Capital Weather Gang: Thunderstorms


Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 03/01/2013

March severe weather, and start of meteorological spring: in like a lion, or lamb?

March 1 marks the start of meteorological spring. For those who are tired of the dark, damp, and disappointing days of winter this official demarcation of spring is a welcome thought. Most years this indoctrination of spring can be misleading because early March can feel like an extension of February.

By Kathryn Prociv  |  11:02 AM ET, 03/01/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Local Climate

Posted at 01:41 PM ET, 02/05/2013

National Weather Service review finds faults with June derecho forecast

A review of the National Weather Service’s forecasts for the June 29, 2012 derecho finds it was unsuccessful in providing long-lead times for the thunderstorm complex that produced a trail of destruction from Indiana to the Mid-Atlantic coast. The report praised the NWS’ short-term issuance of warnings, but stressed they should contain stronger language for conveying the urgency in such violent storm events.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:41 PM ET, 02/05/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Government, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 01/31/2013

Summer-like winds generate mid-winter deluge Wednesday in Washington, D.C. area

A mad rush of warm, humid air from the sub-tropics triggered an unusual January episode of wind-driven rains over the Washington, D.C. metro region Wednesday night

By Jason Samenow  |  10:56 AM ET, 01/31/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Floods, Thunderstorms | Tags:  latest

Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 01/30/2013

Squall line poses heavy rain and strong wind risk tonight for Washington, D.C. area

A lengthy line of heavy showers and thunderstorms stretching from New Orleans to Toronto will plow eastward today, bearing down on the East Coast and Washington D.C. area tonight. This squall line has the potential to produce some damaging wind gusts capable of downing trees and power lines, and leading to power outages

By Jason Samenow  |  01:25 PM ET, 01/30/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms | Tags:  latest

Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 01/29/2013

Wild Wednesday: Cold front brings potential for strong storms and heavy rain

A powerful system to the west and its cold front are set to bring us a wet Wednesday. There’s even a chance of some rare wintertime severe weather in the area.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:59 AM ET, 01/29/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:18 PM ET, 12/26/2012

December 25-26 storm: record Christmas tornado outbreak in South, heavy snow, rain to north

From a record Christmas Day tornado outbreak to today’s heavy snows in the Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the storm coming up the East Coast has left quite a mark.

By Jason Samenow  |  04:18 PM ET, 12/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Winter Storms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/07/2012

Can lightning help predict tornadoes? A D.C. area case may shed some light

At this week’s annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting, geophysicists from Johns Hopkins University presented a poster featuring findings on lightning activity as a possible precursor to a tornado in the area.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:45 AM ET, 12/07/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  capital-weather-gang, Latest, Thunderstorms, Science

Posted at 02:02 PM ET, 11/14/2012

About face: U.S. tornado activity near low point in modern record

After one of the busiest years for tornadoes in 2011, tornado numbers in 2012 have come crashing down to historic lows.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:02 PM ET, 11/14/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:48 PM ET, 10/24/2012

Wall clouds viewed Friday night in Washington, D.C. area during surprising storms

Last Friday night, several rotating “supercell” thunderstorms developed unexpectedly from northern Virginia through southern Pennsylvania.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:48 PM ET, 10/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 04:18 PM ET, 10/17/2012

Cold front may bring strong storms late Thursday

An energetic autumn front will close in on the Washington, D.C. metro region Thursday afternoon and evening, bringing the possibility of strong to isolated severe thunderstorms.

By Jason Samenow  |  04:18 PM ET, 10/17/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 10/09/2012

“Fireball” lightning in Florida (VIDEO)

Last Friday, a thunderstorm exploded over Naples, Florida giving Rita Krill a show she won’t soon forget.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:18 AM ET, 10/09/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 09/27/2012

Gusty storms possible tonight in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas

A summertime air mass has returned to the region and cold front lurks not far to the north. As the front slowly sinks south this evening and a little wave of low pressure rides along it, a cluster of thunderstorms may develop. The best chance of storms lies in D.C. northern suburbs up to around the Mason Dixon line.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:10 PM ET, 09/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 09/27/2012

Lightning blasts vehicle in Russia (VIDEO)

Cars are generally a very safe to be when there’s lightning. But they can still get struck. The video shown here, captured in Russia, provides a dramatic example.

By Jason Samenow  |  12:43 PM ET, 09/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 09/25/2012

2012 vs . 2011 tornadoes: A study in contrasts

What a difference a year makes. The 2012 tornado count through Friday (757) is less than half 2011’s staggering total (1692).

By Jason Samenow  |  12:54 PM ET, 09/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:22 PM ET, 09/19/2012

What happened to the tornadoes Tuesday?

Air in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast was on the cusp of spinning, but tornadoes never showed.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:22 PM ET, 09/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Recaps

Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 09/18/2012

Damaging winds, possible tornadoes threaten D.C. area

Severe weather is expected today as a strong early autumn cold front sweeps through the area. Damaging winds, torrential and tornadoes are possible in thunderstorms that develop along and ahead of the front.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:47 AM ET, 09/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 09/17/2012

Severe storms with damaging winds, torrential rain possible Tuesday

For the second time in the past 10 days, a powerful early fall cold front will blast through the region.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:00 PM ET, 09/17/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 09/17/2012

Red sprites, blue jets, and elves: What are these mysterious, elusive phenomena?

Today, although still quite enigmatic and elusive, red sprites, and their cousins, blue jets, and elves, are revealing some of their secrets.

By Don Lipman  |  12:00 PM ET, 09/17/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Lipman, Science, Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:40 PM ET, 09/11/2012

Storming the Manassas Battlefield Park, Saturday, September 8

On Saturday, September 8, I made a trip to the battlefield and video recorded a line of storms moving into the area.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  04:40 PM ET, 09/11/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Photography

Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 09/10/2012

Ominous storm clouds invade a Saturday afternoon on the National Mall

Severe thunderstorms impacted the D.C. area on Saturday, causing numerous wind damage reports. The storms were as photogenic as they were intense.

By Ian Livingston  |  09:42 AM ET, 09/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 03:41 PM ET, 09/07/2012

Risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday in Washington, D.C., mid-Atlantic and Northeast

The streak of soupy days ceases Sunday, but a line of severe thunderstorms Saturday may be the price to pay for the incoming rush of autumn air.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:41 PM ET, 09/07/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 09/04/2012

Electrifying start to September on the National Mall

PHOTOS | A trip to photograph the refurbished reflecting pool turned into a stormy ad­ven­ture.

By Ian Livingston  |  12:00 PM ET, 09/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 08/27/2012

Buckets of rain douse Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva; a waterspout in Charles county

Heavy rainfall also fell along I-95 over the weekend, dousing the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva.

By Jason Samenow  |  09:30 AM ET, 08/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Local Climate, Thunderstorms, Floods

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 08/22/2012

Stationary storm over Nationals Park

The storm Tuesday evening developed over Alexandria and Washington seemed to remain almost stationary. The storm ultimately produced a 51-minute rain delay at Nationals Park while most areas stayed dry. Despite the rain, the Nationals beat the Braves.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:30 AM ET, 08/22/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Photography, Latest

Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 08/13/2012

Maryland severe storm shows off superb structure

The Capital Weather Gang embarked on a chase in Thurmont, Md. as severe storms began to form.

By Ian Livingston  |  11:23 AM ET, 08/13/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 08/08/2012

Late-week severe weather? Thursday and Friday offer increasing odds for storminess in D.C.

A dip in the jet stream is promising increased storm chances by the end of the work week. Friday has already been outlooked by forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center as a potential severe weather day since Monday. We examine the various storm risks ahead.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:15 AM ET, 08/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:22 PM ET, 08/07/2012

Jefferson’s derecho — the video

Five weeks later, the video is recovered from a soaked camera that had stopped working.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  03:22 PM ET, 08/07/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:15 PM ET, 08/06/2012

NASCAR should have stopped Pocono race sooner

A man was killed and nine others were injured Sunday during a violent thunderstorm that tore across Pocono Raceway in northeast Pennsylvania. Although track officials advised crowds to seeks shelter, NASCAR allowed cars to continue to race around the track far too long.

By Jason Samenow  |  04:15 PM ET, 08/06/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 07:22 PM ET, 07/31/2012

Rainbow and lightning near Washington Dulles airport

Reader John Kosak photographed a bolt of lightning beneath a vibrant rainbow close to Dulles Airport Tuesday evening.

By Jason Samenow  |  07:22 PM ET, 07/31/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 07/30/2012

Clear views of thunderstorm clouds and rainbows

This past weekend offered some beautiful views of thunderstorms and rainbows with clear skies and good visibility.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  01:25 PM ET, 07/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 07/28/2012

Severe storm risk ends; mild overnight, mostly sunny Sunday

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the entire Washington-Baltimore area until 10 p.m.

