2:10 p.m. update: The Storm Prediction Center has extended the tornado watch issued to cover the entire metro region through 8 p.m.. Tornadoes, hail to 2 inches in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts to 70 mph, and dangerous lightning are possible.
At the moment, no signficant thunderstorms are in the metro region, but may develop later this afternoon.
Unlike the rather dire warning language for watches issued in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, the National Weather Service is fairly reserved in its discussion of the tornado risk in our region:
THE TORNADO THREAT IS NOT PARTICULARLY HIGH...BUT SUFFICIENT LOW LEVEL SHEAR IS PRESENT FOR A RISK OF ISOLATED SPIN UPS IN THE MOST INTENSE SUPERCELLS.
In other words, the chance of long-tracked, large, highly destructive tornadoes is relatively low in our area. Nonetheless, all tornadoes are dangerous. A tornado WATCH means there is the potential for tornadoes to develop. A tornado WARNING means a thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado has been detected by radar and/or a tornado has been spotted. If a tornado warning is issued, take cover immediately in an interior room in the lowest level of your home/location. Do not attempt to ride out a tornado in your car or a mobile home.
Stay tuned to the Capital Weather Gang for updates on developing thunderstorms and warnings that are issued. You can also follow our Twitter feed, @capitalweather (for updates and warnings) or @dcWeatherAlerts (for warnings only).
From 2:00 p.m:. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for locations generally west and south of the immediate D.C. metro area until 8 p.m. Some nearby counties within the watch include Clark, Fauquier, Stafford, and King George - all in Virginia. No Maryland counties are included in the watch.