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Memorial Day Weekend forecast for D.C. and the Beaches

Thu, 21 May 2015 15:00:00 EST
Alex Liggitt

Today happens to be the coolest since May 1st, the fourth time this month with below average temperatures and also as we sit in the 50s is currently 30 to 35 degrees cooler than just 48 hours ago.

These chilly temperatures and pesky showers won't hang around for the weekend though. Big changes are expected by tomorrow as sunshine filters back overhead along with milder temperatures in the upper 70s.

The weekend is looking fantastic. High pressure is expected to filter overhead on Saturday and will move off the east coast Sunday. Sunny skies are expected Saturday with seasonable temperatures in the mid 70s. As the high moves east, a southerly component to the wind will help usher in warmer air once again and highs should reach the low to mid 80s Sunday and upper 80s Memorial Day Monday.

Weekend Outlook

The Beaches

Just so you have the right mindset, water temperatures across the east coast from Virginia Beach to the Delmarva are still in the 60s, so it will be chilly at times right on the beach. South of Hatteras, water temperatures are much warmer in the 70s. I can vouch for this as I swam in the Atlantic at Sullivans Island outside of Charleston, SC last weekend. Very comfortable water there!

Beach Outlook

Right now we're still expecting plenty of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday along the eastern seaboard. Temperatures will be cool in the upper 60s to near 70 degrees each day at the northern beaches, and in the low 70s from Virginia Beach to Nags Head.

Memorial Day Monday appears like it will be a good day to hang around at the beach and head home in the afternoon. Temperatures look like they will be in the mid to upper 70s under mostly sunny skies. Enjoy it if you're going!

First 90 degree day of the year possible Tuesday

Mon, 11 May 2015 13:51:00 EST
Alex Liggitt

The month of May is currently running nearly 8 degrees above average so far but some relief is in sight by the middle and end of the work week. Temperatures again topped the 80 degree mark today and may possibly reach 90 degrees Tuesday. The average high at Reagan National for this time of year is in the mid 70s. Here's a look at the first 90 degree days over the past five years in Washington D.C.

First 90F Day in D.C. over the past 5 years

You can see just last year, the first occurrence was May 13 when it reached 92F. Last year only had 24 days at or above 90 degrees, which is below the average of 36 days. While it still hasn't reached 90 degrees yet this year, this doesn't mean it will be a cooler summer. 2011 and 2012 featured the first 90 degree day late in the month of May and still experienced 50 and 53 days respectively at or above 90F.

Forecast temperatures Tuesday at 3pm per the 4km NAM Model (Courtesy: WeatherBell Models)

Tuesday our forecast is currently to reach 89 degrees, but with a frontal boundary moving through we may get some additional compressional heating with strong westerly winds helping push parts of the area over 90 degrees. If the region doesn't reach 90 degrees tomorrow, we'll have to wait at least another week or two for the next opportunity. At this point it appears the 18th and 19th might be rather warm ahead of a cold front.

Wednesday through Friday should be much more comfortable with temperatures in the 70s and dewpoints back in the 50s and 40s.

Eyes on the tropics already? (Saturday Update)

Sat, 09 May 2015 09:15:00 EST
Devon Lucie

(Update Saturday 5-9-15 9:30 PM)

Tropical Storm Ana has formed and is at its peak strength right now.   Getting the worst of it right now are the coasts of Northern South Carolina and Southern North Carolina (did I get that right :D ), or right around Wilmington, NC.

Satellite / Radar Data Saturday Night

The National Hurricane Center is only issuing a forecast through Monday at 2PM, to where it will only hold any sort of tropical characteristic up through that time.  After 2PM Monday, this storm poses little threat for anything other than ordinary thunderstorms and locally brief heavy rain.


NHC Official Forecast

 These two aspects, along with a cold front that also nears the region, confirms that Monday will be the day likeliest for storms in the Mid-Atlantic.  Our Futurecast forecast shows scattered showers and possible thunderstorms over the region by 11AM Monday.

