Rain is clearing out of the Beltway west to east; Heavy rain continues in southern suburbs


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.

Overview:

  • A line of storms is moving toward the D.C. area from the west
  • Impacts: Sub-severe storms with the potential for heavy rain and gusty winds
  • Timing: Rain will likely be over in the Beltway by 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. It will continue for suburbs south and east beyond that time.
  • Nationals game: Things should be mostly dry by then, but a rain delay at the start is possible.

Update at 6:30 p.m.: The western half of the Beltway is all clear, while showers remain on the eastern side, including over D.C. Downtown should be clearing out within the next 15 minutes or so, just in time for the Nationals game to get underway.

The full Beltway should be clear by 7 p.m., right on schedule.

Moderate showers will continue in the eastern suburbs through ome heavy rain will continue to push through 8 or 8:30 p.m., while heavy rain will move east through Prince George’s and Charles counties over the next hour, as well.

Update at 6:08 p.m.: Light rain continues in most of the Beltway as storms push east. The northwest Beltway is now in the clear. Eastern Beltway still seeing some moderate rainfall.

Heavy rainfall has passed through Annandale, Va. and is pushing into Alexandria. In the immediate D.C. area, heaviest rainfall has just passed east of I-95 south of the Beltway and is now approaching Prince George’s and northern Charles counties. These storms have picked up speed and are now moving quickly to the east.

The rest of this line of thunderstorms has stretched out far west into Virginia, all the way to Harrisonburg and I-81. These storms are lined up west to east and are moving south and east.

Update at 5:48 p.m.: Moderate rainfall continues to push through the Beltway. Heaviest rain within the Beltway is from Falls Church through Arlington and east into Maryland. Southeast Washington, Suitland-Silver Hill and other locations between I-295 and the Beltway are getting a decent downpour right now.

The heaviest rain continues southwest of the Beltway, from Merrifield south just west of I-95. This area of storms will be crossing the southwest Beltway around Annandale, Va., as well as I-95 shortly. Frequent cloud to ground lightning strikes have also been reported in these storms. Seek shelter if you are outdoors near the I-95 corridor south of the Beltway.

Northern Beltway locations (Bethesda, Silver Spring) are about to be in the clear.

Some rainfall totals so far

2.40 inches – The Plains, Va. (Wakefield School)

1.76 inches – Purcellville, Va.

1.50 inches – Haymarket, Va.

1.29 inches – Waterford, Va.

1.05 inches — Southern Boonsboro, M.D.

0.99 inches – Warrenton, Va.

0.55 inches – Leesburg, Va.

0.49 inches – Burke, Va.

0.38 inches – Dulles Airport (as of 5 p.m.)

0.34 inches – Arlington, Va.

0.11 inches – Sterling, Va.

Update at 5:30 p.m.: We expect the rain to be finished in the Beltway by 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. The northwest suburbs are now dry.

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for an area including the cities of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Arkendale in Virginia until 6:15 p.m.

Update at 5:10 p.m.: Light rain has entered the District. Some moderate rain is crossing the western Beltway, and rainfall is very heavy along I-66 west of the Beltway. The heaviest downpours remain in Fauquier, Prince William, and western Fairfax counties from around Warrenton through Gainesville to Centreville, Va. These stronger, southern storms are moving east and a bit south, approaching Manassas next.

Update at 4:55 p.m.: The southern portion of this line is seeing some heavy rainfall rates. Areas north of Warrenton, Va. through Haymarket, Va. are seeing rainfall rates of 1.5 to two inches per hour. A personal weather station at Wakefield School in The Plains has recorded just under two inches of rain so far, and their total is still climbing. Haymarket, Va. has seen 1.34 inches so far, with a rainfall rate of 2.15 inches per hour.

Update at 4:42 p.m.: Rain has reached the northern Beltway, and some light showers already extend from Bethesda down to Arlington. The line itself has weakened quite a bit over the northern suburbs, but the southern flank is still kicking with heavy downpours. Fairfax, Prince William and Fauquier counties will have the heaviest rain push through from west to east.

Update at 4:15 p.m.: The line of storms has passed through Frederick now, and Leesburg is about to be out of the woods. In Maryland and Virginia, the heaviest rain continues to be on the southern end of this line of storms (which extends north into Pennsylvania). Northern Fauquier and Loudon counties are getting some heavy downpours, as well as Montgomery County, where heavy rain is starting to cross I-270.

While there is a possibility that storms will continue to pop up behind this line later this evening, we expect things to be mostly dry for the Nationals game. If there is a rain delay, it will be at the start of the game.

Update at 3:45 p.m.: Storms have arrived in Montgomery County, and are approaching Fairfax County. The northern portion of this line of storms has weakened over the past hour or so, but heavy rain remains to the south, which is moving into places like Germantown, M.D. and Sterling, Va. The strongest radar reflectivity is in far southern Loudon County. Middleburg, Va., in particular, is likely getting some heavy downpours right now.

Original post:

The rain has begun to arrive a little earlier than expected this afternoon. Thunderstorms have already reached Leesburg and Frederick, M.D. A severe thunderstorm warning had been in effect for a while for areas around Hagerstown, Funkstown, Sharpsburg, and Boonsboro, M.D. but has since expired.

Updates forthcoming in this blog as the storms progress to the east.

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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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