Scattered storms give way to stunning rainbows

Rainbow over D.C. (Richard Barnhill via Flickr)

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.


  • Storms – a few which may be strong to severe – will pass through parts of the metro area through around 5 or 5:30 p.m.
  • Activity should decrease and/or move away after 5:30-6 p.m.
  • Main storm impacts will be heavy rain, lightning, some strong wind gusts and, possibly, small hail
  • Behind the storms, keep an eye out for magnificent rainbows (images below)

5:05 p.m. update: Storms have weakened and just remnant showers remain east of the Beltway and are headed off towards the Bay.  Most spots should be dry, though a bit warm and humid through this evening.  For the hot outlook for the rest of the week, see our full forecast: Start of September brings mid-summer heat, humidity

More rainbow images:


4:50 p.m. update: We still have some storms on the eastern flank of the Beltway, but rainbows to the west of the storms are stealing the show:

4:40 p.m. update: The storms have now moved east of I-95 and there are no longer any warnings in effect. Still, a strong storm in the eastern part of D.C. with some downpours and lightning is headed east into Suitland and eventually the Kettering and Upper Marlboro area through around 5:15 p.m.

Just west of the storms, we’re having a rainbow bonanza.  Some views:

4:25 p.m. update: The thunderstorm which prompted a warning for the District and most areas inside the Beltway has weakened some but is still producing heavy rain, gusty winds and vivid lightning in the area. Capitol Hill and west central Prince George’s County are next up for this storm.

Some storm photos:

4:05 p.m. update: Strongest part of warned storm (see 3:47 p.m. update) heading into Arlington and downtown over next 20 minutes.  Reports of tree limbs down from this storm in Reston and Wolf Trap area, as well as some small hail.

3:47 p.m. update: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for a good chunk of the D.C. metro area inside the Beltway and just to the west through 4:30 p.m. An intense storm near Reston is moving east at 25 mph and could produce small hail and strong – possibly damaging – winds. D.C., southern Montgomery County, Arlington, Falls Church, northeast Fairfax County, and Alexandria are all included in this warning.

Head inside as this storm comes through.  The most intense activity looks to pass through McLean, NW D.C. and Bethesda.

Original post: 3:34 p.m.

Widely scattered storms have developed over the region, focused in two areas: northwest of the District and south of the District.

The area northwest of the District stretches from eastern Loudoun and northern Fairfax counties through central Montgomery County. These storms are headed east  and should pass through northern Fairfax, NW D.C.,  southern Montgomery County, northern Prince George’s County, southern Howard County and northern Anne Arundel county through 5 p.m.

The storms to the south are right along I-95 in southeast Prince William County through central Stafford County and should push into Charles, southern Calvert, and St. Mary’s County over the next two hours.

Outside of the primary storm areas, some isolated storms are possible so keep an idea on radar.

None of these storms (so far) are severe, but gusty winds, downpours, and lightning are possible as they move through.  Activity should mostly pass to the east and diminish in coverage after 5-6 p.m.

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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Jason Samenow · September 1, 2014

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