Original post from 3:45 p.m. .. See bottom for earlier storm updates.
We’re closing in on fall, but don’t tell the weather that. It was another day of 90s, the 54th such day of what’s starting to feel like a never-ending summer. High heat and high humidity have combined to fire up some big storms to our west. Those storms continue to spread eastward across the region over the coming hours.
Through Tonight: Scattered storms rolling out of the mountains will cross parts of the region over the next several hours. The main severe weather risks are likely to be the potential for strong and damaging winds, and perhaps some hail. Capital Weather Gang’s severe weather expert Jeff Halverson says, “Anything that does fire could be a pulse type. With lots of mid-level [instability], hail and intense lightning are on the table, along with a down-burst, during the brief severe phase.”
Activity should tend to wind down and push east as we get to and through sunset. Lows mainly dip to a near 70 to mid-70s zone, and some patchy fog may develop late night.
View the current weather at The Washington Post.
Tomorrow (Thursday): It’s another day quite like today. Sunshine is teamed up with high humidity and dew points near 70 degrees, just like it’s midsummer. Highs near and above 90 should feel more like mid-90s for much of the afternoon. Storms are again possible late day or evening, perhaps in a less widespread fashion than today.
Pollen update: Grass and weed pollen is moderate/high. Mold spores are low/moderate. Tree pollen is low.
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Earlier storm updates
5:45 p.m. — Storms have waned locally
Other than a special marine warning for boaters on the Potomac River until 6 p.m., local severe weather statements have been dropped. Storms in the immediate area have weakened a good deal, with the main activity focused Occoquan and south. There’s still some chance that this activity could pulse back up in the time ahead, but it would seem that the main strong to severe storm threat should remain south of most of the area.
5:27 p.m. — Severe thunderstorms mainly moving south of the city
The portion of the warning for the District has been dropped except for extreme southern parts of the city. Some thunder, lightning, and rain are likely as it passes, but the most intense activity should generally focus from the Beltway and southward as this line passes. The rest of the warning continues until 5:45 p.m. Strong and potentially damaging winds are the main threat.
5:03 p.m. — Severe thunderstorm warning for entire Beltway region, including District, as storms strengthen some
The storms that we’ve been tracking for the past hour have picked up some added punch as they approach the Beltway and a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the entire Beltway area and our southern suburbs through 5:45 p.m. The heaviest activity is from around Burke southward to just east of Manassas where some pockets of damaging winds are possible, in addition to frequent lightning and heavy rain. Some small hail also cannot be ruled out.
These storm won’t last too long, just about 30 minutes in any one location, zipping east at 25 mph. They should hit Interstate 95 between 5:20 and 5:30 p.m. and cross the Potomac into northern Charles and southern Prince George’s County between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m.
4:35 p.m. — Storms have weakened some moving east; warnings discontinued north of central Fauquier County. Storms still headed east.
The heaviest storms betwen The Plains in northern Fauquier County and north to around Leesburg have weakened a bit and are no longer severe, although they are still producing heavy rain and gusty winds and have reached Sterling and will soon enter western Fairfax County. These should move inside the Beltway just after 5 p.m., assuming they hold together.
To the south, from around Warrenton southwestward, the storms are a bit more intense and this area is still under a severe thunderstorm warning until 5 p.m. These storms are pushing southeast at around 15 mph and will target southern Fauquier and western Prince William counties over the next 30 to 45 minutes.
4:05 p.m. — Severe thunderstorm warnings posted in Washington’s far western suburbs. Storms may move inside Beltway just after 5 p.m.
Multiple severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect from northern Loudoun County and southern Frederick County south into northern Fauquier County through around 4:30 p.m. Pockets of damaging winds (up to 60 mph or so) and hail are possible in these storms moving east around 20 mph. The heaviest activity is northwest of Middleburg and southwest of Purcellville. This activity should reach Sterling, Va. by around 4:30 to 4:45 p.m. and the Beltway just after 5 p.m.