By Dan Stillman  |  01:53 PM ET, 07/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:10 PM ET, 07/27/2012

More storms, more sunburn? Stronger storms could destroy ozone

A study says stronger storms could damage the ozone layer over the U.S.

By Justin Grieser  |  01:10 PM ET, 07/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Climate Change, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 01:24 PM ET, 07/24/2012

Storms fading with most activity well south of D.C.; drier, cooler and sunny Wednesday

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the entire region through 8 p.m. The watch covers a broad area stretching from southern Pennsylvania through southwest Virginia.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:24 PM ET, 07/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 07/24/2012

Threat of severe thunderstorms today, highest risk south of D.C.

When a cold front collides with a hot, juicy airmass over the Southeast and mid-Atlantic, strong to severe thunderstorms are possible today. There is the chance of a large, organized area of severe thunderstorms later today, though it *may* target areas just south of D.C. from central Virginia into the Carolinas.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:08 AM ET, 07/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 07/20/2012

Storms produce heavy rain, mainly in District to points north

A strong line of summer storms swept throught the metro region Thursday night, dumping 0.5-2” of rain from the south side of the beltway through Howard county.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:47 AM ET, 07/20/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Local Climate, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:20 PM ET, 07/19/2012

Dissecting a derecho bolt: more to lightning than meets the eye (and camera lens)

Over a year ago, NOAA’s Scott Rudlosky and I began discussing an effort to match a lightning photograph with its corresponding lightning data recorded by the Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA).. We felt that we could learn more about the lightning that we see flashing across the sky by investigating the data behind the flash, such as where it originated, where it traveled, its elevation, and where it struck ground.

By Kevin Ambrose and Scott D. Rudlosky Ph.D.  |  02:20 PM ET, 07/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Science, Thunderstorms, Photography

Posted at 03:01 PM ET, 07/18/2012

More extreme heat milestones met as severe thunderstorms dot region

Triple digit heat has once again baked the metro region. Meanwhile, a cold front closing in on the area is triggering widespread severe storms to our north and northwest. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect through 11 p.m. Storms will contain heavy rain, dangerous lightning and the possibility of damaging winds to 70 mph..

By Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston  |  03:01 PM ET, 07/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Extreme Heat

Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 07/18/2012

Severe storms target New York City, southern New England, a few could reach D.C. area late today

A cold front sagging south from the Northeast this afternoon to the northern mid-Atlantic tonight - along with strong upper level winds - promises to trigger strong to severe thunderstorms across this area. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the D.C. area.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:51 AM ET, 07/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 07/09/2012

Washington, D.C. derecho storm names: Derechosaurus Wrecks and Swelter in Place

Thank you for dozens of suggestions for storm names. Lots of great, creative ideas. We’ve narrowed down the most popular choices so you can vote for your favorite. We will announce the winner Thursday.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:30 AM ET, 07/09/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Extreme Heat, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:01 PM ET, 07/08/2012

A few storms possible overnight; awaiting Monday’s cooler air

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch that had been in effect for the D.C. and Baltimore metro region through 10 p.m. has been cancelled. Some of the earlier storms contained damaging winds and large hail, dangerous lightning and torrential rain.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:01 PM ET, 07/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 07:43 PM ET, 07/06/2012

Weather and worrying: summertime storms alarm some, post-derecho

Maybe some of us have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or acute stress disorder (ASD)? After last Friday’s big time derecho complex rolled through, we learned about just how badly we could hurt, how badly our homes, trees, cars—our very infrastructure—could be damaged. Even now, a few thousand of us still don’t have power.

By A. Camden Walker  |  07:43 PM ET, 07/06/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Health

Posted at 10:31 AM ET, 07/06/2012

Mammatus clouds bubble up in Washington, D.C.’s evening sky (PHOTOS)

Who doesn’t love mammatus clouds? These eerie, pouch-like structures that develop in sinking air are the atmosphere’s version of bubble-wrap: you want to extend your arms and pop them.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:31 AM ET, 07/06/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Photography

Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 07/05/2012

Did global warming intensify the derecho in Washington, D.C.?

The June 29 derecho, which caused mass destruction from west of Chicago to east of Washington, D.C., blossomed to full fury in a record hot environment. Could the heat added to the atmosphere from manmade greenhouse gases have provided extra fuel to this explosive storm?

By Jason Samenow  |  04:21 PM ET, 07/05/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Climate Change, Thunderstorms

Posted at 08:50 PM ET, 07/04/2012

Post-fireworks storms move through west suburbs

Temperatures have climbed into the 90s and humidity levels are moderate-to-high (dew points upper 60s). The atmosphere was fueled up for possible strong late afternoon and evening thunderstorms, but storms mostly held off through fireworks time.

By Jason Samenow, Ian Livingston and Dan Stillman  |  08:50 PM ET, 07/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 07/03/2012

Dangerous chase: Derecho pursuit in Washington, D.C.

The derecho storm chase was one of the most bizarre, painful, and unique experiences of my storm chasing career. Ian and I both lost camera gear during our scary run along the river bank to the Jefferson Memorial. We were blasted by 70+ mph winds, blinding rain, and flying debris. In the end, I salvaged a few storm photos.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  03:19 PM ET, 07/03/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Photography

Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 07/03/2012

Could forecasters have better predicted the June 29 derecho?

We know a number of facts about the June 29 derecho now. While the United States moves toward becoming a weather ready nation, how could something like this happen with half a day or less of warning? Is it destined to happen again?

By Ian Livingston  |  12:58 PM ET, 07/03/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:58 PM ET, 07/02/2012

Lightning gone wild during Washington D.C.’s derecho

The wind stole the show, but the second most striking feature of Friday night’s derecho was the vivid, almost continuous display of lightning.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:58 PM ET, 07/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Government, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 03:58 PM ET, 07/02/2012

Lightning gone wild during Washington D.C.’s derecho

The wind stole the show, but the second most striking feature of Friday night’s derecho was the vivid, almost continuous display of lightning.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:58 PM ET, 07/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Government, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 07/02/2012

Name the Washington, D.C. derecho of June 29

We are requesting name recommendations for this storm. We welcome your suggestions, but please no names ending in “geddon” or “pocalypse”.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:15 AM ET, 07/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Capital Weather Gang

Posted at 01:47 PM ET, 07/01/2012

Extraordinary energy: Friday night’s derecho in Washington, D.C.

One of the key metrics for evaluating prospects for explosive thunderstorm development is called Convective Available Potential Energy, or CAPE. It’s an estimate of “fuel” available to developing thunderstorms. The CAPE levels Friday night as the derecho approached Washington, D.C. were - in short - astronomical.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:47 PM ET, 07/01/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:15 PM ET, 06/30/2012

Derecho: Behind Washington, D.C.’s destructive thunderstorm outbreak, June 29, 2012

Between 9:30 and 11 p.m. Friday night, one of the most destructive complexes of thunderstorms in memory swept through the entire D.C. area. Packing wind gusts of 60-80 mph, the storm produced extensive damage, downing hundreds of trees, and leaving more than 1 million area-residents without power.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:15 PM ET, 06/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Recaps

Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 06/30/2012

Threat for more damaging storms this afternoon/evening in D.C. area

With more than one million D.C. area residents without power, the last thing we need is another round of damaging storms. Unfortunately, that is a possibility this evening.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:15 AM ET, 06/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 06:45 PM ET, 06/29/2012

Destructive storms roll through D.C. area; Power outages, damage reports throughout region (LIVE BLOG)

An extensive line of fast moving, violent thunderstorms rolled through the Washington, D.C. metro region late Friday. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the D.C. are and a large reason to the south and west through 1 a.m. As the line moved through, damaging wind gusts of nearly 80 mph were reported.

By Jason Samenow and Theodore Kim  |  06:45 PM ET, 06/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:01 PM ET, 06/26/2012

Storming Iwo Jima

Weather conditions never got too bad in Rosslyn on Friday evening, but the view of the storm that moved just to the northeast and hit parts of Maryland and Washington was fairly good and unobstructed.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  04:01 PM ET, 06/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 06/25/2012

Violent thunderstorm tears through Richmond

A severe thunderstorm with hail and damaging winds ripped through Richmond, Virginia area betweem 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

By Jason Samenow  |  04:00 PM ET, 06/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:12 PM ET, 06/25/2012

Microburst! Inside the explosive storm that blasted D.C., Md. (Photos/video)

The setup was simple Friday (June 22) evening. A cold front would clash with a blistering hot and humid air mass parked over the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The atmosphere had all the fuel it needed to trigger some severe thunderstorms. It did that, and damaging winds, torrential rain, and hail raked a narrow area that spanned from Bethesda, Md. through northern Washington, D.C into Landover, Md.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:12 PM ET, 06/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Recaps, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:20 PM ET, 06/22/2012

Severe thunderstorm watch through 9 p.m. for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman Oklahoma has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch through 9 p.m. for the entire Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region. Damaging winds (up to 75 mph) and dangerous lightning are the main hazards in any storms that develop.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:20 PM ET, 06/22/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 06/18/2012

Commentary: We cannot forecast tornado intensity, some false alarms unavoidable

It is essential for meteorology to find ways to decrease the number of false alarms of tornadoes. Yet there is no evidence we have the scientific skill to forecast or warn of tornado intensity.

