* Wind advisory through 6 p.m. *
- Significant storms have mostly exited the region. The tornado watch, in effect earlier, has been discontinued. Tornado warnings, now expired, were issued earlier for parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, in Md., and Stafford and Prince William counties in Va. It is not known if any tornadoes touched down.
- A line of intense mid-afternoon thunderstorms caused downed trees and wind gusts to 60 mph or higher in parts of Frederick, Montgomery, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties.
- Gusty winds up to 30 to 40 mph, not associated with thunderstorms, may occur into this evening but have generally been below predicted levels.
- Rainfall exceeded two inches across much of the region. 2.44 inches fell in Washington, a record for the date, topping the previous record of 1.16 inches from 1961.
3:35 p.m. – Tornado watch discontinued as most storms exit. Downed trees reported in several counties, winds clocked over 70 mph.
Except for some lingering showers south and east of the District, which should exit or dissipate over the next 30 minutes or so, this storm event is over. The tornado watch in effect earlier has been discontinued by the National Weather Service.
The squall line which swept through Washington’s northern suburbs between 1:45 and 3 p.m. did produce some very impressive wind gusts:
- Glen Burnie: 72 mph
- Baltimore: 68 mph
- Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport: 61 mph
- Gaithersburg: 60 mph.
- Leesburg: 59 mph.
The National Weather Service logged several reports of downed trees from this line of storms. A tree landed on a car in Howard County and, in Rockville, multiple trees came down on homes. In Frederick, Md., a tree fell power lines.
Here are some images of damage we received through social media:
This is our last update in this post. Stay tuned for our PM Update later this afternoon for a fresh forecast through tonight and tomorrow at this link.
Scroll to bottom of post for storm updates which were issued earlier and are no longer valid.
Today’s daily digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day’s weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
2/10: High winds and possible severe storms. Stay home and stay weather-aware.
- Today: Very windy, waves of showers/storms through midafternoon. Highs: 74 to 78.
- Tonight: Clearing, windy, colder. Lows: 40 to 45.
- Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Highs: 54 to 58.
Forecast in detail
The same storm system that triggered deadly severe storms in the South on Sunday charges through the Washington region today, unleashing fierce winds and waves of storms. Some storms could produce damaging winds, hail and even a tornado. Much cooler air follows in the storm’s wake with highs mostly in the 50s until Friday or Saturday.
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Today (Monday): At least two waves of showers and storms barrel across the region, the first early this morning and the second around midday. Scattered areas of severe weather may be embedded within these waves, including torrential rain, damaging wind gusts, hail and perhaps a tornado. The midday storms may be more intense, especially if there’s a break between the waves and the sun comes out to destabilize the atmosphere.
While severe storms are likely to be hit or miss, everyone will experience strong winds, especially between midmorning and midafternoon, when gusts could exceed 50 mph (and up to 60 mph in the mountains and from near the Bay to Eastern Shore). Storms should clear the region by around 3 or 4 p.m., with high temperatures in the mid-70s. Confidence: Medium
Tonight: Skies clear, and it’s quite breezy, especially during the evening. Winds do ease some overnight, with lows 40 to 45. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow (Tuesday): This is the calm after the storm. We’ll have lots of sunshine (although some high clouds increase late in the day), light winds from the northwest (around 10 mph), and highs in the upper 50s. This is cooler than normal (the average high is up to 67 degrees) but should feel refreshing. Confidence: Medium-High
Tomorrow night: Increasing clouds with rain developing between around 9 p.m. and midnight. It may actually turn chilly enough in the higher elevations to our west and northwest for the rain to mix with some wet snow. Lows range from near 40 downtown to the mid-30s in our cooler spots. Confidence: Medium
A look ahead
Some showers may linger Wednesday morning, possibly mixed with snow in our colder areas, but skies should partially clear in the afternoon. It’s on the chilly side, with highs only in the low to mid-50s. Partly cloudy and cold at night, with lows in the 30s. Our colder areas could see frost or freeze advisories put into effect. Confidence: Medium
Thursday and Friday bring a mix of clouds and sun and still cooler than normal temperatures. Highs Thursday are in the mid- to upper 50s and closer to 60 on Friday. Thursday night’s lows dip into the 30s and, by Friday night, we have our next chance of showers, with lows near 40. Confidence: Medium
The weekend weather seems to be shaping up reasonably well. Both days should be partly to mostly sunny, with highs near 60 on Saturday and into the mid- to upper 60s by Sunday. Overnight lows are mostly in the 40s. Confidence: Medium
2:55 p.m – Worst of storms in D.C.'s northeast suburbs, and should exit in next 30 minutes or so.
While heavy downpours are moving through the District, the most intense storms are focused mostly north of Annapolis and should exit in the next 30 minutes. We are progressing toward the end of this event at last, although we expect gusty winds through this afternoon.
We’ll have another update around 3:30 p.m. and will attempt to round up the reports of damage and any other notable impacts from this storm event.
2:40 p.m. – Storms with history of “widespread damage” continue to charge through northern half of D.C. area
The line of damaging storms continues to race east through the northern part of the D.C. area and warnings are in effect for areas north of downtown Washington and east of Interstate 95. Winds are strong with these storms north and northeast of the Beltway, from Laurel to Baltimore, just east of Interstate 95. In this zone, gusts could reach 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Gaithersburg clocked a 60 mph gust as the storms came through and trees have come down in Frederick, Montgomery and Howard counties.