Our Local Futurecast Forecast at 2PM Monday

(Previous Update from Tuesday)


We're still keeping a close eye on the disturbance along and east of Florida affecting the Bahamas. This system continues to have a chance for subtropical development over the next few days but as of now appears like it will have little to no affect on the D.C. area.


 This area of showers and storms is associated with a surface and upper-level trough, meaning it doesn't have any tropical characteristics at the moment, but may become subtropical over the next few days.

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring the area for later in the week, and as of Tuesday has a 40% chance for development. For the latest Special Tropical Weather Outlook, the NHC has stated,

A large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms extending
from the northwestern Caribbean Sea across Cuba, southern Florida,
and the Bahamas is associated with an upper-level trough and a weak
surface trough. An area of low pressure is expected to form in
association with this disturbance during the next day or two. The
low could gradually acquire subtropical characteristics over the
next few days while it moves generally northward at a slow forward
speed. For additional information on this system, see High Seas
Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service. The next Special
Tropical Weather Outlook will be issued on this system by 11 AM EDT
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...20 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...40 percent

Find more on the difference between a tropical, subtropical and extratropical storm here.

Atlantic 5-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (Courtesy: National Hurricane Center)

As of this morning, the majority of model guidance either keeps the system offshore along the southeast coast or drifts the low into South Carolina on Friday. All guidance as of now keeps the low well south of the D.C. area, but some tropical moisture still may filter its way into the Mid Atlantic byt early next week.

We'll continue to keep a close eye on it as these types of disturbances are notoriously difficult for a global model to accurately forecast. Be sure to stay tuned, especially if you are headed to the southeast beaches within the next week.

Daylight is dominating

Fri, 01 May 2015 12:53:00 EST
Alex Liggitt

I felt like it was only a few weeks ago when we were waking up and the sunrise was after 7am and the sunset was prior to 7pm. It has now been a solid 8 weeks since we entered daylight saving time March 8th. Sunrise that day was 7:31am and sunset was 7:08pm.

Fast forward to May 1st and the sunrise is 6:10am and sets at 8pm. That means in just 8 weeks the D.C. area has gained 2 hours and 13 minutes more daylight. March 8th featured 11 hours and 37 minutes while May 1st has 13 hours and 50 minutes.

Duration of Daylight

Through May 31st, the area will gain an additional 51 minutes to hit 14 hours and 41 minutes by the end of the month. Through June there's only another 13 minutes to gain, however, as the longest day of the year happens around the summer solstice June 21st. The longest days of the year actually extend from June 18th through the 24th.

The difference between the summer solstice and winter solstice in terms of daylight is 5 hours and 28 minutes, as by December 21st and 22nd, D.C. will be back to 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight.

Enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures this weekend!

Sunrise and Sunset times below.

Sunrise and sunset times looking ahead

Freeze Warning, Frost Advisory in effect for portions of D.C. area

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:09:10 EST

A Freeze Warning is in effect for areas well north and west of Washington. A Frost Advisory has been posted for Washingtons northern and western suburbs. The hours mostly likely for a freeze/frost to occur are between 4 am and 7 am on Saturday morning.

Clear skies, diminishing winds and colder temperatures are forecast with overnight lows dropping close to 30 degrees well north and west of Washington, the middle 30s in northern and western suburbs and closer to 40 degrees in Metro Washington.

Tree pollen count for D.C. may have been highest for the year

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:33:00 EST

Meteorologists across the D.C. area receive a daily email update with the pollen count for the preceding 24 hours. Chief Microbiologist Susan Kosisky or Health Technician Mariko Shigeto Marks from the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab in Ft. Meade always give us a thorough update on the main offenders in the air whether it is trees, weeds, grass or mold. This time of year it is typically trees and mold. The count we received this morning was the highest so far this year for trees in the very high range.

April 20 Pollen Count

From Susan Kosisky,

"Despite the rain showers, our area tree species have put together some pretty high pollen counts. With the warm temps and breezes on Saturday, our tree count climbed to 1647 grains/cubic meter. We had a slight reprieve on Sunday, however, yesterday the trees unloaded. The yellowish-green film on the cars yesterday said it all. Our count with rising temps and breezes was 2359.11 grains/cubic meter which is VERY HIGH.

