Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wet and Hot: A Recap of Monday Night's Heavy Rainfall and the Ongoing August Heat Wave

Ominous clouds from a nearby thunderstorm as seen from 18th St. and Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C., around 6PM August 15, 2016.

This photo was taken by Shelby Alinsky and posted on Shelby's Twitter site before being reposted in this CWG entry.

To be clear, this particular storm never really hit the Dupont Circle area -- just grazed it with a short-lived burst of heavy rainfall while lightning flashed and muffled thunder reverberated from the north and northeast. It was the subsequent larger cluster of storms that hit here.

Of note, I took a picture right shortly before then (judging by the cloud position) from very nearly the same location -- see image directly below -- but it didn't come out nearly so good. (I was walking home from a mobbed Farragut West Metro station, whence I had gone from L'Enfant Plaza and had to nearly push my way out through a throng on the platform.)

Stormy skies as seen looking up Connecticut Ave toward Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 5:53PM August 15, 2016.

I was in a hurry to get to the grocery store and home in case it deluged as I had my computer in my backpack.

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Well, it's very nearly midnight as I start this entry, and I'm not only tired, but I want to get into work earlier tomorrow than I usually do. That being the case, I'm going to skip posting my planned entry featuring my Sunday pictures including at the Nationals - Braves baseball game as I crowd watched.

Mostly, the pictures feature heavy people dressed like slobs and piles eating fried food and a posse of fraternity dudes (judging by their appearance and the tattoo on the arm of one of them) chatting up a pastiche of young ladies at the main stadium bar over beer.

Kinda like this -- and who's ready for some baseball??

Young people at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., 2:21PM August 14, 2016.

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I'll save that for a subsequent entry -- as well as the discussion I had with a young bartender at Tortilla Coast who is soon to leave with his wife for a two-year Peace Corps stint in Rwanda ...

I'm really going to save that for another entry.

Turing to the weather: Wet and Hot

With the backdrop of an approaching powerful thunderstorm, the spires of the Mormon Temple poke up above the summer arboreal greenery of suburban Maryland, August 15, 2016.

Quill took this picture and sent it to me.

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A cluster of drenching thunderstorms moved across the extended Baltimore/Washington area tonight including here in the District and even at National Airport (KDCA). Indeed, I thought I was going to be writing an entry about how National Airport missed everything AGAIN -- especially when a powerful cluster of thunderstorms with hail -- moved across northern portions of the District and suburban Maryland, but missed downtown D.C. and the airport.

Approaching thunderstorm, New Hampshire Ave and 18th St NW, Washington, D.C., 5:58PM August 15, 2016.

OK, it wasn't technically approaching but instead grazed the Dupont area (see top of entry for explanation). Regardless, I'm not changing the picture file name.

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The CWG had this "real-time" entry that was updated during the course of the storms (link embedded): (I was at the gym as it happened.)


Concerning how close that storm was, Andrea texted and picture messaged me to show the hail that was falling at her place near Fort Totten. (I was going to show the picture, except the coin comparison wasn't a U.S. quarter but a foreign one I could not identify.)

A particularly ominous looking sky as seen from the intersection of 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:14PM August 15, 2016.

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However, another cluster followed close-on and that one covered much of the area, although Dulles Airport (KIAD) got screwed this time out of much rainfall.

It looks as though precipitation (rainfall) totals for August 15th, 2016 were as follows:

KDCA: 1.16"
KBWI: 1.64"
KIAD: 0.14"
KDMH (Maryland Science Center): 0.97"

This is the first day of 1" or better for precipitation -- as well as the most in a calendar day -- at KDCA since May 2, 2016 when 1.24" fell. It's also only the third such instance there this year.

The first occasion was on February 24th, 2016 when 1.10" fell.

Both the KDCA and KBWI totals for August 15th are actually daily records.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 10:04PM - 1030PM EDT August 15, 2016.

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A NEXRAD composite radar image for a portion of the eastern U.S., as prettied up by Weather Underground, looped 1025PM - 1110PM EDT August 15, 2016.

