Thursday storms spawn 2 tornadoes, rainfall records

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Natural disaster appeared to avoid the Washington region this week, but Thursday's storms set rainfall records and spawned two tornadoes.

About 7 p.m., one tornado headed northeastward along a 41/2-mile path in the Chantilly area of western Fairfax County, the National Weather Service said. The Weather Service said the tornado, of minimal size, cut across Route 28 near Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. The top wind was estimated at 65 mph and the widest path at 75 yards.

About 40 minutes earlier, the Weather Service said, a stronger tornado sped northeast across part of Fauquier County, in the Bealeton area. Its top wind was estimated at 90 mph and its widest path also about 75 yards.

Carroll Foley of Midland, who lives nearby, said he saw no tornado. But upon opening his door, he said, he heard "a roaring sound," and the atmosphere "felt like a vacuum." It was "just really eerie."

Baltimore set a March 10 rain record, with 2.61 inches. The old record, 1.74 inches, was set in 1883, the Weather Service said.

With 1.41 inches, Dulles International Airport set a daily rainfall record for the second time this week. Sunday's 2.3 inches set a record for March 6. Reagan National Airport had 1.41 inches Thursday - wet but no record.

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