D.C.-area forecast: Rain chances rise into tonight, but we dry out for week’s second half

WEATHER NEWS: D.C.-area forecast: Rain chances rise into tonight, but we dry out for week’s second half


9:30 p.m. — Flood watch issued for much of D.C. area starting Tuesday at 4 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for much of the D.C. area from 4 a.m. Tuesday through Tuesday afternoon, saying that “Heavy showers and a few thunderstorms are expected to drop 2 to 3 inches across much of the watch area, with isolated higher amounts up to 5 inches possible in the heaviest cells.” The watch area does not include Fauquier, Prince William, Charles, Stafford, and Calvert counties.

While we just have some light showers and sprinkles around the region now, we expected more significant rain to develop tonight after 3 or 4 a.m., and it could be particularly heavy during the morning commute. See below for our detailed forecast…

5:30 p.m. — Scattered showers this evening with rain increasing in coverage and intensity predawn

Radar shows some scattered passing showers cycling through the area from south to north, but nothing too disruptive. If you need to be outside the next couple of hours for grilling and barbecues you should mostly be okay but may need to duck inside for 20 minutes or so as any showers pass.

The potential for heavier rain increases especially in the predawn hours through around sunrise. That’s when we might see some localized flooding.

Forecast models simulate the heaviest rain north and northwest of the Beltway with the potential for at least an inch of rain and pockets of 2+ inches. But heavy downpours can’t be ruled out anywhere in the region so use caution if out late tonight and be prepared for the possibility of a slow start to the commute on Tuesday.

There will be no PM Update post today but we’ll have fresh forecast posting at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

5/10: Be prepared for a shower, but the best chance of rain holds off until dark.

  • Today: Mostly cloudy with a possible shower, especially west of the District. Highs: 81 to 86.
  • Tonight: Showers and storms with possible heavy rain. Lows: 66 to 71.
  • Tomorrow: Morning rain, drying out in the afternoon. Highs: 75 to 80.

Downpours threaten the area tonight, but we may be able to get through much of the holiday before significant rainfall arrives. Most of the rain moves off by Tuesday afternoon, but we may have to dodge a few more showers Wednesday. Then we should mostly dry out Thursday into the weekend with comfortably warm temperatures but some mugginess.

Today (Monday): Skies are mostly cloudy and a shower or two can’t be ruled out, especially west of the Beltway during the afternoon. But for most of us, it’s dry for most of the day. I’m cautiously optimistic Labor Day grilling should be possible as long you don’t wait until too late. It is on the humid side (dew points 65 to 70) with highs in the low to mid-80s. Winds are from the south at 5 to 10 mph. Confidence: Medium-High

Tonight: Showers increase in coverage and intensity after sunset, and there could be some embedded thunderstorms with heavy rainfall. Models project the heaviest rain in our northern suburbs (north of the Beltway), and some areas of flooding can’t be ruled out, especially late at night and toward morning. Lows range from the mid-60s to around 70. Confidence: Medium-High

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Tomorrow (Tuesday): Showers and even some heavy downpours linger in the morning, especially near and east of Interstate 95. The morning commute could be a slow one after the long weekend, especially if there is any flooding. Rain should mostly conclude from west to east as the morning progresses, with mainly dry conditions across the region during the afternoon. Highs are in the upper 70s to near 80, with light winds from the south (around 5 mph). Rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches north of the Beltway (locally heavier amounts of 2 to 4 inches aren’t out of the question), with about 0.5 to 1.0 inches elsewhere. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow night: Skies remain mostly cloudy and there be could be some patchy fog. Lows range from the mid- to upper 60s. Confidence: Medium-High

Wednesday is mostly cloudy, but the sun may try to sneak through at times. A couple pop-up showers can’t be ruled out as highs hover in the upper 70s thanks to a cooling breeze from the east. Partly to mostly cloudy Wednesday night with lows in the mid- to upper 60s. Confidence: Medium

Our drying trend starts Thursday, which features a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures may be held in check by light winds from the east and northeast (5 to 10 mph), but highs should still manage 75 to 80, maybe a little higher with enough sun. Decreasing clouds at night with lows in the 60s. Confidence: Medium-High

Summery weather returns Friday through the weekend, but nothing at all extreme. While it’s somewhat humid (dew points in the 60s), highs are in the comfortably warm low to mid-80s with lows in the 60s. It’s mostly dry through this stretch, but a shower or storm can’t be ruled out over the weekend, especially by late Sunday. Confidence: Medium

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