By Mike Smith  |  03:08 PM ET, 06/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:16 AM ET, 06/14/2012

Storm chasing: Photographs from the Plains, late May into early June 2012

Tornado season typically peaks during May, and the Plains states often referred to as Tornado Alley remain active into June, with less consistent storminess thereafter as summer takes hold. For the second year in a row, a team from the D.C. area gambled on a two-week period to find the perfect storm. The gamble paid off.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:16 AM ET, 06/14/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 02:35 PM ET, 06/13/2012

Overcoming the tornado false alarm problem

Last week, I argued that the National Weather Service needs to confront the tornado false alarm problem. 75 percent of tornado warnings are false alarms in the U.S. My commentary generated a thoughtful discussion on how to address the issue. Readers put forward some great suggestions.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:35 PM ET, 06/13/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms, Media

Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 06/08/2012

Is that a tornado? Wall, scud, shelf and other scary looking clouds

During last Friday’s thunderstorm outbreak, a number of images were passed around as tornadoes that were clearly not tornadoes. Let’s examine a few of the most common scary looking clouds that sometimes are mistakenly called tornadoes.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:39 AM ET, 06/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Education, Latest, Thunderstorms, Recaps

Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 06/07/2012

Maryland had second most tornadoes in single day on June 1

The number of confirmed tornadoes on June 1 in Maryland has risen to 11, a new record for the most tornadoes in a single date for the state. The event passes the previous record of 9 that occurred August 28, 1992.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:44 AM ET, 06/07/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Local Climate

Posted at 01:19 PM ET, 06/04/2012

June 1 severe weather outbreak: 9 tornadoes confirmed in Maryland (VIDEO)

The National Weather Service continues working on post storm surveys for the severe weather that tore through the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas on June 1.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:19 PM ET, 06/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Recaps, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 06/02/2012

June 1 severe weather outbreak: rainfall totals and storm reports around Washington, D.C.

What a wild day yesterday! By my count, the National Weather Service forecast office in Sterling issued 23 tornado warnings, 33 severe thunderstorm warnings, and 8 flash flood warnings between 2 and 10 p.m.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:34 AM ET, 06/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Recaps, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:55 PM ET, 06/01/2012

Tornado watch for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore regions through 2 a.m.; storms moving out (LIVE BLOG)

A tornado watch is in effect for the entire Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro region through 2 a.m. tonight. A volatile, dangerous situation for the mid-Atlantic as a strong, dynamic cold front sweeps through the region this evening. A combination of instability and spin in the atmosphere mean development of violent thunderstorms with damaging winds, large, hail and tornadoes are possible.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:55 PM ET, 06/01/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 06/01/2012

Breaking down today’s thunderstorm threat for Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region

The threat of strong to severe storms today continues. Heavy rain, gusty winds and lightning are likely in storms that develop, and there is the possibility of damaging winds, hail, and a few tornadoes. However, a widespread outbreak of violent storms isn’t a slam dunk.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:25 AM ET, 06/01/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Severe thunderstorm and tornado potential Friday in Washington, D.C. area, a closer look

An ominous set of ingredients are coming together to produce the potential for a severe thunderstorm outbreak in much of the mid-Atlantic Friday, including the Washington and Baltimore metro areas. These storms may affect the region during the afternoon and evening rush hour.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:33 AM ET, 05/31/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 05/30/2012

Tuesday night’s storms produce beneficial rains and dramatic skies

In what has been a tame severe weather season in the Washington, D.C. area, Tuesday night was true to form. Despite the severe thunderstorm watch issued for the area and several flash flood warnings, neither severe weather nor flooding was reported in the immediate metro region.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:30 AM ET, 05/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Local Climate

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/23/2012

Capital Weather Gang introduces ‘Storm Threat Level’ - a new storm preparedness index

Severe weather season is here and the Capital Weather Gang has introduced a new “Storm Threat Level” index aimed at increasing awareness of the potential for severe weather in the D.C. area.

By Dan Stillman  |  10:45 AM ET, 05/23/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Capital Weather Gang, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 05/22/2012

‘When the sirens were silent’ – an important read for learning from the Joplin tornado disaster

Given the intensity of the tornado, at the very top of the scale (EF-5), little could’ve been done to avoid the catastrophic economic losses from the Joplin tornado one year ago. But Mike Smith, in his new book, “When the sirens were silent,” makes a compelling argument that the people of Joplin were let down.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:55 AM ET, 05/22/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 05/21/2012

A year after the Joplin tornado disaster

One year ago tomorrow, Joplin, Missouri was impacted by a most-feared EF-5 tornado with winds over 200 mph. When the early-evening storm was through, and skies began to clear, the devastation left behind by was brutally apparent. Joplin has recovered significantly, if irregularly, in the year that’s passed since the tornado.

By Ian Livingston  |  11:00 AM ET, 05/21/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  History, Latest, Recaps, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 01:03 PM ET, 05/18/2012

Scientist responds to reader’s idea about storm phenomenon

Tom Walker of Alexandria, Va., emailed me the question below about the sidebar to the May 1 story on the big Vortex 2 tornado experiment. The headline for the sidebar says: “Scientists are surprised to find ribbon in thunderstorm data.”

By Jack Williams  |  01:03 PM ET, 05/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Science

Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 05/15/2012

Heavy showers and storms possible through this evening around Washington, D.C.

Sunshine at times today and a moist, tropical flow of air from the south has destabilized the atmosphere and juiced it up for widespread showers and storms late this afternoon into the evening.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:19 PM ET, 05/15/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 05/04/2012

Some “marginal” severe storms possible this afternoon and evening

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center sees the potential for some severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening in the D.C. metro region, but it’s qualified potential. In their latest update, they say there’s a 40 percent chance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being issued. In the graphic above, the threat of damaging winds and large hail is “marginal”.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:09 PM ET, 05/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:18 PM ET, 05/03/2012

IMAX camera finally catches a twister: Tornado Alley review

Studying scary storms such as tornadoes offers has its perks: people are willing to buy tickets to watch your work; such as in the IMAX film “Tornado Alley.” It’s now showing at two Smithsonian Museums.

By Jack Williams  |  01:18 PM ET, 05/03/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Media

Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 04/16/2012

Storm chasing goes mainstream: Is tornado voyeurism killing people?

It’s twister prime time. Increasingly, whenever there are tornadoes, there are people are going to grea extremes to both observe and document them. This is having consequences, putting more people in harm’s way.

By Ian Livingston  |  11:42 AM ET, 04/16/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 04/04/2012

Dallas tornado outbreak: 3 large tornadoes confirmed, no fatalities

The three tornadoes that touched down in the immediate Dallas-Ft. Worth metro region Tuesday were large and violent, at least EF-2 intensity, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service. Yet amazingly, no one died.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:50 PM ET, 04/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  U.S. Weather, Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:42 PM ET, 03/28/2012

Shock stat: Maryland has third highest tornado density in U.S.

Florida, Kansas, and MARYLAND: these three states have experienced the most tornadoes per 10,000 square miles over the last two decades. That’s right - twisters have concentrated more in Maryland than in the tornado hotspots of Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Tennessee, and Alabama.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:42 PM ET, 03/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Local Climate, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 03/28/2012

What is thunderstorm Convective Available Potential Energy, CAPE, and why care?

What in the world is CAPE? It’s a measure of potential thunderstorm energy that uses actual and calculated temperatures and humidity at all altitudes up to more than 40,000 feet. In other words, CAPE estimates the “fuel” available to accelerate air upward.

By Jack Williams  |  11:42 AM ET, 03/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Education

Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 03/28/2012

Slight risk of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening in Washington, D.C. area

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) cautions there’s a slight risk of severe thunderstorms for the central and western portions of the mid-Atlantic into the Ohio Valley this afternoon and evening. This includes the D.C. metro region along and west of I-95.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:18 AM ET, 03/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 02/24/2012

Severe weather outbreak possible for southern and coastal mid-Atlantic; tornado watch issued

A powerful cold front will blast through the mid-Atlantic this afternoon and evening, potentially igniting a line of strong to severe thunderstorms. A tornado watch has been issued for southern Maryland, east central and southeast Virginia, and the eastern Carolinas.

