Towering storms unload rain, hail, gusty winds, lots of lightning (PHOTOS)


Multiple lightning exposures over the Jefferson Memorial combined into a single image from May 27, 2014 (Kevin Ambrose)

Steamy, unstable air blasting north ahead of a southward sliding cold front fueled a vigorous line of thunderstorms Tuesday evening.

The storms began as a cluster of individual storms to our north and west before they congealed into a single line over the metro region.

Severe weather reports were scattered, but there were multiple instances of of large hail (at least half an inch in diameter) and damaging winds (58 mph or higher) logged by the National Weather Service. See the list at the bottom of this post.

The storms, whose clouds tops penetrated 50,000 feet into the atmosphere (reaching temperatures as cold as -75C), unleashed torrential rain and frequent lightning.


Infrared satellite image at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (WeatherTap/Jeff Halverson)
Lightning density summary Tuesday (D.C. Lightning Mapping Array)
Lightning density summary Tuesday (D.C. Lightning Mapping Array)

Rainfall amounts were generally around 0.5-1″ (0.91″ at Reagan National and 0.48″ at Dulles), but some areas received as much as 1-2″ in just 1-2 hours.

Here are some photos from the storm:

Here is some video:

The storm in Haymarket (wind):

The storm in Arlington (lightning):

Storm reports

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
915 PM EDT TUE MAY 27 2014

..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
            ..REMARKS..

0427 PM     HAIL             1 SW LEWISTOWN          39.52N  77.43W
05/27/2014  E0.90 INCH       FREDERICK          MD   PUBLIC

            NICKEL SIZED HAIL REPORTED AT MOUNTAINDALE CONVENIENCE
            STORE

0439 PM     HAIL             2 SSW LEWISTOWN         39.51N  77.43W
05/27/2014  E0.75 INCH       FREDERICK          MD   TRAINED SPOTTER

0555 PM     HAIL             POTOMAC                 39.03N  77.20W
05/27/2014  E1.00 INCH       MONTGOMERY         MD   PUBLIC

            AT INTERSECTION OF RIDGE RD AND RIVER RD

0613 PM     TSTM WND DMG     2 WSW MONTGOMERY VILLAG 39.17N  77.22W
05/27/2014                   MONTGOMERY         MD   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREES DOWN ON ROUTE 355 AND HIGH POINT DR

0632 PM     TSTM WND GST     2 N GERMANTOWN          39.20N  77.26W
05/27/2014  M58 MPH          MONTGOMERY         MD   PUBLIC

            50 KT GUST MEASURED IN GERMANTOWN MD.

0635 PM     HAIL             COLLEGE PARK            39.00N  76.93W
05/27/2014  E0.75 INCH       PRINCE GEORGES     MD   PUBLIC

            DIME SIZE HAIL REPORTED BY PUBLIC.

0635 PM     TSTM WND DMG     1 S RESTON              38.93N  77.35W
05/27/2014                   FAIRFAX            VA   TRAINED SPOTTER

            LARGE PINE TREE DOWN AT CORNER OF N SHORE DR AND
            NORTHGATE SQ

0711 PM     TSTM WND DMG     ARLINGTON               38.88N  77.10W
05/27/2014                   ARLINGTON          VA   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREE DOWN IN 2500 BLOCK OF WASHINGTON BLVD IN
            ARLINGTON.

0735 PM     TSTM WND DMG     WARRENTON               38.71N  77.79W
05/27/2014                   FAUQUIER           VA   TRAINED SPOTTER

            LARGE TREE DOWN ON MAIN ST IN WARRENTON

0758 PM     TSTM WND DMG     3 ENE EAGLE HARBOR      38.58N  76.64W
05/27/2014                   CALVERT            MD   EMERGENCY MNGR

            TREE DOWN AT THE INTERSECTION OF LOWERY ROAD AND
            HATFIELD ROAD.
Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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