Cold front ahead but not before more storms

WASHINGTON — After one more day of severe weather and heat, an unfamiliar refreshing air mass will settle into the D.C. region for Wednesday and Thursday. Perhaps, you can finally give that air conditioner a break!

Monday afternoon’s storms were quite a sight as they brought ominous skies, strong winds and heavy, short rain that almost seemed like it came out of nowhere. There were several reports of downed trees and some minor flooding.

We picked up some locally heavy rain in spots, but storms that were moving slowly west of the D.C. area packed the most punch in terms of accumulated rainfall.

rainfall (WJLA)

After the lunch hour, we will have to watch the radar. Temperatures Tuesday, while not quite as warm as Monday, will still reach into the mid- to upper 80s. Plenty of humidity around will help fuel the storms as a cold front slides out of the Ohio Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic, eventually crossing through the region during the early overnight hours. We could see anywhere from a quarter of an inch of rain Tuesday afternoon to 1 1/2 inches in some isolated areas.

storm (Courtesy NOAA)

As the front nears the region, showers and thunderstorms will pop up bringing the chance again for heavy downpours that could lead to flash flooding and strong, damaging winds that could bring down trees. There will be the threat for isolated hail and isolated tornadic activity, although that looks to be on the low end of Tuesday’s severe event.

The Storm Prediction Center once again puts the region at a slight risk area for severe weather.

downpours (WJLA)

Since we are on the subject, what the heck is a “slight risk” that we have been hearing so much about this year? I can certainly see how that phrase can be confusing, especially once all the watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. The local National Weather Service office put this informational graphic out to add some clarity to the “slight risk” terminology.

thunderstorm risk (Courtesy National Weather Service)

Behind this cold front, Canadian high pressure will scoot down from the upper Midwest to take hold of the D.C. region. Talk about a nice day, Wednesday will feature a few clouds in the morning that could take some time to burn off but they will gradually clear out from the west to the east during the morning hours and into the mid-morning hours. Temperatures will rise to the upper 70s to lower 80s for daytime highs with dew points in the 50s.

Dew points are the measure of moisture in the air and give a good indication of how it feels in terms of humidity. Dew points in the 70s equal oppressive humidity. Dew points in the 50s indicate you won’t feel the humidity, and it will be refreshing.

Thursday will feature a day full of sunshine with temperatures in the lower to mid 80s and still low humidity. By Friday, more clouds on the increase with chances of rain showers and humidity creeping back in. The weekend looks unsettled, warm and humid once again.

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