The summery weather continues this afternoon in the Washington DC metro area. It was 89 for 4 consecutive hourly reports yesterday at National, but somewhere in between the high was 90 for the third time this month. Temperatures are again in the upper 80s this afternoon and dewpoints are in the soggy range, mainly the upper 60s. Winchester, which had a moderate thunderstorm at 3:00, saw the temperature drop to 70. This was part of a line of showers and thunderstorms which formed just west of I-81. The line is moving eastward and should reach the metro area within the next couple of hours if it continues to hold together. Around 4:30, the leading edge of showers had reached central Frederick County, MD and Loudoun County, VA.
Tonight and Tomorrow
Warm and humid conditions will continue tonight with a 70% chance of showers or thunderstorms through this evening. The air behind the cold front approaching from the west will be slow to work its way into the area, so tomorrow's highs will be in the middle 80s under partly cloudy skies.
Tropical Beat: Ophelia Fades
Tropical Storm Ophelia continues to move north-northeast at 8 mph away from the Outer Banks. It has weakened to 60 mph. The current forecast track takes it close to southeastern New England, with landfall somewhere along the coast of Nova Scotia. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from Watch Hill, RI to Plymouth, MA, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. A tropical storm watch is in effect for southwestern Nova Scotia.
There are two areas in the Atlantic being watched for development: A tropical wave is located about 550 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands, and there is an area of showers and thunderstorms extending east-northeastward from near the Dominican Republic.
While FEMA Slept
NPR's Morning Edition today posted links to the National Situation Updates sent to management by FEMA professionals as early as the Friday night before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on Monday. By Saturday morning, the update emphasized the fact that Katrina had strengthened to Category 3 and was threatening the northern Gulf Coast, but this was apparently not taken seriously. Perhaps they should have used a catchier title, like "Bin Laden determined to strike in US".
Happy New Year!
4 weeks ago