Oak pollen, which is very high, is the main contributor at 1840 grains/cubic meter. Ash, sycamore, sweet gum, pine, birch and beech are also adding to the count in a big way. This might have been the highest count we will see this tree season. Mold spores, loving the rain, also climbed considerably. Ascospores abound.

Tree pollen is VERY HIGH at 2359.11 grains/cubic meter.

Grass pollen is LOW at 1.28 grains/cubic meter.

Weed pollen is LOW at 0.64 grains/cubic meter.


Mold spores are in the MODERATE range (NAB range) at 11,592.65 spores/cubic meter, which is high for local area mold spore counts."

As many of you could probably tell by the color of your car, sidewalks, roadways and just about everything else outside, the tree pollen is right around its peak. It typically peaks in the 3rd or 4th week of April, so we're almost in the clear. If you're allergy prone (like yours truly) be sure to take the necessary precautions.

Our recommendations:

- Take allergy medications

- Keep your home and car windows closed

- Shower or wash your hands and face soon after exercising outdoors

- Avoid going outside for a prolonged period of time on breezy days

- Wear sunglasses for protection from pollen getting in your eyes

Severe storms move through D.C. region with funnel clouds, lightning

Mon, 20 Apr 2015 22:05:02 EST

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Severe thunderstorms made their way through the D.C. region on Monday night producing funnel clouds along with torrential rain, lightning, hail and flooding concerns.

A tornado watch for the entire D.C. area expired as of 10 p.m. and while no tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service, there were funnel clouds and water spouts captured on camera in Prince Frederick, Md.

In Virginia, wind gusts from the storms reached 45 miles per hour in Arlington, while there were reports of pea-sized or larger hail in Annandale and Burke. In Maryland, there were reports of 1" size hail in Burtonsville and 3/4" in Fairland - both in Montgomery County.

A flash flood warning due to heavy rain was in effect until early Tuesday for Spotsylvania and Stafford counties along with the city of Fredericksburg in Virginia.

Inside D.C. and beyond, lightning lit up the sky in many neighborhoods - providing a light-show that was accompanied by thunder galore.

Tornado Watch for entire D.C. region until 10 PM

Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:24:49 EST

Our entire area is now under a Tornado Watch until 10 pm this evening.

Over the next several hours, thunderstorms will continue to develop. Some of these storms could produce large hail and damaging winds. There is also a chance that a couple of these storms could produce a tornado. A large part of the mid-Atlantic, Carolinas and Georgia are under severe weather watches.

We expect to see an increase in the number of developing thunderstorms over the next few hours. Each storm will be closely monitored for signs of reaching severe levels. Each severe storm will be monitored to see if it shows signs of rotation that could indicate possible tornadic circulation. Any storms that develop are expected to be relatively fast-movers with forward speed around 30-35 mph. This may limit some impact from the heavy rain within each storm.

Wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail, 1-2 inches in diameter, will be possible with some of the more intense thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are now developing south and southwest of Washington, D.C.

Heavy rain overnight, severe storms possible Monday in D.C.

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 23:59:00 EST

After a beautiful Saturday which featured our warmest temperature of the year so far at 84 degrees at Reagan National, it was much cooler Sunday. Easterly winds took over ahead of a warm front which kept highs in the 60s. Clouds were on the increase throughout Sunday approached from the southwest before finally getting to the D.C. Metro between 4pm and 7pm on Sunday evening.

Potential Rainfall Totals by Tuesday morning

Periods of rain continued overnight into Monday morning. Rain may be moderate to heavy at times with upwards of an inch possible by the time it exits the area during Monday mornings commute. A Flood Watch has been posted through Monday for the majority of the D.C. area. Winds were also breezy overnight, with gusts up to 30 mph.

Warmer air will filter into the region Monday ahead of the trailing cold front. Highs should reach the upper 70s to near 80 degrees Monday afternoon. This will elevate the instability levels across the region and the cold front will act as the lifting mechanism to create the chance for thunderstorms Monday evening. Winds aloft will be strong creating the chance for a few damaging wind gusts. This is why the Storm Prediction Center has placed the D.C. area and points south into a slight risk for severe storms.