By Jason Samenow  |  12:53 PM ET, 02/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:39 PM ET, 02/23/2012

Will 2012 produce large numbers of tornadoes?

2011 went down in the record books as one of the worst U.S. tornado years on record. Can we say anything about how many tornadoes we’ll have in 2012? That’s debatable but forecasters and research groups are starting to give it a try.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:39 PM ET, 02/23/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Science, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 01/27/2012

Yes, that big boom was late January thunder

More than one deafening crash from the heavens jolted the metro region this morning. The noise was so loud, jarring, and out of season, some did not immediately think “thunder” when they heard the clamor, but were concerned it might be something else, like a blown transformer, a plane crash, a sonic boom, or a bomb. Rest assured, it was thunder. Here’s what happened.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:34 AM ET, 01/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, Science

Posted at 01:59 PM ET, 10/18/2011

About 50 tornadoes in Virginia in 2011, second most on record

After 7 twisters touched down in Virginia last week, the 2011 count has risen to about 50*, second most on record (since 1950) for the state. 2011 ranks only behind 2004, when 87 tornadoes touched down, and just ahead of 2008, when there were 39

By Jason Samenow  |  01:59 PM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Local Climate, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011

Yesterday’s storms: Ground-shaking thunder, plus controversy in College Park

Yesterday’s storms didn’t produce much in the way of damage in the immediate metro area. But they did produce a confirmed tornado near Quantico, put on a thunder and lightning show for many, and stirred some controversy at the University of Maryland in College Park.

By Dan Stillman  |  10:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Recaps, Latest

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 10/13/2011

Chasing the perfect storm: Ten years of thunderstorm photography in Washington, D.C.

Ten years ago, I set out on an effort to photograph thunderstorms in our nation’s capital. At the time, I didn’t have an understanding of photography, and I didn’t know Washington’s streets or popular destinations for photo shoots. Over time, I grew to understand the fundamentals of photography, through trial and error, using lightning bolts as my subjects. I’ve put together a unique collection of Washington images with thunderstorms, rainbows and lightning.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:30 AM ET, 10/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 10/07/2011

Stacking lightning bolts over Washington, D.C.

Stacking lightning photos is becoming a popular technique for lightning and storm photographers. I’ve seen lightning stacks for years, often from storms in the western U.S., but I never tried to lightning stack a Washington thunderstorm. I was quite pleased with the results with stacking Washington thunderstorms. Lightning stacks not only create cool, surreal-looking images, they show the lightning output and lightning distribution of a thunderstorm. It tells the story of the storm in one image.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:54 AM ET, 10/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 09/29/2011

Jefferson’s lightning!

It rained hard for about 15 minutes. When the storm was over, I almost decided to drive home. It appeared the thunderstorm had fizzled, I did not see any lightning.

Then, I noticed a flash of lightning on the eastern horizon. There was no thunder, it was distant lightning.

I walked down to the Tidal Basin and setup my tripod. The visibility was good. The next lightning bolt appeared clearly in the sky over the Jefferson Memorial and I captured it with my digital camera, a Sony A580. I am always happy if I can photograph one lightning bolt. Just one.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:13 AM ET, 09/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:40 PM ET, 09/28/2011

The magical side of the big, pesky upper low

For all of the misery and various plagues (mushrooms, slugs, mosquitoes, etc) brought about by our cloudy, volatile weather pattern, occasionally beauty can be found. Capital Weather Gang Facebook follower Jason Breakiron was in the right place at the right time yesterday evening to capture some amazing cloud forms in the dusk light.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:40 PM ET, 09/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Photography, Thunderstorms

Posted at 05:51 PM ET, 09/15/2011

Tornado or waterspout spotted in Ocean City, Maryland

A waterspout, or possibly a tornado, was spotted by numerous people in Ocean City, Maryland around 4 p.m. this afternoon. Photographs posted to Twitter are inconclusive as to whether the funnel touched down on land, which would classify as it as tornado, or remained over water. The National Weather Service in Wakefield, Va. would only confirm that there were waterspout sightings.

By Jason Samenow  |  05:51 PM ET, 09/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:07 PM ET, 08/21/2011

Evening storm chances down but not out

Radar across the area and to the immediate west has cleared out nicely behind the earlier storms. The Severe T’storm Watch and Flash Flood Watch have both been cancelled, and rain chances appear low over the next couple hours. A few storms are still possible later in the evening, but are far from a sure bet.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:07 PM ET, 08/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 08/19/2011

Torrential rain and hail pound D.C.’s northern suburbs Thursday; rainbows and lightning dazzle

Multiple thunderstorms - sometimes tracking over the same areas - produced hail as large as golf balls, frequent lightning, and tropical downpours in large portions of D.C.’s northern suburbs Thursday afternoon and evening. Before the sun set, light intersecting the intense rain shafts produced vibrant rainbows in many locations.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:50 AM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 07/12/2011

Washington, D.C. enlightened

Exactly one week after photographing the July 4th fireworks in Washington, I was back in Rossyln to photograph a different type of fireworks show. A storm to the east of Washington Monday evening put on a nice light show as it moved across the sky from northwest to southeast.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:40 AM ET, 07/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 03:35 PM ET, 07/05/2011

NOAA: Sunday’s D.C., Arlington storm a “macroburst”

The severe thunderstorm that ripped through Arlington and the District Sunday evening was truly explosive. The image in this post shows the incredible structure of the storm as it developed over Fairfax county. The effervescent cloud evident is a classic example of an overshooting thunderstorm top - penetrating 50,000+ feet into the atmosphere.

By Jason Samenow  |  03:35 PM ET, 07/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/24/2011

Lightning Safety Week and survival stories

Thunderstorm activity has been spotty across the region this week, but the National Weather Service’s 11th annual Lightning Safety Week provides some good reminders of how to stay vigilant during peak thunderstorm season.

By Justin Grieser  |  11:00 AM ET, 06/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 06/23/2011

The tornado-proof home: is it possible?

As of June 22, 2011, the National Weather Service (NWS) estimated that approximately 1,564 tornadoes had ravaged the country so far this year, causing about 536 fatalities. This compares with an annual average of 1,274 for the past decade. Just when we thought the worst of the 2011 tornado season was over, Mother Nature had other ideas and unleashed powerful tornadoes on June 1 in a very unlikely location--western Massachusetts, where at least 3 died in and around Springfield. Although hardly unprecedented, nevertheless the June 1st tornadoes were of unusual severity. And yesterday, a tornado touched down in the vicinity of Louisville, damaging barns at Churchill Downs. With all of these reminders that tornadoes can occur almost anywhere, there’s been renewed interest in what we can do, if anything, to protect ourselves in our homes from these monster storms.

By Don Lipman  |  11:43 AM ET, 06/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 06:55 PM ET, 06/15/2011

Shocking: Tornado death rates in 2011 return to pre-1925 levels

In a briefing delivered by NOAA officials Wednesday afternoon about this past spring’s extreme weather, a stunning slide was displayed. It shows that the number of tornado deaths per million people in 2011 has shot up to levels not seen in the era of modern weather forecasting.

By Jason Samenow  |  06:55 PM ET, 06/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 06:15 PM ET, 06/12/2011

Strong storms move away from region; drier, cooler air moving in

The Severe Thunderstorm Watch that had been in effect until 8 p.m. for the entire metro region has been canceled from the District and to the north and west. To the southeast and east, where the watch remains in effect, storms will move away by 8 p.m. when the watch expires. Much cooler, drier and air is now filtering into the region. A sunny, pleasant Monday is on tap - with low humidity and highs 75-80.

By Jason Samenow  |  06:15 PM ET, 06/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Forecasts

Posted at 02:04 PM ET, 06/10/2011

CNN interview on weather modification & tornadoes: the rest of the story

Just after the devastating Joplin tornado outbreak two weeks ago, I was asked and agreed to do an interview for CNN addressing the seemingly timeless question: Can we do anything to control these devastating demonstrations of Mother Nature’s fury, especially of course, when pitted against the people and infrastructure that dares to get in their way? The interview was motivated by my recent post, Killing killer tornadoes before they strike: Is it possible? What I found most interesting from this experience was less from what was aired than what was not.

By Steve Tracton  |  02:04 PM ET, 06/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Tracton, Thunderstorms, Media, Capital Weather Gang, U.S. Weather

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 06/08/2011

Video: Breathtaking funnel cloud time lapse from Topeka, Kansas

If you’ve never understood why people chase storms, the mesmerizing scene in the video in this post may just open your eyes...

