2:40 p.m. update: The severe thunderstorm watch has been discontinued for the Washington area as the worst of the storms have moved to our north and northeast.

The closing round of storms produced widespread hail and scattered areas of damaging winds as they moved through.

They also put down a lot of rain.

While a tornado warning was issued for Northern Virginia and a funnel cloud spotted in eastern Loudoun County, it is not known whether an actual tornado touched down.

Regarding the roof ripped off at St. Aloysius Church adjacent to Gonzaga High School and surrounding damage, the cause is not yet known. It might have been a small tornado or from a microburst – which is a strong downward gust of wind.

While the worst of the storms is over and skies are partially clearing, some scattered showers could still linger through evening. Our PM Forecast update will be posted by around 5 p.m.

Follow our forecast below for the outlook through the weekend.

For all of our previous storm updates that are no longer current, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Hail, heavy winds and pouring rain rolled into the Washington region on Thursday afternoon. (The Washington Post)

Original post from 5 a.m.

TODAY’S DAILY DIGIT
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.

5/10: Strong storms a concern, but needed rains I will not spurn.

EXPRESS FORECAST

Today: Showers likely, strong storms possible through early afternoon. Highs: 67-71
Tonight: Lingering shower possible, windy. Lows: 40-48
Tomorrow: Mainly cloudy, gusty winds, brief shower possible. Highs: 53-57

View the current weather conditions at The Washington Post headquarters.

FORECAST IN DETAIL

Showers and storms are likely during the first half of today, a few of which could be severe with damaging winds and/or hail. Just keep telling yourself the rain is good. Even after the severe weather threat diminishes this afternoon, a few showers may linger.

Behind the storm on Friday, gusty winds whisk away the mild air, and it feels more like early March. Spring makes a valiant return Saturday and Sunday, so plenty of time to get out and enjoy the gardens as everything tries to bloom at once.

Today (Thursday): Showers and storms are likely through early afternoon, some of which could be heavy. The strongest cells could produce locally damaging winds and hail, with the highest risk of severe weather south of the District. An isolated tornado or two can’t even be ruled out. Rain amounts are likely to average around a half-inch, but some areas could certainly top the inch mark. In the afternoon, the sun could peek out at times, but a few gusty showers, which could contain hail, may still cycle through. Highs reach the upper 60s to lower 70s. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: West winds remain brisk through the night, but most showers are gone early in the evening. Lows fall to the low-to-mid 40s but hold in the upper 40s downtown under mostly cloudy skies. Confidence: Medium-High

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates. For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…

Tomorrow (Friday): There could be a few glimpses of sun, but with such cold air aloft, clouds bubble up in abundance. A few showers can’t be ruled out in the midday to afternoon hours, but they would be mostly light and short-lived. Winds from the west are likely to gust to 30 mph with some frequency. Highs only reach the mid-50s, so pull out those jackets again. Confidence: Medium-High

Tomorrow night: Clouds are likely to linger through the evening but gradually break up through the night. Winds from the northwest gusting to nearly 30 mph make lows in the mid-to-upper 30s all the more painful. Confidence: Medium-High

A LOOK AHEAD

Saturday is a major improvement, with mostly sunny skies throughout the day and much calmer conditions. Highs still struggle to do better than the upper 50s to lower 60s. Overnight is mainly clear and chilly, with lows in the mid-to-upper 30s but still low 40s downtown. Confidence: Medium-High

Sunny skies and warmer temperature are the makings of a magnificent Sunday as highs reach the upper 60s to lower 70s. Overnight lows are also much improved as well, holding in the upper 40s to lower 50s. Confidence: Medium-High

Monday is picture-perfect, with mainly sunny conditions and highs reaching the mid-to-upper 70s. Confidence: Medium-High

Expired storm updates

2:21 p.m. update: The worst of the storms are now exiting the Washington region, having moved north of Columbia, Md. and are now riding along Interstate 70.

