Rain, followed by meteor shower
The rain showers we're watching out the window here should wind up sometime after lunch today. And with any luck, the skies will clear out enough this evening to give us a shot at seeing one of the year's best meteor showers.
UPDATE AT 9:00 P.M.: Unless we get fogged out. Not looking too promising out there. We have dense fog advisories throughout the area. Earlier...
We've recorded just 0.08 inch of rain at The Sun's weather station at Calvert & Centre streets. The rain began here between 7 and 8 a.m., and forecasters say it should end by 2 p.m. If we get a tenth of an inch, we'll still be an inch short of normal rain fall for this point in December.
All this moisture is piled up ahead of a frontal boundary - hard to call it a "cold" front because the air behind it is not much cooler. You can look at the jet stream map on The Sun's Weather Page today and it's clear that our weather is "zonal" - that is, tracking straight across the continent at the moment, west to east. No infusions of cold arctic air this week. In fact, when the front goes by, we'll find ourselves in a high-pressure system, with sunshine and highs in the 50s to nearly 60 degrees for the balance of the week. That's about 10 degrees above normal for this time of year at BWI.
Now, if we can get this drier air in here quickly, and blow out the clouds, we may have a shot at seeing the Geminid meteor shower, which peaks tonight.
The annual Geminid shower can produce as many as 120 "shooting stars" an hour for observers in very dark locations. They’re associated with dust from asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which may actually be an extinct comet. The Geminids streak into the atmosphere at 22 miles per second. Partly cloudy skies are forecast. The waning last-quarter moon won’t rise until 1:30 a.m., so the best time to look will be between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. this evening.
Look east, toward a pair of bright stars above the eastern horizon. They're Castor and Pollux, the twins of the constellation Gemini, from which this shower takes its name. The Geminid meteors will appear to radiate from Gemini, streaking outward to others parts of the sky.