By Jason Samenow  |  07:00 PM ET, 06/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 06/06/2011

Tracking twisters via Twitter

As with all of the other tornado outbreaks during this epic season, I was glued to my Twitter stream last Wednesday watching severe thunderstorms developing from western Massachusetts to northern Maine. The tweets from the weather sources I follow – TV meteorologists, online weather outlets, and news organizations – rapidly grew more urgent after about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. As during the previous outbreaks, it was through Twitter that I found out every tornado warning from almost the moment it was issued, not a television station, radio network, NOAA Weather Radio, or any other news source. I was able to follow the storms’ path through bite-sized morsels of information streamed out in 140 characters or fewer, as three tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts, including one EF3 twister that tracked for nearly 40 miles across the state. For me, the Springfield tornado erased any lingering doubts that Twitter is a top tier source for breaking weather information – and that it is profoundly changing the role of the television weathercaster.

By Andrew Freedman  |  10:20 AM ET, 06/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Freedman, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest, Capital Weather Gang

Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 06/03/2011

Tornado swarm 2011: Overwhelming areal coverage

Through yesterday, a staggering 1425 tornadoes have been reported in the United States in 2011 - the most on record to date. The map (above) shows the majority of the eastern two thirds of the United States has been vicitmized. The notable exception is West Virginia - in a veritable “tornado hole”- and northern New England. But it’s not only the number of tornadoes that has been impressive, but also the intensity. There have been five EF-5 tornadoes (the most violent classification), the most since 1974.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:20 PM ET, 06/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 06/03/2011

Shelf cloud over Fairfax

Late in the afternoon last Friday (one week ago), scattered thunderstorms developed west and north of Washington and moved north-northeast. The arrival of the thunderstorm was proceeded by an ominous-looking shelf cloud that heralded the arrival of gusty winds which was followed several minutes later by heavy rain. I observed about a dozen lightning strikes from my location at Fairfax Town Center, but nothing that I would classify as severe weather. The shelf cloud did look cool as it pushed through the area.

By Kevin Ambrose  |  10:35 AM ET, 06/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 06/02/2011

Springfield tornado not unprecedented in Massachusetts

The tornadoes that struck Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in Alabama, St. Louis and Joplin in Missouri, and now Springfield, Massachusetts should put to rest the myth that twisters don’t hit urban areas. And yesterday’s tornadoes in Springfield and the surrounding region also serve as a powerful reminder that deadly tornadoes can occur almost anywhere - geographically - in the United States. How typical or unusual were the tornadoes in central and western Massachusetts that killed at least four people?

By Jason Samenow  |  10:48 AM ET, 06/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest, U.S. Weather

Posted at 02:35 PM ET, 06/01/2011

Severe thunderstorm watch until 10 p.m. for entire metro region

As a cold front collides with our hot, juicy and unstable atmosphere, thunderstorms may explode onto the scene this afternoon. As such a severe thunderstorm watch covers the region through 10 p.m. tonight. Hail to two inches in diameter and damaging winds to 70 mph are possible with storms that develop.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:35 PM ET, 06/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 06/01/2011

Old “Ben” and his Franklin lightning rod

As most of us know, Ben Franklin had a childhood fascination with electricity, performing early experiments with static electricity and later, the Leyden jar, a device that “stores” electricity (a capacitor). Eventually, he performed his famous kite experiment, in which he supposedly flew a kite into a thunderstorm and held a metal key on the other end to test his theory that lightning was a form of static electricity. Or did he? Unfortunately, we don’t know for sure. Franklin was very diligent about recording all of his important activities in his diary, where there is no mention of that experiment. Nevertheless, whether Franklin himself actually performed the experiment or not, he was able to greatly benefit from what was learned and subsequently invented what he called the “Franklin rod,” a device to help protect structures from lightning-caused fires.

By Don Lipman  |  12:00 PM ET, 06/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, History, Lipman, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:55 PM ET, 05/31/2011

Tornado chasing: On a downward spiral or providing public value?

Tornado chasing, largely limited to a small cadre of research scientists, photographers, and thrill seekers in the 1970s into the early 1980s, has transformed into a large and growing industry. Everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the action and these swirling vortices are swarming the TV networks and cyberspace - from reality TV to documentaries to movies to You Tube videos. They’ve even spawned a cottage tourism trade where you can fly to the Midwest and ride along with “expert” chasers. Earlier today, Andrew Freedman wrote about “Our Tornado Voyeurism Problem” - i.e. our obsession with viewing these violent storms, potentially putting ourselves and even others in harms way. But is there value in public tornado chasing?

By Jason Samenow  |  01:55 PM ET, 05/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/31/2011

Our Tornado Voyeurism Problem

During this tragic tornado season, we have been inundated with awe-inspiring videos of tornadoes ripping apart communities, from Joplin, Mo., to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Raleigh, N.C. – and places in between. While lives are being lost, many of the videos show amateur chasers cheering the unprecedented weather, too caught up in the thrill of witnessing Mother Nature at her rarest (and deadliest) to comprehend the decidedly grim reality of what is taking place.

By Andrew Freedman  |  10:45 AM ET, 05/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest, Freedman

Posted at 01:12 PM ET, 05/27/2011

Severe T’storm Watch for D.C. area until 8 p.m.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire metro area until 8 p.m.

By Capital Weather Gang  |  01:12 PM ET, 05/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 05/26/2011

Roadtripping the Great Plains: Starring a lull in the 2011 tornado season

During the epic 2011 tornado season, storm chasing must be easy, right? Well, it depends on the timing. Still, the Plains offer up some storms even in a quieter time, and even without, the views are awesome.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:30 AM ET, 05/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Photography, U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 05/25/2011

May 24 Plains tornado outbreak moves into Midwest and Ohio Valley today

The tornado season that keeps on giving is setting up for another major event today, targeting the Mississippi Valley and east after a significant outbreak yesterday in the Plains.

By Ian Livingston  |  01:00 PM ET, 05/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/25/2011

Mind-boggling tornado count, deaths raise hard questions about causes, warnings & response

This year’s barrage of violent twisters has people asking questions about everything from the impact of climate change on tornadoes, to the accuracy and effectiveness of short-term severe weather warnings.

By Andrew Freedman  |  10:00 AM ET, 05/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Freedman, Climate Change, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/24/2011

Another tornado outbreak feared for Plains as more storms fire up

Providing no rest for the weary, another significant tornado outbreak is forecast to take place during the next two days, with the greatest risk today in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, North Texas and Missouri – including the hard-hit community of Joplin, Mo.

By Andrew Freedman  |  12:00 PM ET, 05/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 05/23/2011

Joplin, Missouri: Town trampled by tornado

The incredible, in­cred­ibly devastating, and in­cred­ibly heartbreaking tornado season of 2011 continues. Joplin, M.O., was the center of the latest episode, which unfolded in dramatic fashion yesterday as a violent tornado demolished numerous homes, buildings and entire neighborhoods.

By Dan Stillman  |  01:20 PM ET, 05/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 05/23/2011

Severe T’storm Watch for D.C. area until 6 p.m.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire metro area until 6 p.m.

By Dan Stillman  |  11:05 AM ET, 05/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/19/2011

Video: Hail to Leesburg, and to Fredericksburg

What happens when you mix together cold air high in the atmosphere, moist flow off the ocean and a hot May sun? You get thunderstorms capable of producing hail. That’s what occurred Wednesday afternoon and evening, and the towns of Leesburg and Fredericks were recipients of an outpouring of hail they won’t soon forget.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 AM ET, 05/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 05/18/2011

Severe thunderstorm watch through 9 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the entire metro region through 9 p.m. this evening. Storms with heavy rain (capable of flash flooding), dangerous lightning, damaging winds to 70 mph and hail are possible. In addition, there is a small risk of tornadoes.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:45 PM ET, 05/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Forecasts, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 05/18/2011

Tornado sighted near Hagerstown, Md. Tuesday: video

With winds aloft from the south and from the east at ground level, the atmosphere was spinning last night. Perhaps not surprisingly, there were multiple reports of a funnel cloud northwest of Hagerstown in Maugansville last night between about 8:10 and 8:15 p.m. Video, photos and reports seem pretty conclusive a tornado touched down.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 AM ET, 05/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 05/17/2011

Airline safety: Is the fear of a lightning strike warranted? JetBlue plane struck

On December 8, 1963, a 5-year old Boeing 707 Pan American World Airways jetliner crashed near Elkton, MD, killing a total of 73 passengers and 8 crew members. The plane, en route from Puerto Rico, had stopped at Baltimore and was on its initial approach to Philadelphia, the final destination. Since thunderstorms were in the vicinity, it was thought that lightning had caused the vapors in a reserve fuel tank to explode. Before you come to the conclusion that lightning represents an extreme hazard for commercial aviation, you should know that that accident—almost 50 years ago--represents the last time that lightning was responsible for commercial U.S. airline casualties. A very good record indeed! Nevertheless, lightning does strike airliners all the time.

