PM Update: Storms around through evening, eventually turning drier Thursday

7:15 p.m. update: Two lines of storms are pushing through the region. The more organized and intense line stretches from just north of Olney, Md. into northern Baltimore County. This line should push through Columbia and Baltimore over the next hour to 90 minutes. Downpours, lightning and isolated damaging winds are possible with this line.

The second line, which is broken and not as strong, stretches from western Montgomery County through central Fauquier County. This broken line should push towards the D.C.’s immediate western suburbs and the Beltway between 8 and 8:30 p.m. but may be hit or miss. It should reach areas east of the Beltway around 9 p.m. Localized downpours, lightning and gusty winds may accompany these storms. Follow our Twitter feed below for any warnings or related storm news.


Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

We logged our ninth day of 90 degrees or higher for July today in D.C., which is still a bit below average for the month. Those high temperatures, mixed with high humidity and an approaching cold front, have touched off scattered showers and storms to our west, which are now moving into the region. The risk for raindrops continues into at least early tomorrow.

Through Tonight: Showers and storms that have developed to the west work their way east this evening. The most likely timing is from about now or soon (west) to 10 p.m. (east), with impacts on the immediate area somewhere near or before sunset. Storms may remain scattered, so it’s quite possible not everyone gets wet. But any activity could contain heavy rain, lightning, and isolated strong winds. The threat should generally diminish behind the evening activity, but additional showers or storms may pop up through the night ahead of the cold front.

Detailed storm discussion: Heavy storms possible this evening; widespread severe storms unlikely

Otherwise, it’s another warm one, with lows mostly in the near 70 to low 70s zone. Winds become light from the north and northwest.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The front should pass through relatively early, so we’ll keep a 50% chance of showers, maybe a rumble, going through the morning and probably tapering by or before midday. An additional storm is possible late, especially south of town. With clouds around early, a north wind, and drier air inbound, plan on highs mainly in the low-to-mid 80s.

See Dan Stillman’s forecast through the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter . For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock.


July 22, 2014 – Potomac River near Riverbend Park. (Kevin Ambrose)

Neverending storm: Think we’ve had a lot of thunderstorm days this July? It could be worse. Or better, depending on your point of view!


Video via AccuWeather

The Mother Nature Network has a new explainer on Relámpago del Catatumbo, AKA Catatumbo Lightning. This lightning show occurs “almost every night” in northwest Venezuela, a region uniquely outfitted for frequent thunderstorms. A large lake just inland from the ocean is surrounded by mountains. Two main ingredients, moisture and uplift (from air flowing up into the mountains), are almost always present. As is the storminess. It does take breaks, but they are not frequently lengthy. Locals have even worried when the lightning disappears for longer than a few days.

Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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