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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
Jacqui Jeras

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
Alex Liggitt

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!


Peduncle elongation: Washington D.C. cherry blossom peak bloom forecast

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:45:00 EST
Brian van de Graaff

The peak bloom date is defined as the day in which 70% of the blossoms of the Yoshino Cherry trees are in full bloom. Obviously, this is weather dependent and can vary from year to year; however, the actual Cherry Blossom Festival dates are "set" based upon the average bloom date of April 4th. In fact, taking a look at the statistics, it appears that peak bloom has taken place in a very broad date range, occurring as early as March 15, 1990 and as late as April 18, 1958 (courtesy NPS).

While National Park Service Horticulturists issue several bloom forecasts, they clearly state that "it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days." The forecast for this year's peak bloom is currently forecast for April 11 to April 14.

The way the National Park Service tracks the progress of the trees is by monitoring the progress of the 5 steps of growth. By monitoring these processes the horticulturist can adjust and update the bloom forecast accordingly. Here are the 5 steps and the corresponding imagery. Take a look and then you will be able to better understand the process whether you head down to the basin or not.

1. Green Color in buds 2. Florets visible 3. Extension of florets 4. Peduncle elongation 5. Puffy white -Courtesy: National Park Service

Final thought...if you cannot or do not make it down to see the Yoshino Cherry trees you are not 100% out of luck. Kwanzan cherry blossoms are provide a vibrant bloom and generally emerge two weeks later than the predominant Yoshino trees along the TidalBasin. To catch a glimpse of these trees one need only to head over to the East Potomac Park south of the George Mason Memorial.

*Special thanks to our old friend and Meteorologist Adam Caskey for his collaboration with me on this blog.

Wind Advisory in effect for D.C. entire region; Gusts to 50 mph

Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:56:43 EST


A Wind Advisory Means That Wind Gusts Of Up To 50 Mph Are Expected. Secure Outdoor Furniture And Take Care Driving High Profile Vehicles.

April weather in the D.C. area

Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:21:00 EST

April begins on Wednesday and the first day of the month is forecast to be sunny and slightly cooler than average in the mid to upper 50s. The average high for the start of the month is 62 degrees. By the time we get to April 30, the average high soars to 71 degrees. Just a couple of years ago in 2013 on April 10, the high reached 91 degrees, a record for the date.

Complete April Climate Statistics - NWS Baltimore/Washington

With that being said, 90 degree temperatures are definitely obtainable for the month. Only 7 days during the month have record highs below 90 degrees with 5 of them being the 1st through the 5th. The highest temperature last year was 85 degrees on the 13th of the month.

April Weather in D.C.

April features 12 hours and 38 minutes of daylight on the 1st of the month and 13 hours and 48 minutes by the 31st. Sunrise and sunset on the 1st is 6:53am and 7:31pm. By the 31st it rises at 6:12am and sets at 7:59pm.

Sun and Moon Data - U.S. Naval Observatory

The month still features some cold spells, with the last record low being recorded in 2007 on the 8th when the mercury dropped to 29 degrees. Measurable snow has also been recorded 15 days out of the month, with the latest on the 28th back in 1898 when 0.5" fell.

National Hurricane Conference is under way in Austin, Texas

Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:33:23 EST

Unprecedented Quiet Start to Tornado Season

Tue, 24 Mar 2015 05:40:00 EST

Zero. None. Nada.  That's how many tornadoes have been recorded in the United States so far this March.

Preliminary Tornado Count 2015

March tends to be a busy time for severe weather forecasters, but so far not only have there been no tornadoes this month, there hasn't even been a watch issued.  According to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Greg Carbin at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK where watches are issued, it is unprecedented.

Source: Storm Prediction Center

Carbin says this has never happened since the Storm Prediction Center has been keeping records dating back to 1970.  Typically there will have been dozens by this time of the year.  On average, 130 tornadoes are recorded from January through mid to late March. This year there are 28 preliminary reports from January and February combined. That's 10 percent of average.

U.S. Tornado Trends

Most severe weather this time of the year happens in the south. But, tornadoes can and have occurred in any month of the year in Virginia and Maryland. 

March Severe Weather Probabilities

Why has there been such a lack of tornadoes?  You can thank the chilly temperatures in the east for one thing.  We've had a persistent pattern that has not allowed much moisture, heat or instability from the south to clash with cooler arctic air from the north. 

On average Virginia will see 18 tornadoes a year and Maryland will experience 10.  Most of those tornadoes occur between April and September. 

