Warmer temps ahead, but rainy forecast prompts flood concern

WASHINGTON — The good news? D.C.’s frigid weather blew out on Tuesday night, and high temperatures late Wednesday and early Thursday morning should reach into the 50s.

But these warmer temperatures come with rain and heavy wind gusts that arrived Wednesday night.

Through Thursday evening, rain totals in the area could reach an inch to an inch and a half, a forecast which prompted a Flood Watch from the National Weather Service between 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday.

Heavy rain moved in the area overnight, and with that rain comes winds. Gusts Thursday could reach 50 mph, Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper said, and a Wind Advisory goes into effect from 4 a.m. until about noon.

The Flood Watch concerns the immediate counties outside D.C. in Maryland, as well as Anne Arundel, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Charles and southern Baltimore counties. It includes the areas inside the Capital Beltway in Virginia and stretches west into Loudoun County and south into Stafford and Prince William counties in Virginia.

As if that’s not bad enough, when the rain does clear out — between noon and 4 p.m. Thursday for most of the area — temperatures will plummet.

Draper said that the high temperature for Thursday would come in the morning, in the 50s, and would fall to the 30s by the late afternoon. And wind chills on Friday will be in the 20s.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts said the combination of semi-frozen, still-wet ground from the recent snow and cold will make flooding a concern, even though the rain totals will be less than the D.C. area received in the late summer of last year.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the widespread flooding we had then,” she said. “But we’re still going to have a good soaker coming through.”

Ricketts pointed out, however, that readers and WTOP listeners should not be fooled by the mild temperatures they’ll wake up to on Thursday morning. “We could end with a period of wet snow, but I don’t think there are going to be any issues with that.”

If you’ve been bundling up for an early-morning run over the last few days, you may have a chance to shed some layers in favor of a rain shell as you pound the pavement on Thursday morning.

“If you want to go for a run, it’ll feel like a spring day,” Ricketts said. “From 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., we’re going to be in the 50s, but I wouldn’t wait too much longer after the noon hour. By 2 p.m. the temps are already in the 40s with wind chill in the 30s. Friday is probably your best bet if you want to get out and run. We’ll be dry, but it will be breezy.”

People may be shocked by the temperature swings this week, but Ricketts said that’s fairly normal for the area in the winter. However, after the rain moves out on Thursday night, there is nothing too out of the ordinary ahead. “It doesn’t look like we have any big systems coming our way,” Ricketts said.

Current conditions


Thursday: Rain with strong winds and falling temperatures; minor flooding and some wind damage possible

Highs: 50s during the morning, heading down to the 30s by late afternoon/early evening


Friday: Partly sunny and blustery; cold, with a few flurries possible

Highs: 30s

Wind chills: Teens/20s


Saturday: Partly sunny and chilly

Highs: Near 40


Sunday: Mostly cloudy and warmer with a few flurries or sprinkles possible

Highs: 40s

WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.

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