Friday, April 14, 2006

Drought Eggstended Another Day

Today's weather is a good lesson in insolation. No, not the stuff you put in your attic. Thanks to the inclination of the Earth's axis, the incoming solar radiation today, 24 days after the Equinox, is roughly the same as it was on August 28. (So don't forget the sunscreen, boys and girls!) With the persistent cloud cover over the region, however, temperatures have been slow to climb, even with a brisk southwesterly wind gusting over 20 mph. On the other hand, by mid afternoon, breaks in the clouds were allowing temperatures to reach the mid 70s.

Sprinkles associated with the clouds were mighty few and far between. Among the major local airports, BWI was the winner of the rainfall derby by far, with 0.01" eclipsing the trace at Dulles and zero at National. At mid afternoon, radar showed a band of showers from southeastern Pennsylvania to just north of Baltimore and another area southwestward from Charlottesville. Although some more showers could pop up through this evening, mainly dry conditions will prevail in the metro area.

To the west, temperatures soared under high pressure through the central part of the country. The Weather Channel reported that over 40 temperature records were set in the Midwest yesterday.

Surface weather map and satellite picture at 2pm today from HPC/NCEP/NWS

Tonight and Tomorrow

Temperatures tonight will have a hard time getting below 60 in the city under broken clouds while the 'burbs should see temps in the mid to upper 50s. Tomorrow, fewer clouds in the afternoon should have June-like conditions busting out all over with highs around 80, although there is a chance of showers, at least in the morning and possibly again late in the afternoon.

Smithsonian Plays it Cool

Two new exhibits on climate change open at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum today. They were previewed by Joel Achenbach ("Hot Air and Glacial Change: A Case Study") with his inimitable style in the WaPo on Wednesday. (CAUTION: Achenbach's columns contain over 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of irony; they have been known to generate severe knee-jerk reactions.) Achenbach concludes, "It's all rather low-key." It's so low-key that the exhibits didn't even appear on the museum web site until the last day or two. The exhibits are: "Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely" and "Change is in the Air". They are both scheduled to run through November.

Picture of the atmosphere from space by NASA, via Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

It Ain't Over Til Momma Nature Says it's Over

Just when you thought the hurricane season of 2005 had gone into the history books with a record 27 storms, the National Hurricane Center has announced that reanalysis shows a low near the Azores on October 4-5 was an unnamed subtropical storm, making a total of 28 storms for the season. There are 48 days until the official start of this year's hurricane season.

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