Thursday, September 7, 2006

Summer Continues Going Out Like a Lamb


Excellent. Temperatures in the Washington metro area were mainly in the low 80s at mid afternoon, although a few spots were only in the upper 70s. Dewpoints are quite pleasant, and the radar is dry for hundreds of miles in all directions.

Tonight and Tomorrow

More of same. Lows tonight under mostly clear skies will be near 65° downtown to some upper 50s in the cooler 'burbs. Tomorrow will be sunny with highs much like today's, in the low 80s.

Scroll down to Josh's post below for the outlook through the weekend and beyond with Larson's Long-Range.

Tropical Topics

Florence's expected strengthening has been delayed; maximum winds were still 50 mph through the 5pm advisory. The storm's large breadth, however, means that tropical storm force winds extend as much as 400 miles from the center. The forecast track continues to show it moving northward near, and to the west of, Bermuda. Recent forecasts have been bringing the track gradually closer to the island.

Climate Clues

A new study published in today's issue of the journal Nature offers more insight into the feedbacks associated with global warming, and the news is not good for advocates of complacency. The article, "Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming", describes the results from a new, more accurate, method of measuring the release of methane from thawing permafrost. The data show that the rate of methane emission may be 5 times as large as previously estimated. This is especially significant for the greenhouse gas budget of the atmosphere because tremendous quantities (tens of billions of tons) of methane have been stored in permafrost for tens of thousands of years, and methane is 23 times as effective in trapping heat as CO2. The original article requires a subscription, but Nature has published an online news article discussing the results. Other news articles are available from: (Both the Paper of Watergate and All the News That Fits We Print seem to have been content to join the Benton Crier in reprinting the Associated Press story online.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Fine Late Summer Weather


Improving. This morning's gloomy haze and mist have yielded to mainly sunny skies and temperatures in the pleasant mid 70s with only marginally muggy dewpoints in the low 60s. Radar at mid afternoon showed some very isolated showers from near Charlottesville to the Annapolis vicinity.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Very fine. Lows tonight under partly cloudy skies will be in the low 60s downtown to the mid and upper 50s in the 'burbs. Tomorrow will be sunny and pleasant with seasonable highs in the low 80s.

Tropical Topics

Florence was looking more organized today, and the storm's strength increased to maximum winds of 50 mph this morning. It is still expected to become a hurricane, possibly by tomorrow, but the forecast track turns it northward near longitude 67W (southwest of Bermuda) this weekend.

Mediarology's Andrew Freedman reports that The Weather Channel is starting a broadband climate channel called One°. You can display a preview with Dr. Heidi Cullen at their web site. The online channel is part of TWC's new "initiative to disseminate information on climate change and global warming", as described by Broadcasting & Cable's web site.

As part of this initiative, a new program called "The Climate Code" hosted by Dr. Cullen will begin broadcasting October 1. It will air at 5pm ET on Sundays.
In addition to weekly interviews with other scientists, policy makers, and opinion leaders, The Climate Code will feature segments highlighting different aspects of the world's climate. The features will examine what people can do to help the environment; debunk some of the popular myths around the climate; look at how scientific understanding has changed in recent decades; and explore technological advances that can benefit everyone.
Cullen's recent presentation to the National Association of Black Journalists in Indianapolis was reviewed by Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson.

Photo of Heidi Cullen from

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bad Hair Day

5:20 Update: Some bright sun is now breaking through here north of the Beltway in MoCo.


Cloudy, damp. The heavy rains of this morning have been replaced this afternoon by a drizzle, heavy at times, which is hard to pick up on radar but is very noticeable on your glasses if you go out walking in it. National picked up a very respectable 1.73" of rain by 11am, and Dulles had 1.34". This means that in the last 5 days the total precipitation has already exceeded the average amount for September by over 0.6". Temperatures in the mid 60s and dewpoints to match have put the relative humidity near 100%, and fog has been very prominent in the Live Shot to the right. Here at Afternoon Blog Central in MoCo, however, the sky has been brightening quite a bit in the last hour or so.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Gradual dryout. Drizzle and possibly a shower or two should taper off overnight. Lows will be near where they are now in many places, mainly in the low 60s. Tomorrow will see gradually decreasing clouds and highs in the upper 70s.

Tropical Topics

TD 6 was named Florence as of 11am this morning. It was a minimal tropical storm with top winds of 40 mph; winds have increased to 45 mph as of the 5pm advisory. Florence is notable at this point for being rather large in area. This means that it will be slow to develop, but with favorable conditions, it could develop into a major hurricane, as some models are now suggesting. The expected track puts it well east of the Bahamas as a hurricane this weekend.

Photo of TD 6 around 7am this morning from NOAA GOES satellite, via NASA GSFC in Greenbelt.

"I Want My TWC"

If you couldn't find The Weather Channel at the usual channel 30 spot on Comcast Montgomery analog cable this morning, it's been moved to channel 98. The move is part of a large game of musical chairs to make room for MASN coverage of the Nats, along with the extra $2 a month being added to your bill as a result. Comcast's own CN8 news/entertainment channel is replacing News Channel 8. Among the other moves: banishing HBO from channel 38 to digital only. Comparable changes are also being made in the digital channel lineup and on other Comcast systems.

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.