A soaking from Ernesto
Forecasters this morning are saying Maryland's chief threat from Ernesto will be heavy rain - most of it on Friday. The storm's final track across the state will determine how much we get, and where. But predictions are running in the order of two inches or more, with 5 inches - even 10 inches in some isolated spots - possible.
That would normally bring a strong potential for flash flooding, particularly if the storm slows down or lingers over the region. But with soils parched and some streams very low in the current drought - 25 to 45 percent of the average for this time of year - it will take some serious runoff to flood them.
There's also concern about some coastal flooding along the western shore of the Chesapeake from late Thursday into Friday - especially at high tide - as the effects of several days of persistent east or northeast winds work to slosh the bay's shallow water from east to west.
With a more western track, Ernesto could also trigger some isolated tornadoes as he crosses the state from, south to north.
The good news is that we appear to be clear of the very hot weather we've seen in the last two days. It was 96 degrees yesterday at BWI-Marshall, and 97 downtown. (You can add one 90-plus day to each of the season's totals listed on today's Weather Page, in the Sun.) The cloud cover we see this morning, and the breeze off the ocean, will keep us in the 70s - maybe even upper 60s in some locations on Friday.
The other good news is that Ernesto should keep on truckin' northward, sloshing into Canada by Saturday, leaving us in a dry-out mode for the weekend. That's not to say we couldn't see some showers. But Saturday, and more especially Sunday, should bring some sunshine and drier air.
AccuWeather offers some nice graphics.