Workweek Weather: Nor'easter Will Bring Soaking Rains

WASHINGTON — Last year at this time we were dealing with a blizzard. Well, this year, we have clouds and we have wind, but no cold air.

We will be starting the new work week with a nor’easter underway. It’s moving up the mid-Atlantic coast and bringing our area a much-needed big precipitation “event” — but that “event” will just be a rainstorm for us.

Snow lovers will, no doubt, be disappointed by that. But, ultimately, we really needed precipitation in one form or another to lessen the effects of our drought.

Effects of storm in southeast US

Sunday’s severe weather in the southeastern U.S. mostly will be over by the time this story is published early Monday. But the same storm system will affect us.

The severe weather occurred while all the ingredients in the atmosphere were setting up the structure of a large-scale, low-pressure system destined to head up the mountains and then the coast. The circulation of the storm will tap abundant moisture from the Gulf and from the Atlantic. Waves of rain bands will rotate around the center and pass over us.

At the same time, the deepness of the low pressure, itself, will cause strong gusty winds — the strongest of which will be along the coastal regions. Wind speeds here at home will average between 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts over 40 mph at times.

And, as we’ve been emphasizing, it still looks like 1 to 3 inches of rainfall will be possible over the entire WTOP listening area by the time all the rain ends early Tuesday.

Temperatures will be quite mild during this whole storm, especially east of the Blue Ridge. But some of the cold air may remain trapped in some of the valleys of the mountains west of Interstate 81. Eventually, colder air will wrap into the storm via northwesterly winds, which could cause some wet snowflakes to mix into the rain. But that’s most likely in interior West Virginia, far western Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania. It will be something we’ll have to monitor through the day on Monday.

Uneventful rest of the week

Even with all this rain, flooding is not much of a concern because of how low the area’s streams and rivers are. If there’s any flooding, it would be minor and mainly in urban areas or highways, which have poor drainage in the first place.

The rest of the week will be fairly uneventful.

A weak cold front will pass through the area Wednesday, helping to dry us out even more. There will be enough sun before the front gets here that temperatures will be mild again. The cold air mass behind the front is not Arctic, so temperatures will only be falling to seasonable levels, but they will start falling rapidly Wednesday evening.

There are some indications in the longer range computer models that Arctic air may be on the move again around the time February comes around. Maybe that will help snow lovers get a storm around here.

Daily weather highlights


  • Windswept rain
  • Mild temperatures, especially in central Virginia and southern Maryland
  • Cooler temperatures northwest of D.C.
  • Heaviest, steadiest rain bands taper off in the evening and overnight


  • Early morning lingering showers and drizzle
  • Not as windy, but still breezy
  • Sun peeking through the clouds


  • Sunshine and mild until clouds arrive with front in the afternoon
  • A bit breezy and turning colder in the evening


  • Mix of clouds and sun
  • Slightly higher-than-average temperatures, not by much


  • More sun than clouds
  • Near average temperatures

Editor’s Note: The WTOP Workweek Weather Blog is intended as an in-depth, yet plain-language summary of the business week’s weather potential in the Washington, D.C., area along with an explanation of the contingencies and uncertainties that exist at the time of publication. For the latest Storm Team 4 Forecast, check out the WTOP weather page

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