Partly sunny, warm, humid. Today is the 21st consecutive rainless day since a mere 0.15" fell in the official precipitation bucket at National Airport on Sept. 14. It's not as bad as what The Weather Channel has taken to calling the "desert southeast", but the latest drought monitor map shows the Severe Drought category (dark brown) extending northward from Virginia across DC and most of Maryland, while the Extreme Drought area is pushing into southern Virginia toward the Richmond area. Fairfax City (not County) is now the latest local jurisdiction to impose water restrictions.
Temperature-wise, the retreat westward of the center of high pressure to the north of the area has shifted the wind more to the east. This has kept enough clouds around to prevent temperatures from reaching the more optimistic forecast levels. Although Dulles, Leesburg, and BWI had all reached or exceeded 80° by mid afternoon, many other locations were still in the upper 70s. National was at 80° by 4pm with scattered clouds at around 3200 ft. Dewpoints are actually a couple of degrees lower than yesterday, but still in the noticeably humid range.
U.S. Drought Monitor map released yesterday by NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC
Tonight and Tomorrow
Warm, humid. Tonight will be continued warm and humid with some low clouds and patchy fog by morning; lows will be from the upper 60s downtown to the low 60s in the 'burbs. Morning clouds tomorrow will give way to mostly sunny skies in the afternoon with highs 82-86°
For the outlook through the rest of the Columbus Day weekend, scroll on down to Camden's post below.
The latest post at The Weather Channel's Forecast Earth blog, "$1.8 BILLION FOR MARYLAND POWER LINES?", is an interesting analysis of the tradeoffs between investment in long-distance power transmission and smart grid technologies. The post is by Jigar Shah, Chief Strategy Officer of SunEdison, which is based in Beltsville. The company is "North America's largest solar energy service provider." The transmission line in question is intended to bring more coal-generated power from the Midwest into the state. According to their latest report, Pepco currently derives 54% of power from coal and only 3.8% from renewable sources, of which 0% is solar.
This week's Forecast Earth broadcast (5pm Saturday and Sunday) is focused on nuclear energy.
CNN's Rob Marciano is the latest broadcast meteorologist to jump into the political crossfire over global warming.