Tornado Climatology by State

Will the quiet start to the season continue?  Perhaps for at least the short term. cooler than average temperatures are expected to continue in the east into early April. However, weather patterns can change quickly. April and May are typically the busiest months of the year for tornadoes. Just because it's quiet now, doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a correlation of low tornado counts through the end of June.  In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk of severe storms for both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Severe Weather Outlook Tuesday

While we're not expecting any severe storms in the D.C. region this week, we could hear a few rumbles of thunder on Thursday and there could be some gusty winds with those storms. 

Dusting of snow possible for D.C. region on Tuesday morning

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:21:37 EST

Snow showers and flurries possible overnight into Tuesday AM

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:06:00 EST

Snow fell in parts of the Midwest this morning and will continue to move to the south and east this evening into tonight. Early tomorrow morning, the weak disturbance will move into the D.C. area bringing the chance for some light snow showers or flurries. Here's more on what you can expect.

The system is currently moving out of Indiana and into the Ohio Valley. Areas such as Chicago picked up 1 to 5 inches of snow but the disturbance will continue to move into areas of dry air as it moves south and west towards the Mid Atlantic. The dry air it will encounter will act as a hindrance, evaporating much of the snow before it makes to the surface.

Stormscan showing snow entering the Ohio Valley this afternoon

Clouds will increase tonight but you should begin to see some clouds increasing on the horizon at sunset. Skies will be cloudy overnight and snow showers will move into the Appalachian Mountains around midnight. It will take areas east of the mountains longer to saturate, so many locations across the D.C. area won't even see any snow, but locations north and west will saturate faster and will have the chance for some light snow.

Forecast low temperatures Tuesday morning

Temperatures will be below freezing in the outlying suburbs west of D.C. and near or slightly above freezing in the D.C. Metro. Road temperatures should stay above freezing for the most part but some locations west of the Blue Ridge may experience a dusting IF snow falls heavy enough. The best chance for this would be in Washington County, MD, the Panhandle of VA and into the Shenandoah Valley in VA on lesser traveled roadways.

Potential Snowfall Accumulations (On the grass!)

While this is strictly model output, I do think there is the potential for a dusting in a few spots north and west of D.C. Tuesday morning. This will not be a big deal for the morning rush hour but it will definitely be interesting to see after the Vernal Equinox!

Just to remind you, March 25th of 2014 featured 1.7 inches of snow at Reagan National and 3.8 inches of snow at Dulles Airport, so it could be worse.

First day of spring brings snow across the D.C. region

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:21:19 EST

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - It may be the first day of spring, but the mid-Atlantic region received another round of winter weather.

The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories in effect through Friday afternoon from western Maryland to some D.C. suburbs.

A winter storm warning was in effect for Washington and Allegany counties in Maryland until 2 p.m., when the snow was expected to turn to rain.

The weather service says snow accumulation ranged from a trace near the nation's capital to 5 1/2 inches in Hagerstown, Md. and 6 inches in the college town of Frostburg, Md.

A few school systems in the region delayed openings or closed for the day.

Spring Has Sprung: The Vernal Equinox Friday

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 04:45:00 EST

It's here!  Spring!  Astronomical spring arrives on Friday at 6:45pm, the vernal equinox.

And how welcome the season is after such a cold and snowy February. Unfortunately, Spring doesn't necessarily bring with it milder temperatures. The average high today is 59F but it appears temperatures today won't get out of the 40s!

The equinox occurs at the point when the sun crosses the celestial equator from South to North. The image above and below help to visualize this.


At the equinox, the geometric center of the Sun crosses the equator and this point is above the horizon for 12 hours everywhere on Earth.  Now when we think about the equinox, we often think about equal hours of daylight and darkness. The word equinox comes from the Latin word "aequus" meaning "equal" and "nox" meaning "night". Although it's close, there are actually a few more minutes of daylight on the equinox than darkness. Monday we had 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.  Sunrise on Monday, March 17, 2012 was 7:16 AM and sunset was at 7:17 PM. So you may be asking, why wasn't Monday the equinox?

Well, it all comes down to that exact point when the center of the sun crosses the equator.  Sunrise and sunset occur when the top of the sun, not the center, is on the horizon.  That's why there are actually a few more minutes of daylight on the equinox.  Also, the earth's atmosphere refracts, or bends, light from the sun.  So, the top of the sun appears to be above the horizon when it is actually below the horizon. 


Today (Friday) we'll have a little over 12 hours of daylight (12 hours and 8 minutes), whereas Tuesday had 12 hours of daylight and darkness. From here on out, up until the summer solstice, we'll gain 2 hours 44 minutes of daylight.

The growing daylight and higher sun angle help promote warmer days.  Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a slow process in these transition months. Case in point, this March. The average high for the middle of March is about 55°. By the end of the month, the average high will be 61°.  The extended forecast starts out seasonable and then get a little warmer than average; however, another dip in temperatures for early next week. 

Happy Spring!

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