By Don Lipman  |  02:00 PM ET, 05/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Lipman, Latest, Science, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 05/16/2011

Despite warning, St. Louis tornado caught airport, passengers off guard

On the night of April 22nd, over at Concourse A at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Carla Hall, a former contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef”, was waiting for her return flight to DC after a week of shooting webisodes for Fancy Feast and Purina. Unbeknownst to Hall, most others in the airport, and even airline pilots, a violent tornado was heading straight for the airport.The St. Louis tornado revealed important gaps about aviation safety, including how airport authorities, airline pilots, and passengers receive severe weather information.

By Andrew Freedman  |  12:55 PM ET, 05/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Freedman, Latest, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 05/11/2011

On the storm chase: Tornadoes possible today in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

A storm system progressing into the Great Plains may spark a severe weather outbreak today. For storm chasers in the region, including Ian Livingston from the Capital Weather Gang, it provides an opportunity to see significant action following a quiet period during the typical peak of the season.

By Ian Livingston  |  10:21 AM ET, 05/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest, U.S. Weather

Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 05/06/2011

Killing killer tornadoes before they strike: Is it possible?

With the number of destructive and killer tornadoes this year already reaching historic levels thoughts often dwell to the question whether we can subdue the beast through varying approaches for weather control. The same occurred the same occurred following the exceptional onslaught of disastrous hurricanes, including Katrina that struck the U.S. in 2005. In following years a number of proposals emerged (or reemerged) for subduing the threat of hurricanes by reducing their strength and/or steering them away from where they would do the most harm. Aside from extreme events, weather modification has been a subject of considerable interest, for example in regard to rain making to alleviate droughts, keeping rain off the Beijing Olympics and snow outside the Moscow city limits. None of these efforts have been convincingly demonstrated to be effective and probably never will (personal opinion). So what do we know about the much more difficult problem of the subduing tornadoes?

By Steve Tracton  |  11:42 AM ET, 05/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Tracton, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 05/05/2011

Storm warning expert: Power outages a principal cause of high Alabama tornado death toll

On Wednesday, we explored some possible reasons for the high number of fatalities from last week’s horrible tornado outbreak in Alabama and other parts of the South. These included the intensity of the tornadoes and their fast forward motion, the high mobile home density, the abundance of trees (which made the storms hard to see), complacency (i.e. “this won’t happen here” mentality) and power failures from storms earlier in the day which knocked out essential communications. Meteorologist Mike Smith, CEO of WeatherData and author of “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather” believes the power outages were indeed the primary cause of the high death toll.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:00 PM ET, 05/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest, U.S. Weather

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 05/03/2011

Alabama tornado outbreak: why did so many people die?

Almost a week has passed since last Wednesday’s historic tornado outbreak in the South. Tragically, the death toll has reached around 350. In Tuscaloosa, Al, more than 200 people remain missing. It is still difficult to fathom how this catastrophic weather event could have happened, but several excellent blog posts have provided insight into the extreme environmental conditions that gave rise to such a violent outbreak and the societal factors that led to the large loss of life.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:00 PM ET, 05/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/03/2011

April tornado count estimate highest on record

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center is now estimating around 600 tornadoes touched down last month, far exceeding any previous April.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:45 AM ET, 05/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest, U.S. Weather

Posted at 03:15 PM ET, 05/02/2011

The problematic confusion about difference between tornado watches and warnings

During the tornado outbreak last Wednesday and Thursday that spun up 19 twisters in the region, my colleague and Metro section columnist John Kelly tweeted out: “Am I the only person who can’t tell a tornado WATCH from a tornado WARNING? Hard to remember the difference. They need better names.”

By Jason Samenow  |  03:15 PM ET, 05/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 05/02/2011

Alabama tornado outbreak visuals: jaw-dropping radar and satellite imagery

This post contains some of the most extraordinary imagery from Wednesday’s deadly and historic tornado outbreak in the South. The latest reports indicate fatalies from the outbreak now exceed 342 people, surpassing the number of deaths from the 1974, and the most people killed by tornadoes in a two-period since April 5-6, 1936 (when 454 people died).

By Jason Samenow  |  10:45 AM ET, 05/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 02:45 PM ET, 04/29/2011

Greg Carbin: On call at NOAA’s storm center

Greg Carbin is the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Okla., which has 43 employees, including more than 20 meteorologists. This federal center issues forecasts and watches for severe thu nderstorms and tornadoes across the entire United States. I talked with Carbin about his experience during Wednesday’s devastating tornado outbreak in the South.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:45 PM ET, 04/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Government, Latest

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 04/29/2011

April 27-28, 2011 tornado outbreak: Numerous tornadic storms impacted the D.C. region as well

Nearly 40 tornado warnings were issued across the broader NWS Baltimore/Washington area on April 27-28. Some even produced tornadoes.

By Ian Livingston  |  11:18 AM ET, 04/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Recaps, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 04/28/2011

Tornado outbreak for the record books: how did deadly, destructive event happen and what does it mean?

The devastating tornadoes that chewed up swaths of the South and Southeast yesterday were rare, mile-wide plus beasts, causing hideous damage, including denuded trees, flattened buildings, and pancaked cars. Thanks to the 139 tornadoes reported Wednesday (this number will change as the National Weather Service conducts their damage assessments), April 2011 has now almost certainly seen more tornadoes than any other April on record since 1954, beating out 1954, when an estimated 407 tornadoes descended from the heavens.

By Andrew Freedman and Brian Jackson  |  12:50 PM ET, 04/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 04/28/2011

Tornado watch east and southeast of D.C. through 3 p.m.

Since just after 2 p.m. yesterday, the metro region has been under a tornado watch. By the time it expires at 3 p.m. (unless it’s canceled early), the watch will have run for more than a full day, longer than I have ever witnessed in this region. A Flash Flood Watch also covers the region through 3 p.m. Thunderstorms, some rotating, will continue moving from southwest to northeast through the metro region. Much of the activity has tracked through the far western suburbs this morning - from Fauquier county into Loudoun, eastern Frederick and western Montgomery county up into Carroll county. As the morning wears on, storms developing to the southwest should target the immediate metro region and then the eastern suburbs by midday into the early afternoon. Torrential rain, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible in storms moving through.

By Jason Samenow  |  12:30 PM ET, 04/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 04/27/2011

Tornado watch until 8 p.m. for entire metro region

The Storm Prediction Center has extended the tornado watch issued to cover the entire DC metro region. Tornadoes, hail to 2 inches in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts to 70 mph, and dangerous lightning are possible.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:09 PM ET, 04/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 11:13 AM ET, 04/27/2011

Washington D.C. area’s worst five tornado events

The tornado season in 2011, off to a fast and furious start, is likely to become one for the record books. Thus far, the Washington, D.C. metro region has largely been spared, with only very weak tornadoes in the region. While the Washington area does not get the quantity or usually the severity of tornadoes that impact the states to our west, we have experienced a number of dangerous twisters over the past century. This post contains a list of what I consider to be the Washington, D.C. area’s top five most damaging and deadly tornadoes...

By Kevin Ambrose  |  11:13 AM ET, 04/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  History, Photography, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 04/26/2011

Despite reports, no legitimate April tornado record ...yet

The Weather Channel has reported 2011 has set a new record for the most April tornadoes. There’s just one problem: that’s not really the case ...yet.

By Jason Samenow  |  07:00 PM ET, 04/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 04/26/2011

Dangerous severe weather outbreak threatens for second straight day

Yesterday, more than 400 severe weather reports were logged by the National Weather Service, including 38 tornado reports. The worst tornado, estimated to be one half mile wide, occurred in Vilonia, Arkansas where there was major structural damage and at least four lives were lost. In many of the same areas where severe weather occurred yesterday, there is a moderate to high risk of severe thunderstorms today. In addition to severe thunderstorms, significant flooding has occurred and is ongoing.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:09 PM ET, 04/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 04/25/2011

Are La Nina and global warming behind the extreme tornado activity?

Tornadoes have been descending from angry skies with a frequency that may become unmatched in official records of April twisters. Cities, small towns, rural hamlets - even international airports - have suffered severe damage. The atmosphere has been behaving like an unruly teenager, with 275 tornadoes recorded so far this month. What, if anything, might La Nina and global warming have to do with this?

