5:30 Update: The line of intense storms has now built southward across western Maryland and the West Virginia panhandle. Some potentially severe storms could reach the area, especially the northern suburbs, in the next couple of hours. Stay tuned to the comments section for further updates.
Showers associated with a warm front extending southeastward from a low pressure area over the Great Lakes briefly passed through the Washington DC metro area last night and this morning. However, rainfall was extremely light, just 0.01" in each of the two precipitation episodes. It was only enough to moisten the pavement and raise the dewpoint from bone-dry to more normal levels. Although radar echoes were more impressive to the southeast, reported amounts were still very light, with Norfolk, for example, receiving only 0.10".
Surface weather map at 1pm today from IntelliWeather. Click on the image to animate.
Another line of showers ahead of the cold front moving through the Ohio Valley was in the mountains of West Virginia at mid afternoon. A narrow portion of the line east of Pittsburgh around 4pm was potentially severe, but south of the Mason-Dixon line, it was looking somewhat ragged. With some fuel from the abundant sunshine in the area, that may be enough to set off some much needed showers and thunderstorms this evening. Temperatures were at or above 70 in most locations by 4pm.
Tonight and TomorrowThere is a 50% chance of showers and possibly thundershowers late this afternoon or this evening. Lows tonight will be in the low to mid 40s. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny, windy, and much cooler with highs only in the mid 50s.
Art and ScienceWeather forecasting is often as much of an art as a science, and the current (March) issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society features a painting based on an infrared image of hurricane Katrina. The art is the work of Susan Voss, a PhD entomologist at Emory University and the mother of AccuWeather and CNBC meteorologist Katrina Voss. Several of her works are available for purchase at modest prices on eBay, and 20% of the proceeds are donated to animal disaster victims.
Painting "0245Z-050829" (11" x 14" acrylic on canvas) by Susan Voss