From the ABC 7 Weather team

More rain in D.C. expected on Thursday; what umbrella will YOU use?

March 7, 2011 - 05:00 AM
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Still rocking that $5 convenience-store umbrella? Say hello to the Gustbuster, sure to inspire deep-seated feelings of umbrella inadequacy.

Shredded umbrella on Georgia Avenue Sunday night (Photo: TBD Staff)

Gills would have been a nice accessory yesterday as an open tap of rain, sleet and snow poured onto the D.C. region. Overflowing gutters and streams spurred a kaleidoscopic migration of cigarette butts and candy wrappers into the all-consuming Potomac. Pedestrians gained a couple ounces of unwanted weight as parasitic precipitation burrowed into coats and bags.

Snow fell heaviest to the west of the city, and Loudoun, northern Fauquier and Frederick, Md., were under winter weather advisories into Monday morning. Skydiving temperatures could create slick roads in the morning, so keep those hands on the wheel and don't be texting while driving. The latest morning forecast is available here.

 

On Thursday, shortly after the time our clothes will have air-dried, another dismal period of heavy rain is expected to visit the region. The ripping winds and acutely angled rains of March will test the mettle of many dime-store umbrellas, such as the three I saw crumpled outside the Georgia Avenue Metro station Sunday night. But why let this month's stormy weather treat you like a sponge? Why not combat the splattery force of nature with an equally powerful (and golfer approved!) weapon?

I’ve long suspected that TV meteorologists, given their knowledge of weather in general, have access to arcane and hyper-developed foul-weather gear. (Anyone struggling to find the Holy Grail of hair gel for windy days should immediately ping Brian van de Graaff.) Yesterday, ABC7’s Steve Rudin partly confirmed my theory by mentioning that when a downpour comes banging on his door, he lunges for something called a Gustbuster. “It is great,” he says.

What in Thor’s name is this thing? Only a lil’ old umbrella that’s been tested in a wind tunnel spitting out 55 m.p.h. gusts, leading officials from the College of Aeronautics to drop their hole-flanging tools and rush over to slap a wind certification on it. Two punching fists of dryness technology – an elastic shock cord and wind-release vents in the shape of raindrops – prevent the umbrella from turning inside out in the most robust of windstorms, while a sizable diameter fends off rain as well as a New Orleans porch. It’s the No. 1 choice of PGA Tour golfers, has a promotion campaign designed around a retrofitted ambulance called the Turbulance and is available online for about $33.

That should be enough to assure a free Gustbuster in my mailbox next week, so let’s move on to this week’s weather. High pressure settles in today and Tuesday and the sky should be clear and sunny. Temperatures are expected to waver around 50 to 55 degrees, right where they should be for this time of year. The storm chance arrives on Thursday with a system careening in from the southwest. It’s looking similar to Sunday’s storm in that it could jettison a bunch of rain. But no big snow in D.C. proper: That is seeming less and less likely as spring wakes up spitting and frothing at the mouth.

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