By Andrew Freedman  |  12:15 PM ET, 04/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Climate Change, Thunderstorms, Freedman, Latest

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/25/2011

St. Louis Lambert Airport tornado: stunning video, photos and facts

By now most have heard about the tornado that carved a devastating 22 mile path just north of St. Louis Friday, ripping through Lambert International Airport, shattering hundreds of glass panes, peeling off a large section of roof from a concourse and blowing a shuttle bus on top of a concrete wall.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 09:40 PM ET, 04/24/2011

Thunderstorms possible thru the evening

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the entire metro region through 9 p.m. Thunderstorms with damaging winds to 70 mph and large hail up to 1” diameters are possible in storms that form.

By Jason Samenow and Ian Livingston  |  09:40 PM ET, 04/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 04/22/2011

A hurricane in outer space, and a flying saucer in the Texas sky

Are the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space trading places? See the images in this post. To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit this week, NASA pointed it at this pair of interacting galaxies known as Arp 273. The stars in the foreground are from the Milky Way. The swirl of the distant gallery looks like a hurricane to me.The exploding mass of thunderstorms over Texas Wednesday - shown below - might remind you of something out of this world, like a flying saucer. But to AccuWeather’s Jesse Ferrell (who acquired the imagery), it most resembles... a cheeseburger.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:15 AM ET, 04/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 04/20/2011

Powerful storm plows east, weakens some

Another big round of severe weather smacked the east central U.S. yesterday, resulting in just shy of 900 storm reports for high winds (493), large hail (349) and tornadoes (34). The responsible storm system, which also dropped 2-10 inches of snow in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin ( a record 9.9 inches in Green Bay) and northern Michigan, lifts northeastward today, dragging a cold front through the East. Some severe thunderstorms are possible along the front, but they should be far less numerous than yesterday.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:00 PM ET, 04/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 06:30 PM ET, 04/18/2011

Tornadoes reported in Frederick, Carroll counties Saturday and near Leesburg

Tornadoes touched down in several places in Frederick and Carroll counties during Saturday’s severe weather outbreak in the region according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service (NWS). Unlike the storms in the Carolinas and southeast Virginia, these storms were relatively weak, and caused only minor damage and no injuries.

By Jason Samenow  |  06:30 PM ET, 04/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 04/18/2011

Massive three-day tornado outbreak kills dozens; storm video and imagery

One of the largest three-day tornado outbreaks in history swept across the country Thursday through Saturday, with 241 tornado reports in 14 states, and killing at least 45 people. Although the official tally of confirmed tornadoes is still being counted as meteorologists complete storm damage surveys, it’s already obvious that this was no ordinary early-spring severe weather event.

By Andrew Freedman  |  11:45 AM ET, 04/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Freedman, Latest, Latest

Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 04/16/2011

Tornado watch issued, runs until 9 p.m.

Storms approaching from the west will arrive during the late afternoon. They may contain damaging winds or tornadoes.

By Ian Livingston and Dan Stillman  |  09:00 PM ET, 04/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Alerts, Latest, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 04/15/2011

Image of day: Explosive tornado producing Oklahoma storms from space, Texas fire

Over the course of just a few hours Thursday afternoon and evening, a seemingly harmless band of clouds stretching across central Oklahoma exploded into violent, rotating thunderstorms that produced multiple tornadoes. In the later frames of the video in this post, notice how clouds appear to bubble up. That’s evidence of overshooting tops - dome-like protrusions in the thunderstorm’s anvil, often indicative of severe storms. This animation also nicely illustrates the swirl and intensification of low pressure over western Kansas. Finally, if you look closely, you can see smoke extending from a fire in north central Texas, currently suffering from severe drought.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:45 PM ET, 04/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/15/2011

Video of large, multi-vortex, killer tornado in Oklahoma

The tornado outbreak forecast for eastern Oklahoma Thursday lived up to its potential, spawning at least eight tornadoes in the Sooner state. Tragically, one of the storms killed two elderly sisters in Tushka, Oklahoma and completely destroyed at least five school buildings.

By Jason Samenow  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather, Latest

Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 04/11/2011

Should forecasters rank thunderstorm intensity?

Imagine watching the radar as a line of thunderstorms approaches and as you mouse over the various storms, instantly seeing how intense they are on a scale from 1-5? That’s AccuWeather Henry Margusity’s vision for his “T Scale” which ranks thunderstorms based on a set of six criteria.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:30 PM ET, 04/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Capital Weather Gang, Latest

Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 04/11/2011

Twin tornadoes at night caught on tape in Iowa, chasers go berserk

Multiple tornadoes ripped through western Iowa, Saturday, including one which leveled 20 percent of the town of Mapleton. Roughly 100 mile to the northeast in Pocahontas, a team of storm chasers captured some the most incredible night time tornado footage I have ever seen. Watch, as the chasers, assisted by near-constant lightning, capture on tape not one, but two tornadoes.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:10 AM ET, 04/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 02:35 PM ET, 04/06/2011

Image of day: 58,398 tornadoes, all in one place

NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Lab created a map depicting all of the ”tornado events” reported between January 1, 1950 and December 31, 2010.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:35 PM ET, 04/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 02:07 PM ET, 04/05/2011

Recapping this morning’s severe storms

An intense thunderstorm squall line raced through the metro region between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. producing powerful winds and torrential rain. But as the storms passed by at a stunning 60-80 mph clip, the worst of the weather was in and out of most areas in about 10-15 minutes. Five tornado warnings, five severe thunderstorm warnings and four special marine warnings were issued by the National Service (NWS) as the storms tore through.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:07 PM ET, 04/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 04/05/2011

More than 1100 severe storm reports last 24 hours, new record

By Jason Samenow  |  12:36 PM ET, 04/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  U.S. Weather, Thunderstorms, Latest

Posted at 07:49 PM ET, 03/23/2011

Strong storms weakening, moving away

A line of strong to severe thunderstorms, with a history of hail and damaging wind, is fast approaching the metro region, and should pass through between 7:45 and 10 p.m. from west to east. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect through 11 p.m.

By Jason Samenow and Dan Stillman  |  07:49 PM ET, 03/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 02:51 PM ET, 03/23/2011

Risk of strong storms, hail through this evening

A complex set of ingredients in the atmosphere may come together this evening for significant hail to impact portions of the metro region.

By Jason Samenow  |  02:51 PM ET, 03/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 06:28 PM ET, 03/07/2011

Active U.S. spring severe weather season likely

The predictions of several independent long-range forecast outlets support a very busy severe weather season across the middle portion of the U.S. from east of the Rockies to near the East Coast.

By Jason Samenow  |  06:28 PM ET, 03/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Latest, Thunderstorms, U.S. Weather

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 11/30/2010

Flooding, thunderstorm risk for Wed. a.m. rush

The timing of the big, bad cold front to huff and puff and blow through the region tomorrow could not be worse. At the moment, the frontal passage looks to occur between 5-10 a.m. from west to east across the metro region.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:00 PM ET, 11/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 07:30 PM ET, 11/18/2010

Tornado touched down in Baltimore Tues. night

The National Weather Service in Sterling has confirmed a tornado carved a 0.4 mile path through in northeast Baltimore (Hamilton) and Parkville in Baltimore County Tuesday night (or early Wednesday morning). The twister, linked to three minor injuries, grew to a maximum width of 250 yards wide and packed peak winds of around 100 mph. The storm was classified as category one on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) tornado scale, which ranges from zero to five.

By Jason Samenow  |  07:30 PM ET, 11/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 07:30 PM ET, 10/28/2010

Security camera records tornado taking out trailers

Two maintenance trailers were there and then they were gone. All it took was a wicked tornado and three seconds. Watch the video above and be patient: the destruction occurs 45 seconds in. The twister occurred at Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga, Tenn, on Tuesday (Oct. 26, 2010).

By Jason Samenow  |  07:30 PM ET, 10/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 09:45 AM ET, 10/25/2010

Video: "We are in the tornado" from Rice, Texas

Sunday evening, Eric Meyers - an emergency management coordinator in Navarro County, Texas, recorded his incredibly encounter with a powerful tornado. In the remarkable video, shown above, Meyers yells repeatedly: "We are in the tornado" - although it appears he is just outside the twister, getting pummeled by debris.

By Jason Samenow  |  09:45 AM ET, 10/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 10/13/2010

Interview with tornado chaser Reed Timmer

Discovery Channel's docu-drama Storm Chasers kicks off its fourth season tonight at 10 p.m. ET. The Capital Weather Gang and readers submitted questions to "extreme chaser" and program star Reed Timmer. Timmer responds...

