A tightly wound and powerful low-pressure system is moving eastward over the country this morning. Flying with it is a rowdy band of thunderstorms and showers. They're dropping rain grenades so fast that some cities could get 1 to 2 inches of precipitation, enough to staple a mopey face on the most hardcore of Friday-night fun-havers.
The good news? Those cities in the storm's iron sights are mostly in South Carolina.
Take a look at the QPF (Quantitative Precipitation Forecast) up until Monday, generated last night by NOAA's dampness-fixated Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. The system seems to lightly graze our area...
...while in the meantime utterly devastating a lonely patch of the Atlantic off the Carolina coast with a ballistic rain missile.
That's not to say the D.C. area won't get any rain today. There's a chance for morning showers in the southern suburbs, particularly south of Charlottesville in Virginia and in the lower portions of Calvert, St. Mary's and Charles counties. Up in D.C., the sky looks to be mostly full of clouds, clouds, clouds until the sun scorches holes in some of them in time for the weekend. Think nice temperatures in the mid-to-upper-50s through Sunday, and then a jolt of warmer weather early next week when D.C. could even hit 70 degrees again. Then comes a possibility of rain toward the next hump day. (Be sure to check the latest forecast for updates.)
This week really does belong to the sun. As you look up (not directly!) into this gaseous flame orb that supplies our daily tanning needs, consider that it is currently sporting its largest active region in years. Here's a good image of the immense sunspot, which measures roughly 50,000 by 25,000 miles. Yesterday afternoon at 4:27 p.m., the region spurted out a terrific X-class flare that caused radio-blackout conditions on earth. And the odds are "good there's more to come," according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
The center's description of this spot's violent potential makes entertaining reading:
2011-11-03 15:06 A benevolent monster of a region?
A monster of an active region, NOAA number 11339, has rotated on to the Earth-facing side of the Sun. This is the largest active region in almost seven years, since January 2005.... This region is likely to remain a threat for the 11 days or so it will take to rotate back to the far side of the Sun.
Here's that X-class flare from Nov. 3. Put on the widescreen and crank that volume: