More rain ... again
If it seems like it's been raining all month, that's because it has. BWI has clocked more than two inches already since the first of the month. And there's more to come as winds across the continent remain largely west-to-east. The "zonal" flow just keeps sending repeated bundles of low pressure and moisture our way, and we get showers.
Here's the tally since May Day. The amounts on some days are tiny, but what we remember is the mist and drizzle, the occasional heavy showers, and the gray skies ... the incessant gray skies:
May 1: 0.02 inch
May 2: 0.01 inch
May 3: 0.82 inch
May 4: 0.84 inch
May 5: 0.42 inch
Points west have seen much more rain than we have. The National Weather Service has posted Flood Warnings for the Potomac River at Point of Rocks. The river was a foot above flood stage and minor flooding was expected today.
Flood Watches are up for the western part of the state, from Washington County westward. They're expecting as much as two inches of rain. Soils are already saturated, so whatever falls will run straight into the creeks and rivers, producing localized flooding Wednesday night into Thursday.
The NWS has also posted a Hazardous Weather Outlook for today and tonight that includes eastern Allagany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery and Howard counties. They can expect minor river flooding along the Potomac as heavy rains push some streams out of their banks through Friday.
The cloudy, drippy skies forced the postponement of last night's planned launch of the U.S. Air Force Minotaur rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket is carrying an Air Force remote sensing technology test satellite, along with four other private, university and NASA satellites. Once airborne, if skies are clear across the region the rocket's climb toward orbit should be visible for hundreds of miles around. Another Minotaur launch from Wallops Island in December 2006 was clearly visible in daylight from my front window in Cockeysville.
The next launch window at Wallops opens at 8 p.m. Thursday. The forecast for Thursday night is a little better, with partly cloudy skies expected for Baltimore.
That said, the forecast out of Sterling shows no mention of sunny skies here until Sunday. We can expect more showers and thunderstorms right through Saturday. Temperatures will climb toward 70 today, and well into the 70s through Saturday as another low-pressure system slogs through and pushes a warm front across the region. Those highs would be 5 to 10 degrees above the seasonal norms.
Behind that low we should see high pressure work its way into the area behind the next cold front. That will bring cooler, more seasonable temperatures and SUNSHINE by Sunday. The same unfamiliar golden orb may even stick around through Tuesday ... unless it doesn't. Forecasters say the same old zonal flow could deliver another package of clouds and showers anytime during that period.
Keep the umbrellas handy.