By Jason Samenow  |  10:30 AM ET, 10/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 10/12/2010

"Hail" mageddon in Brooklyn, New York

The New York City region, blasted by two tornadoes last month and one in June, was raked by a cluster of severe thunderstorms last night. The storms, whose lightning delayed the Packers-Jets game, produced accumulating hail of nearly an inch in parts of Brooklyn.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:45 AM ET, 10/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 10/11/2010

Golf ball marks from heaven and hail

No, those indentations in that poor putting green (shown above) aren't due to countless inconsiderate golfers (though I've played on some greens resembling that). Those marks come courtesy an aerial assault from the heavens. The National Weather Service in Wichita, KS reports a thunderstorm produced a massive hailstorm in the vicinity of that golf course on September 15. In some areas, the hail stones were larger than softballs. The biggest stone had a circumference of 15.7 inches (39.9 cm), weighed 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) and had a diameter of 7.75 inches (19.7 cm), a new state record for Kansas.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 PM ET, 10/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:50 PM ET, 10/08/2010

Reed Timmer, tornado chaser: Ask him questions

Next Wednesday (Oct. 13) at 10 p.m. (ET), Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" spins up the first episode in its fourth season. he action packed series about the pursuit of tornadoes will document how its expert chasers, Reed Timmer and Chris Chittick, "used their science background and tracking skills to save lives during one of the most violent storm seasons on record" according to Discovery. Please comment below with your questions about tornado chasing for "extreme" chaser Reed Timmer.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:50 PM ET, 10/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 09/27/2010

Tornado risk: why today's storms may spin

There is an elevated tornado risk today into tonight and tornado warnings have already been issued in the Maryland suburbs. What's the cause? It turns out there is an unusual amount of spin in the atmosphere due to changing winds in different layers of the atmosphere above us.

By Jason Samenow  |  01:00 PM ET, 09/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 08:30 PM ET, 08/04/2010

Storms weaken while passing through area

* Heat Advisory for entire area 11 a.m. thru 8 p.m. Thursday * * The great weathercaster switch | Heat records falling left and right * * Outside now? Radar, lightning, temps & more: Weather Wall * 8:30 p.m. update: As I suspected might happen, these storms weakened as they...

By Jason Samenow  |  08:30 PM ET, 08/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 07/28/2010

Were you caught off-guard by Sunday's storms?

For those outside and/or away from television or digital communication devices, the combination of the storm's swift arrival, power and fury was undoubtedly surprising, if not startling.

By Jason Samenow  |  10:45 AM ET, 07/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/14/2010

Thunderstorms: Fickle & capricious for sure

It was on June 14, 1989 that one of the most severe thunderstorms to strike the metro area in many years hit a relatively small portion of Northwest Washington and Bethesda, Maryland during the late afternoon rush hour. I

By Don Lipman  |  11:00 AM ET, 06/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 05/20/2010

There is hail, and there is hail

So Capital Weather Gang visitor tagryn shot this video in Waldorf last Friday, when severe thunderstorms tore through the area, producing some impressive hail:

By Jason Samenow  |  12:30 PM ET, 05/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms | Tags:  dc hail, hail, oklahoma city hailstorm, oklahoma hail, waldorf md hail

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/15/2010

Storms produce big hail in parts of area

Hailstones as large as 1-2" in diameter (to around the size of golf balls) pelted parts of the D.C. area last night. (And yes, we realize some of you missed out completely with nary a drop of rain.) Check out the video below of hail in Bethesda, Md., last evening, taken by CWG visitor mistertx1.

By Capital Weather Gang  |  12:00 PM ET, 05/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/23/2010

Severe storm, tornado season cranks up

After a quiet start to the spring severe weather season, more than 30 tornadoes ripped across the Plains on Thursday with more than 100 severe reports altogether. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) expects the severe threat to continue today into tonight, shifting several hundred miles to the east.

By Ian Livingston  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 07/17/2009

NWS, Red Cross Align on Tornado Advice

* Severe T-Storm Watch: Full Forecast | Nats-Cubs Forecast * Photo courtesy NSSL. Back in May, we told you that the the American Red Cross (ARC) and National Weather Service (NWS) had agreed to disagree on the recommended action of last resort when confronted by an approaching tornado while in...

By Steve Tracton  |  10:30 AM ET, 07/17/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/24/2009

Lightning Safety: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

5 tips to stay safe from lightning * Heating Up: Full Forecast | NatCast | How Many 90-Degree Days? * Lightning strikes near the Air Force Memorial in June 2008. By CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose. I used to teach lightning safety to kids, and I had to find a balance...

By Ann Posegate  |  11:00 AM ET, 06/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/12/2009

Are You a Severe Weather Junkie?

Wx and the City * Full Forecast | Storm Chase on I-95 | Wx and the City Archive * Clouds build over Adams Morgan in advance of Tuesday afternoon's storms. Copyright Kristian Whipple. Are you a severe weather junkie? There's a level of weather addiction (for some of us) that...

By Ann Posegate  |  11:00 AM ET, 06/12/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 08/15/2008

Haiku Forecast

Wx and the City By Ann Posegate Forecasts can be complicated and uncertain. So, here's your plain and simple weather report for the day: Goin' on a date? Bring an umbrella for two Thunderstorms likely. (It's ok to count the syllables...I won't be offended.) Can you Haiku the forecast too?...

By Capital Weather Gang  |  11:30 AM ET, 08/15/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:02 AM ET, 07/22/2008

Alert: Watch, Warnings Issued as Storms Move In

UPDATE: Severe Thunderstorm Warnings in effect for St. Mary's and Calvert Counties until 11:45 a.m., and for Talbot County until 12:15 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect until 4 p.m. for Fairfax and Montgomery Counties, the District, and points east. Strong storms are moving into the immediate metro area. Heavy...

By Capital Weather Gang  |  10:02 AM ET, 07/22/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Thunderstorms

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 06/17/2008

"We Are In the Tornado"

Last week, four boy scouts tragically lost their lives when a tornado struck their camp in western Iowa. Storm chasers following the storm accidentally got caught in it and captured this jaw-dropping video: Remember the video we showed a few weeks ago when cars were flung through the air? These...

By Jason Samenow  |  07:00 PM ET, 06/17/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 06/16/2008

Not Again! Moderate Risk of Severe Storms

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center threat map paints a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms over much of the area today. In a normal year, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) places the metro area under a "moderate risk" for severe storms maybe once or twice. But this has been no ordinary year...

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 AM ET, 06/16/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 06/12/2008

How Not to React to a Tornado Siren

Could this lady be any less panicked? (make sure to watch with sound)......

By Dan Stillman  |  10:45 AM ET, 06/12/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 06/06/2008

Eyewitness Recounts Apparent Tornado Sighting

[5:00 p.m. update: National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in the location described and photographed by eyewitness Jerry Bahorich below. Maximum winds were estimated at 95 mph, the path length was 1.5 miles long and the twister was 50-100 yards wide. The twister crossed the path...

By Jason Samenow  |  12:15 PM ET, 06/06/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 08:11 AM ET, 05/31/2008

NOAA: Moderate Risk of Severe Thunderstorms

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the storm threat from slight to moderate today. A moderate risk indicates a potential for a greater concentration of severe thunderstorms than the slight risk, and in most situations, greater magnitude of the severe weather. It is fairly unusual for our area to be...

By Jason Samenow  |  08:11 AM ET, 05/31/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 04:01 PM ET, 05/22/2008

Unbelievable Tornado Video from Colorado

See CNN.com: It's Huge....

By Capital Weather Gang  |  04:01 PM ET, 05/22/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 05/21/2008

Are Tornadoes Becoming More Common?

Dave Fahrenthold's article in today's Washington Post reports it's hard to say. For more reading on this subject, see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center's tornado climatology page, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center's tornado trends page, and the technical paper by NOAA scientists "Tornado Trends...

By Jason Samenow  |  01:00 PM ET, 05/21/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 05/13/2008

Projectile Automobiles

Watch the video below to understand why it's a bad idea to be in your car when a tornado strikes. This incredible video was captured by a surveillance camera from an equipment company in northern Alabama on Thursday according to the National Weather Service....

By Jason Samenow  |  01:00 PM ET, 05/13/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/29/2008

Inside the Suffolk, Va. Tornado

[Update, 10:15 p.m.: The National Weather Service (NWS) rated the Suffolk tornado a "3" on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It has put together an excellent page with imagery, video, photos and its storm assessment.] We preempt the Weekly Top Five to provide an inside look at yesterday's tornado that flattened...

By Jason Samenow  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/29/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 03/17/2008

Comment of the Week: Thunderstorm Winds

Each week, the Capital Weather Gang will search for an outstanding reader comment to potentially highlight on the blog. We found a good one this week. In response to Dan Stillman's "Weather 101: The Madness to March Winds", 'Mike' provided this insightful commentary : ...[T]here is another big factor in...

By Jason Samenow  |  07:00 PM ET, 03/17/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Thunderstorms