Slight Risk for severe storms in the area shaded in yellow

The cold front will move east of the area Monday night into Tuesday morning and cooler temperatures are expected the remainder of the work week.

Be sure to check for the latest 7-Day forecast here.

Expect stormy, possibly severe, evening commute

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:48:11 EST

The chance of severe weather is increasing over parts of Central , Eastern and Southeastern Virginia including the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. Extreme Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia are also seeing an increase in probabilities of severe weather for later this afternoon and evening. A Tornado Watch MAY be issued for the areas described above.

The D.C. Metro Area is still under a Slight Risk for severe weather mainly after 6 pm this evening. Our area has been under a large mass of cool and damp ocean air. Very slowly during the day, a warm front has been steadily moving toward the area and incrementally increasing temperatures. Farther south and west of the Washington area, temperatures have been rising more noticeably. Because of lingering cool and damp air overhead, our chances of severe weather developing are low...but there is still a chance it could happen. In areas, where it has been warmer, longer the chances are increasing.

Stormy Afternoon and PM Rush

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 07:41:00 EST

Don't be fooled by the cool, cloudy start today. A big change is coming.  A potent cold front that has a history of producing severe weather in the Midwest and Ohio Valley will arrive in D.C. Metro later today.  Be prepared for severe weather.  The most likely threat will be damaging winds.  

Severe Storm Impact

Hail around 1" in diameter is also possible in isolated storms along with heavy downpours. The threat of tornadoes is low.  The farther south you live, the greater your chances that storms will be strong. 

Severe Storm Risk Area

Any severe weather in D.C. would be isolated and short-lived.  Southern Maryland and Central Virginia has a 15% chance that a severe storm will come withing 25 miles of their home. The line of showers and thunderstorms should reach the I-81 corridor just after lunch time. 


By mid afternoon, it reaches the metro. 


By the late rush, it exits east of I-95 and then skies will clear out tonight.  This good news is that the severe threat is on the lower end of the scale today.  This same storm spawned a deadly tornado in Illinois last evening. Amazing video on You Tube you can watch here.  For us, be prepared to seek shelter indoors this afternoon.  Remember lightning can be deadly. Keep a close eye on conditions when the kids get home from the Bus Stop today.   The Stormwatch7 app here will help you stay informed with live radar updates and severe weather alerts on your phone. In addition, Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill will break into programming if necessary today if there are any warnings.  He starts team coverage with Steve Rudin starting at 4p on ABC7 News. Hang in there for the weekend!  It will be perfect with breezy conditions on Saturday. But sunshine and upper 60s to around 70 can be expected both days. Perfect for Cherry Blossom peak blooms!  Share your photos with me this weekend and early next week and I'll put them on the air during Good Morning, Washington! Post them on my Facebook page here or on Twitter @JacquiJeras



Windy Saturday, Easter SUNday, Nationals Baseball is back!

Fri, 03 Apr 2015 17:46:00 EST

Plenty of sunshine is expected this weekend but Easter Sunday still appears to be the better day of the two as windy conditions will prevail on Saturday.

Low pressure will continue to intensify as it moves into the Northeast tonight into Saturday morning. The resulting pressure gradient between the low and entering high pressure will make for windy northwesterly winds throughout the day. Winds may gust as high as 40 mph in the morning hours but winds should finally diminish Saturday evening. Temperatures will be cooler than Friday (which hit 71 degrees) with highs around 60 degrees.

Easter Sunday Hourly Forecast

Easter Sunday will start off rather chilly, with lows in the 30s in the outlying suburbs to near 40 degrees in town. Milder temperatures should enter by the afternoon with highs in the low to mid 60s. Winds may still be on the breezy side out of the southwest around 10-15 mph.

Nationals Baseball Forecast

Is anyone else excited for Nationals baseball? I am absolutely pumped for the season opener on Monday at 4:05pm. Weather conditions should be just about perfect for the game with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s throughout the day under partly cloudy skies.

Be sure to stay tuned to the latest forecast updates this weekend!


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