Another poster added, "In my opinion, this is a serious matter and something that should be looked into. There seems to be no meteorological reason why so many of these showers dissipate like they do .... Why these rain forecasts are not more accurate than they are is something that [the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Baltimore/Washington] needs to seriously look into ... this is becoming an embarassment for both them and local TV forecasters."

After reading the complaints, I took a look back at's forecasts starting last Monday. What I found was that the chance of rain predicted for each day was below 40 percent for the immediate metro area, except for 40-50 percent for Friday, which indeed produced a good amount of shower activity. To my recollection, National Weather Service probabilities were along the same lines, though I can't speak for what the various local TV stations were saying. As site manager and chief meteorologist Jason Samenow pointed out in a response to the comments, "these probabilities suggest it probably won't rain where you happen to be."

So, are complaints like those cited above isolated cases? Or is the weather forecasting community not doing a good enough job communicating probabilities and uncertainty in general? Feel free to weigh in using the comments link below.

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