Just in time for Christmas: High traffic, rainy weather expected to coincide

Many roads in downtown D.C. are clogged with traffic during the 2015 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — If you’re one of the projected 113 million people traveling for Christmas, you might to have more to contend with than the crowds: The forecast calls for some serious rain.

Meteorologist Matt Ritter said Wednesday that the sunny weather of the past couple of days is coming to an end Thursday afternoon and evening, continuing with periods of sometimes-heavy rain on Friday and continuing into Saturday — just in time for people to hit the roads for the holiday.

A Flood Watch is in effect for the WTOP listening area from Thursday evening through Friday afternoon. The National Weather Service calls for 1 to 2 inches of rain, with the possibility for some areas to get 3 to 4 inches. Combine that with the saturated ground caused by the recent rains, and flooding is possible based on the current forecast, the NWS said.

It’s not like 2018 has been the rainiest year on record in the D.C. area or anything.

The analysts at INRIX said that Wednesday would be the busiest travel day in the District, but Jack Taylor in the WTOP Traffic Center said Tuesday that “I would even guess Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, all three days.” If you’re on the road, Taylor said, avoid the usual rush hours and try to leave around midday.

At least it’ll be warm.

The forecast

THURSDAY — Cloudy and cool. Light rain and drizzle arriving during the afternoon.
Highs: Upper 40s to low 50s.

FRIDAY — Periods of rain, moderate to heavy at times. Breezy and mild.
Highs: Upper 50s to low 60s.

SATURDAY — A few leftover showers in the morning. Mostly cloudy. Not as mild.
Highs: Mid-50s.


Keep yourself informed:

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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