- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2006

2:20 p.m.

Motorists are advised to take caution this afternoon as more rain is expected to drench the Washington area, making the roads slick for evening rush hour.

“We expect more rain later on this afternoon and tonight before all is said and done,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Silver Spring.

Just as residents fought off remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto last week, a “plume of moisture” sweeping in from the Texas Panhandle through Tennessee and all of the Northeast combined with an upper air atmosphere disturbance to dump 1.73 inches of rain on the region between 2 a.m. and 11 a.m. today, Mr. Feltgen said.

The rain was heavy at times, resulting in an accumulation of more than 14 times the average 0.12 inches of rainfall for this day.

Temperatures will remain in the high 60s today.

“Today was just miserable,” Mr. Feltgen said. “You combined moderate to heavy rain along with the day after a holiday, when everybody’s coming back [to work] and schools starting today. You combine that, and it’s a mess.”

Police around the region reported slowed traffic this morning because of high water in some spots but said there were no weather-related accidents.

Another quarter- or half-inch of rain is expected through this afternoon and tonight, Mr. Feltgen said.

Erik Linden, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, said crews “are on standby and standing ready for this evening’s commute.”

Mr. Linden said the department “fared pretty well” this morning despite traffic-signal outages and standing water at the Frederick Douglass Bridge and at Massachusetts Avenue and Thomas Circle in Northwest.

Those have been cleared, he said. He expects the roads to be “in good shape” tomorrow.

“One thing we really encourage motorists to do during these heavy rains is drive carefully and if you come to an intersection [where lights are] out or flashing, treat it as a four-way stop,” he said. “And, of course, we’re advising commuters to take Metro if possible.”

Meteorologists expect a “marked improvement” tomorrow morning, with clouds, possible widely scattered showers, and temperatures to reach the upper 70s by the afternoon.

“The commute tomorrow should be easier than today,” Mr. Feltgen said. “Tomorrow we won’t have any ease in the traffic, of course, but most of the rain should be done by then.”

The rest of the workweek should be dry, with daytime temperatures climbing into the high 80s.

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