Despite the tornado watch hoisted Wednesday, the storms that paraded through the D.C. area didn’t end up spawning any twisters. But they did unload torrential rain and produce isolated cases of damaging lightning, hail and wind gusts in the region.
Flooding rain turned out to be the most significant hazard of the evening, mostly west of I-95 where 0.75-3 inches of rain fell.
Both Reagan National and Dulles Airports received about 0.75 inches of rain; the heaviest rain fell in between the airports.
Potomac, Maryland was in the bulls-eye of the downpours, picking up upwards of 2.5 inches of rain in just over an hour (between around 8 and 9:30 p.m.). These torrents stranded multiple vehicles in flood waters, and Montgomery County emergency management conducted several swift water rescues.
Water Rescue - River rd & Gary rd, car in high water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - 9400 Newbridge Rd, Potomac, car in high water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - Gainsborough Rd & Candlelight, cars in water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - Falls River La & Stackhouse Rd, Potomac - car in high water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - Tuckerman Lane & Cedar Ridge Rd, car in water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - Falls Bridg Rd & Potomac Station Lane, car in high water— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - River Rd & Counselman Dr, 1 car in high water, with 1 occupant
Water Rescue - River Rd & Counselman Dr, 1 car in high water, with 1 occupant— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Water Rescue - 7600blk Hackamore DR, Potomac, car high water, report of 3 people stranded - Boat Strike team responding— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
This same storm that flooded parts of Potomac was a prolific lightning producer. The lightning ignited fires in two residential areas in Montgomery County. You can see the heavy concentration of lightning over Montgomery County in the image on the right from the D.C. Lightning Mapping Array.
A townhouse complex in Rockville was struck and 2 of the 75 firefighters that responded suffered minor injuries. Pete Piringer, spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said four residential units were impacted and 16 people displaced.
About 75 FFs were on the scene on Yale Pl, in Rockville for a fire caused by lightening, 2 FFs received minor injury pic.twitter.com/dFFuTRhnT7— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
A second lightning strike on River Road caused $100K in damage, Montgomery County said.
12820 River Rd, Damage estimated $100k; Cause, lightning strike resulting in room & contents fire in bsmt, as well as fire in utility room— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) June 12, 2014
Wind and hail
Most reports of damaging wind gusts were well southwest and west of the D.C. metro region. However, we received this image of a tree down in northwest D.C.:
There were no reports of hail in the immediate D.C. metro region. However, hail up to 1-1.5 inches in diameter occurred in storms just to the south and west. The National Weather Service (NWS) logged several reports of large hail in Spotsylvania County from a storm that occurred late in the afternoon. In northwest Virginia, in Frederick County, golf ball-sized hail damaged a truck around 6:30 p.m., NWS reported.
Storms to the southwest and west of Washington did at times exhibit some rotation. Tornado warnings were issued for a storm south of Charlottesville and on the west and north side of Winchester. We have not yet seen any confirmation of tornadoes (the National Weather Service would conduct storm surveys today to determine if any tornadoes touched down), but photos reveal the spinning structure of supercell thunderstorms in these areas.
Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston, who chased the storm that was tornado-warned near Winchester, captured this view of its wall cloud:
Additional storms are possible today, but heavy rain is the primary risk with only a very small chance of hail and damaging winds (and close to zero chance of tornadoes).