Friday, September 15, 2006

Big Mr. Cloudiness


Improving. Big Mr. Cloudiness has obscured Little Miss Sunshine through much of the day in the Washington metro area, holding temperatures below the more optimistic readings promoted in this space yesterday. Nevertheless, the low 70s at lunch time were much more pleasant than yesterday's damp 60s, and many places reached the mid 70s by early afternoon. By late afternoon, some scattered showers were breaking out, especially north of the Beltway. More widespread showers were in the Baltimore area.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Better yet. Clouds will be slow to decrease overnight with lows in the lower 60s and a slight chance of showers. Tomorrow will see more sun than clouds, particularly in the afternoon, with highs from 75° to 77°.
For the CW outlook by CW through the rest of the weekend, scroll on down to Camden's post below.

Tropical Topics

Gordon was still a Category 2 hurricane this morning, but it continues to weaken. It was downgraded to Category 1 at 5pm as it moved slowly northeastward away from any land, becoming nearly stationary in the latest advisory.

Helene strengthened earlier today to maximum winds of 60 mph and reached 70 mph in the 5pm advisory, but it, too, is on a Track to Nowhere.

Of much more concern to land, however, is Tormenta Tropical Lane in the Eastern Pacific. Watches and warnings have been posted for Hurricane Lane to impact lower Baja California and the western Mexican coast by this weekend. Based on reconnaissance reports this afternoon, Lane was upgraded to a hurricane with maximum winds of 80 mph and further strengthening expected.

Meet a Climate Expert

Climate researcher Dr. Barrie Pittock will be speaking next Tuesday, the 19th, at 6pm at the Busboys and Poets bookstore. Dr. Pittock is the author of the recent book, Climate Change: Turning Up the Heat. The book describes the historical and scientific basis for climate change and projections for the future. It also analyzes the national and international politics of greenhouse gas restrictions. These political issues are examined within the context of technological prospects for adaptation to, and mitigation of, the effects of climate change. The first chapter of the book is available online.

The author, a native of Australia, was a senior atmospheric scientist for over 30 years at the Australian research organization CSIRO, where he led the Climate Impact Group until he retired in 1999. He is the author of over 200 scientific papers and is currently on the editorial board for the journal Climatic Change. While he is in Washington, Dr. Pittock will be presenting a talk, "Ten Reasons Why Climate Change May Be More Severe than Projected" at the Washington Summit on Climate Stabilization organized by the Climate Institute.

Busboys and Poets is located at 2021 14th St., NW.

Stay tuned next week for's exclusive online Q&A with Barrie Pittock.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Little Mist; Sunshine?


Some drizzle, cool. After about 2/3" of rain this morning in the Washington metro area, skies are overcast this afternoon with some persistent patches of drizzle and light rain. Nearby to the west, however, some sunshine has appeared; the robo-observer at Manassas is claiming partly sunny conditions and Winchester is up to 73° with mostly sunny skies. Here in MoCo north of the Beltway and west of I-270, the sky is distinctly brighter to the northwest, and pavements are mostly dry. Just to the east of the Beltway, however, a more widespread area of rain and showers is moving northeastward, where it can threaten at least some delays in the O's Zone as the Birdies take on the Crimson Hose.

Pictured: Surface pressure (solid lines) and 500 mb height (color shading) map this morning from Unisys shows an upper-level trough (yellow) approaching the East Coast, while Gordon moves around a large ridge in the central Atlantic, and Helene follows in the wings. The remnant of Florence is the intense low to the east of Newfoundland.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Gradually improving. With an upper-level trough approaching gradually from the west, conditions will be slow to improve, but we should see a decent amount of sun, at least by late afternoon, tomorrow. Lows tonight will be near 58° in the coolest spots to around 62° in the city. Highs tomorrow should be in the upper 70s, or about 80° if we get enough sun.

For the weekend outlook and Larson's Long-Range, scroll on down to Josh's post below.

Tropical Topics

Gordon has become the first major (category 3) hurricane of this season, with maximum winds of 120 mph. It has a very impressive looking eye on satellite images. The track continues northeastward away from any land, except perhaps for an approach to the northwest of the Canary Islands as a tropical storm early next week.

TD 8 became Helene last night and continues to strengthen slowly, with maximum winds of 45 mph. Images of the storm show a lot of "raw material." If it gets organized, it could be a very large storm by area. It's now moving westward, but there is wide disagreement (about 450 miles worth) among the models on the future track. The official track is based on a consensus of the models and takes it northwesterly southeast of Bermuda in 5 days.

Climate Corner: DC Event

World-recognized Australian climate expert Dr. Barrie Pittock will be speaking at Busboys and Poets bookstore in DC next Tuesday evening. Stay tuned to for more details and an exclusive Q&A with Dr. Pittock.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sixes Wild, Rain on the Way
Return of the Nino?


