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UPDATE, 9:45 p.m.: Rain has finally moved east of the Beltway and will rapidly exit our eastern areas along the Bay over the next hour. The severe thunderstorm watch has been discontinued except right along the Bay, where it should be dropped soon. Check out our post showcasing stunning rainbows: Spectacular double rainbows flank fierce storms in Washington, D.C. (PHOTOS)

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Storms are over north of Rt 50 and 66 for the most part, but lingering near downtown and to the south and east. But they should finally push away over the next hour. The big spectacle over the past hour has been spectacular sunset rainbows. We’ll have a post with an amazing compilation shortly.

UPDATE, 8:00 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in effect until 8:30 for roughly the area inside the Beltway to Annapolis (where the storms are just moving in). The storms, however, don’t seem to be producing a lot in the way of damaging winds at this point – more just heavy rain, thunder, and lightning; a few stronger gusts may be found in the corridor from Bowie to Annapolis. North of I-66 and west of the Beltway, the rain has moved off; to the south and east, rain and embedded thunder and lightning may continue until at least 9 p.m. Not the best news for the Nats-Orioles game, in an extended delay.

UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Damage from these storms has been isolated as opposed to widespread, but we’ve received some reports of downed trees and power lines. There are roughly 92,000 customers without power across the region.

Damage photos/tweets:

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in effect for the entire metro region along and east of I-95 through 8:30 p.m. Intense storms are lined up along I-95 from Alexandria through downtown D.C. to Baltimore, with very heavy rain and strong winds. They should take another 30-45 minutes to clear the Beltway region.

UPDATE, 7:18 p.m.: Looking at doppler wind velocities, the storms seem to have lost some intensity, which is good news. But severe thunderstorm warnings still remain in effect through 8-8:30 p.m. across the region. The heaviest of the storms are just west of I-95 from roughly Dale City through NW D.C. to Laurel and are about 20 minutes from the corridor from Mt. Vernon to Greenbelt.

UPDATE, 7:08 p.m.: The entire metro area (except areas south of southern Prince George’s and southern Prince William county) remains under a severe thunderstorm warning – as storms with possible damaging winds sweep through. Most winds have been in the 50 to 60 mph range, but isolated gusts could hit 70 mph.

UPDATE, 7:04 p.m.: Current radar view of squall line…

UPDATE, 6:54 p.m.: Worst of storms now along western flank of Beltway north of I-66 from Vienna to Rockville. McLean, north Arlington, NW DC, Bethesda and Wheaton – storms with possible damaging winds arriving between 7 and 7:20 p.m. Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in effect for much of metro area.

UPDATE, 6:40 p.m.: Storms are now hitting Reston and Gaithersburg and should move into the area from roughly Fairfax/Oakton to Potomac and Olney just before 7 p.m. Very strong winds possible and severe thunderstorm WARNINGS remain in effect.

UPDATE, 6:25 p.m.: The severe thunderstorm warning has been extended east through Fairfax County, the District and southern Montgomery County until 7:15 p.m. Pretty much the entire metro region along and west of I-95 is under this warning. DESTRUCTIVE WIND GUSTS TO 75 mph or so possible.

UPDATE, 6:10 p.m.: Severe thunderstorm warnings have reached the far western suburbs. Reported wind gusts behind this line of storms are hovering around 60 mph, which is likely what we can expect in D.C. as well. These storms are moving FAST — 50 mph — so they will be here and gone in a jiffy, though there is some light rain behind the main line of storms.

Severe thunderstorm warnings (yellow) as the storms approach DC. (Credit: Weather Underground's WunderMap)
Severe thunderstorm warnings (yellow) as the storms approach DC. (Credit: Weather Underground’s WunderMap)

UPDATE, 5:10 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for the region through 11 p.m. Damaging wind gusts are possible in the storms that move through. Notably, the National Weather Storm Prediction Center cautions “ISOLATED SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 75 MPH POSSIBLE.” The line of storms aimed at our area has a history of producing damaging gusts. The most likely timing for storms is between 6 and 9 p.m. (concentrated around 7 or 8 p.m. inside the Beltway).

Area shaded in blue under a severe thunderstorm watch through 11 p.m. (NWS SPC)
Area shaded in blue under a severe thunderstorm watch through 11 p.m. (NWS SPC)

UPDATE, 4:54 p.m.: The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center says there is an 80 percent chance it will issue a severe thunderstorm watch for the region due to the potential for damaging winds.


Radar & lightning: Latest regional 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.

Original post, from 4:40 p.m.: The heat and humidity were as-advertised today, with afternoon temperatures into the mid-90s and heat indices near 100.  This muggy air will feed into a line of thunderstorms coming at the region from the west, which could be strong to severe, especially in our north and northwest suburbs.  Additional storms are possible Wednesday, but it won’t be quite as hot.

Through Tonight: Thunderstorms are a good bet this evening (50-70 percent chance), especially along from the District to the north and west.  Odds are lowest (around 50/50) south and east of the city.  A few of the storms could produce damaging wind gusts, with the storm’s of greatest intensity favored in areas to the north and west of the District.  The most likely timing for storms is between 6 and 9 p.m. from northwest to southeast across the area.  In the immediate metro area, 6:30-8:30 p.m. seems to be the most likely window.  There’s a chance the line of storms – which has a history of producing damaging winds – could weaken or even break-up by the time they arrive, but heavy rain, frequent lightning and strong (even damaging) winds are possible.

Once these storms move out, there’s a 30 percent chance of isolated to scattered storms for the remainder of the night, with lows from the upper 60s in our cooler suburbs to the mid-70s downtown.  Winds are from the southwest at 10-15 mph, but potentially higher in thunderstorms.

For more details on this evening’s storm threat, see: Round of severe thunderstorms possible this evening

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The front moving through the region is a slow-mover, so we retain the chance of showers and storms (30-50 percent chance) during the day.  This time, the best chance of storms (around 50/50) is south and east of the District.  Skies are cloudy for the balance of the day, and a few showers and storms could pop up in the morning, but the afternoon hours should have the most activity.  Highs are near 90, held back by the cloud cover, but the humidity levels are similar to today: HIGH.  Winds are from the west around 10 mph.

See Matt Rogers’ 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.

Pollen: Tree pollen counts are LOW, grass pollen MODERATE-HIGH, weed pollen LOW-MODERATE, and mold spores LOW-MODERATE