Regarding the tornado warning issued earlier in Northern Virginia, there was no confirmed tornado; however, a there was a report of a funnel cloud west of Dulles Airport at 1:36 p.m.

2:02 p.m. update: Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect until 2:45 p.m. north and northeast of the Beltway, for much of Montgomery, Howard and northern Anne Arundel Counties. Storms with a history of producing damaging wind and hail are racing northeastward.

Below are maps of the areas under warning:

1:55 p.m. update: The line of storms, as it raced through the District, tore the roof off St. Aloysius Church adjacent to Gonzaga High School on North Capitol St.:

It is not clear if the roof was blown off due to straight line winds or a small tornado. The National Weather Service will need to conduct a damage survey to determine the cause.

1:46 p.m. update: The tornado warning for parts of Northern Virginia and central Montgomery County has been cancelled as the rotation in the storm has weakened. Nevertheless, this storm cell at the Fairfax County and Montgomery County border will produce hail and may produce damaging winds. It is moving quickly into the Interstate 270 corridor.

1:43 p.m. update: Here is estimated time of arrival for the storm that could contain a tornado in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, from the National Weather Service:

  • Centreville, Brambleton, Dulles International Airport, Chantilly and Arcola around 150 PM EDT.
  • Broadlands around 155 PM EDT.
  • Reston, Herndon, Lansdowne, Lowes Island, Ashburn, Sterling, Great Falls and Countryside around 200 PM EDT.

1:38 p.m. update: The tornado warning is for a radar-indicated tornado. So far, nothing has yet been confirm. Radar would indicate the tornadic circulation was in the vicinity of Dulles Airport and Sterling around 1:35 p.m. Even if there is no tornado, torrential rain, hail, and very strong winds accompany this storm and it is wise to stay indoors.

1:28 p.m. update: A tornado warning has been issued until 2 p.m. for northwest Prince William, western Fairfax, eastern Loudoun and Central Montgomery County until 2:00 p.m. Seek shelter immediately if in the path of this storm in an interior room in the lowest possible level of a well-built structure.

1:15 p.m. update: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the District and much of the immediate metro area through 2 p.m. Torrential rain, small hail (up to quarter size) and wind gusts to 60 mph are possible as this nasty line of storms races through the area from the southwest.

The National Weather Service cautions: “Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.”

Here’s a video of hail produced by this storm in Warrenton, Va.:

1:10 p.m. update: As a strong thunderstorm squall line approaches D.C. (in next 45 minutes), severe weather expert Jeff Halverson lays out what to expect: “Biggest threat here is torrential downpours, and some locally strong gusts. The storm may weaken when it gets into stable air close to D.C. and over central Md.”

12:50 p.m. update: A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Washington and Baltimore metro areas through 5 p.m. A line of fast moving storms, which may contain damaging winds, is rapidly moving into the region.

These storms should reach the Beltway by between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. and exit the region to the northeast by around 3:00 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for a large chunk of Washington’s southwest suburbs until 1:30 p.m., from Fredericksburg to Manassas. Small hail and wind gusts to 60 mph are possible with these storms.

11:45 a.m. update: Heavy showers and storms are lined up along the Interstate 95 corridor. Their main impact is torrential rains, which have already produced up to an inch in some areas.

On the southeast part of the line, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for a large part of King George (Va.) and Charles (Md.) counties until 12:30 p.m. Some damaging wind gusts and small hail are possible in this storm.

All of this activity should exit between about 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., from southwest to northeast.

8:25 a.m. update: A large area of showers and thunderstorms, with heavy downpours, is moving into the metro region and will pass through over the next several hours. This activity is not severe and, for the time being, the severe threat (for damaging winds and hail) seems to be focused more well south of Washington.

A tornado watch has been issued for the area south of Fredericksburg in east central and southeast Virginia, including Richmond and Norfolk, until 1 p.m.

There’s still a chance of some stronger storms forming in our region in the midday to early afternoon hours and we’ll offer updates if they develop.