Cloudy, cool. No less than 6 out of the 10 local NWS Regional Roundup stations were reporting temperatures of 66° at mid afternoon today; the other 4 were a few degrees higher. After some very light rain (trace at National, 0.02" at Dulles) early this morning, skies are overcast throughout the area with rain on regional radar mainly south of Richmond.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Rain, cool. The chance of rain will increase from about 40% through midnight to near 100% by tomorrow morning. Rain or showers are likely to continue through early afternoon. Lows tonight will be in the low 60s, highs tomorrow in the low 70s.

For the outlook through Friday and the weekend, scroll on down to Dan's post below.

Tropical Topics

Storm Eight remains tropically depressed, with top winds of 35 mph as of 5pm, continuing to move away from the Cape Verde Islands. It is still expected to become a hurricane as it turns more northwestward this weekend.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for much of coastal eastern and southern Newfoundland from Post-Tropical Storm (Tempete Post-Tropicale) Florence. The major impact was being felt on the southern coast this afternoon. Some power outages were reported in St. John's as the storm moved eastward, brushing by Cape Race.

Photo of wind and rain in St. John's NL today from CBC

El Nino Returns?

NOAA issued an unscheduled El Nino advisory today, announcing that increasing Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 2 weeks have led to a weak El Nino condition. This event is expected to continue into 2007, and it has the potential to become moderate this winter. Expected El Nino effects this winter
include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Little Sunshine Miss


Partly Sunny. The decreasing clouds promised by yesterday's PM Update missed the schedule by about 6 hours, but some sun has broken through the overcast in most of the Washington metro area this afternoon. Despite the sun and a more southerly wind component, temperatures are near where they were yesterday at this time, mainly in the upper 60s. The nearest rain is in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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

Tonight and Tomorrow

Increasing clouds, cool. Clouds will increase again tonight as a low pressure area now in the lower Great Lakes approaches from the west with vigorous upper-air support. This will increase the chances of rain during the day tomorrow to 50% by late afternoon. Lows tonight will be near 60 downtown to the mid and upper 50s in the 'burbs; highs tomorrow will be near 69°.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and the weekend, scroll on down to Jason's post below.

Tropical Topics

The newest player on the 2006 tropical scene is Tropical Depression 8. It formed this morning from a tropical wave which moved off the coast of Africa yesterday. Maximum winds of 30 mph increased to 35 mph as of 5pm.

Hurricane Florence is accelerating to the northeast as it becomes extratropical, or as they say in the Great North, "post-tropical". The last tropical advisory was issued at 5pm. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the eastern peninsulas and southern coast of Newfoundland. Although thousands remained without power this morning, Bermuda was returning to normal today, with minimal damage and no reports of injuries from the storm.

Tropical Storm Gordon continues to move north-northwest in the central Atlantic with maximum winds of 65 mph as of 5pm. It is expected to be no threat to land as it remains east of longitude 60W. (Bermuda is near 65W.)


The excellent PBS NOVA program on Katrina, "The Storm That Drowned a City", is being rebroadcast tonight on WETA, channel 26, at 8pm.

The dcrtv blog reports that weather will be broadcast along with community announcements and emergency information on the new radio station owned by the City of Fairfax on 1650 AM.

Monday, September 11, 2006

DC Damp, Cool
Florence's Fury Bashes Bermuda


Damp. The light rain and drizzle brought only a trace of accumulation to National and 0.02" to Dulles this morning. The low overcast and east winds have kept the temperature from getting beyond the upper 60s this afternoon, however.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Decreasing clouds, cool. Clouds will decrease by morning with lows in the mid to upper 50s. Tomorrow will feature a mix of sun and clouds with highs in the low 70s.

For the outlook through the rest of the week and the weekend, scroll on down to Jason's post below.

Tropical Topics

Hurricane Florence moved northward a little to the west of Bermuda this morning with maximum winds of 90 mph. The Bermuda airport reported sustained winds near hurricane force and gusts to 90 mph. Electric power was out for at least 23,000 customers. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but Jim Cantore was shown being dropped to his knees on The Weather Channel by heavy wind gusts this morning. The storm is expected to turn more eastward in the next couple of days, passing just southeast of Newfoundland. The storm's large size means that dangerous surf conditions will affect much of the East Coast, especially the Outer Banks.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 7 formed northeast of the Leeward Islands. It had maximum winds near tropical storm force at 35 mph this morning. Based on Air Force reconnaissance this afternoon, the storm was just upgraded to Tropical Storm Gordon with peak winds of 45 mph. It is predicted to turn northward and pass east of Bermuda by this weekend.


Did you ever wonder what shoes the weathercaster wears? Check out the discussion on the MediaLine message board.

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

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