I assume these are from NWS radars but I'm not entirely sure since there are separate radars run by commercial entities as well.

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Year-to-date, this puts KDCA at 23.36" or -1.61" below normal. By contrast, KBWI is at 29.36" or +3.15" year-to-date and KIAD -- even having missed out on most of this rainfall -- is at 27.25" or +0.98" year-to-date.

This information is taken from the Sterling LWX climate page.


Temperature-wise, I should also note that KDCA reached 100F again for a high -- the third consecutive day of 100F or higher (101F on Saturday, 100F on Sunday, and 100F on Monday), something that hasn't happened since 1997 during the halcyon days of Fred Hiatt's Washington Consensus.

Today's 100F at KDCA was not a daily record, though, because the daily record high was 103F set in 1988. KIAD reached 96F and KBWI "only" reached 93F -- and both were under their daily record highs of 102F and 103F, respectively, also set in 1988.

On Sunday (Aug. 14th), KDCA tied the record high minimum for the day at 80F while KIAD broke its record high minimum with a low of 76F. For Monday, no record high minima were set because of the thunderstorms, so the current Aug. 15th records of 78F at KDCA, 77F at KBWI, and 75F at KIAD all stand.

Nevertheless, the climatological summer continues to move into an ever-warmer place:

For June 1 - Aug. 14th, KDCA remains in 4th place at 80.3F but KBWI moved up to 21st place at 77.1F, tied with 1921, 1942, and 1952. I should point out that at least the first two of those were set when the Baltimore climate station was located in downtown Baltimore at the U.S. Custom House rather than at the airport.

Records for D.C. and Baltimore go back to 1871.

For KIAD -- where records go back to 1960 -- it is the 6th warmest summer at 77.0F.

Five of the six warmest summers in Washington, D.C. (as measured at KDCA and its predecessor locations) have all been since 2010.

This temperature information was taken from the Sterling LWX area forecast discussion at 10:14PM Aug. 15th.

Sterling (LWX) NWS county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 1:34AM EDT August 16, 2016.

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For tomorrow, another bout of sweltering weather is forecasted with highs near 100F in D.C. proper and dew points pushing heat indices to 105F+ -- high enough for heat advisories area-wide (not excessive heat warnings). There is a 30POP for thunderstorms tomorrow (Tuesday evening).

Oh, yes, I also need to note that I had to update my previous entry because I initially had written that there were no thunderstorms on Sunday evening in the D.C. area. That was not, in fact, the case as there were thunderstorms in the northern suburbs including Montgomery County, Md., and stretching up toward the Baltimore area.

This CWG entry features some of the stunning sky pictures from Sunday evening. I noted how dramatic the sky looked in that previous entry and updated it to include this picture:

Spectacular aerial view of the thunderstorms at sunset over central Maryland in a photo taken by Pamela Hovis while on a passenger jet descending into BWI Airport, August 14, 2016.

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Before I conclude this entry, I'd like to post this picture from the severe flooding that hit parts of Louisiana over the weekend killing at least 5 people. Areas around Baton Rouge recorded upwards of 24 inches of rain in a 72-hour period. Here is the CWG entry about the flood.

An unidentified woman attempts to walk in dangerously high flood waters in or near Baton Route, Louisiana, August 14, 2016.

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Oh, and here's my Omani TV meteorologist friend with a new weather clip. I have no idea this fellow's name, only that he works for Oman's Directorate General of Meteorology. That office is housed in the Public Authority for Civilian Aviation (PACA). This particular video features some really cool fly-in / fly-over Google terrain shots of his part of the world.


My Middle Eastern main man meteorologist. Can anyone translate what he's saying??

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OK, that's all for now. I'm just going to limit this entry to a weather-themed one. I will say that I made it to the gym tonight and had a good multi-part workout. Tomorrow night is a non-gym night, and I think I'll do my Trade and Floriana two-step. I may not post an entry tomorrow night, so my next one quite possibly won't be until late Wednesday / early Thursday.

--Regulus

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