As the storm are sprinting east at 60 mph, they should exit the region between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m.
2:25 p.m. – Violent storms with damaging winds sweeping across northern half of region; isolated wind gusts to 80 mph possible
Radar shows line of severe storms arriving from Potomac to Ellicott City, in Md. rapidly sweeping eastward at 60 mph. These storms have a history of producing wind damage, including downed trees on wires in Frederick and multiple instances of downed trees in Montgomery County.
“This is a very dangerous storm,” the National Weather Service warned, stating gusts could reach up to 80 mph.
In the next 30 minutes, these storms will hit Bethesda, Silver Spring, Laurel, Columbia and Baltimore. They may also clip northwest D.C.
1:55 p.m. – Severe storms with damaging wind threat closing in on immediate area and northern suburbs - arriving between 2:15 and 2:45 p.m. Warnings for most areas north of Interstate 66.
An intense thunderstorm squall line is rapidly moving toward the immediate area and severe thunderstorm warnings now blanket the area from northern Fairfax County through much of Montgomery County north to the Mason Dixon line. The line is now entering eastern Loudoun and western Montgomery County and should approaching the northern half of the Beltway between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m. Storms could reach the District by 2:30 to 2:45 p.m.
Damaging winds to 60 mph are possible as these storms pass, along with lightning and heavy downpours. It’s also not out of the question this line spawns a brief tornado.
1:30 p.m. – Severe storms in D.C.'s western and eastern suburbs. Northern suburbs face possible tornado risk next couple hours.
Radar shows a nasty line of storms in Washington''s far western areas, approaching Frederick, Md. and northwest Loudoun County, which are under a severe thunderstorm warning until 2 p.m. The warning covers locations as far east as northwest Montgomery County and western Howard County as well, where these storms are headed.
These storms approaching from the west have the potential to strengthen, and possibly spawn a “a tornado or two” according to a special statement from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. Areas north of the Beltway are under the greatest threat from these storms.
Separately, a severe storm is charging through eastern Prince George’s County through Anne Arundel County and may produce damaging winds and hail, from Bowie to Annapolis, along and close to Route 50. A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for this zone through 2 p.m. A picturesque view of this storm is seen below as it crossed the Potomac River around 1:10 p.m.
12:53 p.m. – Storms lined up along Interstates 95 and 81, some severe. Severe t’storm warning for southeast Fairfax County, southern half of the District, and central Prince George’s county.
Radar shows a line of storms along Interstate 95 from Lorton in Va. to Laurel in Md. The storm near Lorton is intense and has shown some signs of rotating. This storm, for which a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect, is headed through southeast Fairfax County toward the southern half of the District and central Prince George’s County.
While no tornado warning is in effect for this cell, it’s not out of the question it spawns a short-lived twister. This storm may produce damaging winds to 60 mph irrespective of whether a tornado touches down. Seek shelter.
Separately, a line of intense storms spans from Winchester to Hagerstown along Interstate 81. This entire region is under a severe thunderstorm warning. These northern half of our region, north of Interstate 66, should monitor these storms as they move east-northeast.
12:37 p.m. – Tornado warning discontinued for northern Stafford and southeast Prince William counties
12:34 p.m – Tornado warning for northern Howard County and Baltimore’s western suburbs allowed to expire.
12:17 p.m. – Tornado warning for northern Stafford County and southeast Prince William County until 12:45 p.m
Radar indicates possible tornado in northern Stafford County racing northeast toward southeast Prince William County in the general direction of the zone between Dale City and Quantico, near Triangle. Seek shelter immediately in the lowest level of a strong building away from windows.
12:10 p.m – Tornado warning for northern Howard County, including Ellicott City, and Baltimore’s western suburbs until 12:30 p.m.
Radar indicates possible tornado west of Columbia, racing northeast through northern Howard County, potentially passing near Ellicott City, and then toward Baltimore’s western suburbs, including Milford Mill and Pikesville. Seek shelter in the lowest possible level of a strong building, away from windows in this zone.
11:50 a.m. — Tornado watch issued, in effect until 6 p.m.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for the Washington region through 6 p.m. The watch also includes Baltimore, Philadelphia, and much of eastern and central Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and northern Virginia.
“Clusters of strong to severe thunderstorms will likely develop rapidly northeast across the Mid-Atlantic region this afternoon,” the Center wrote. “Scattered damaging winds are likely and a couple tornadic storms will be possible.”
Storms could also produce isolated cases of large hail.
A tornado watch means ingredients are in place for tornadoes but not a guarantee tornadoes will form. Stay alert. If a tornado warning, however, is issued, it means a tornado has been indicated by radar or seen on the ground, and you should seek shelter immediately, in the lowest level possible away from windows.
This is a relatively low-end tornado watch, with a 40 percent chance of two or more tornadoes in the watch area. But still stay weather-aware and have multiple ways to receive storm warnings.
10:49 a.m. — Tornado watch likely to be issued, but storm threat uncertain
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center says it’s likely to issue a tornado watch for the Washington area and surrounding region by noon. Specifically, it says there is an 80 percent chance it will post a watch.
“The risk for damaging gusts and possibly a tornado or two will seemingly increase as storms develop through midday into the early afternoon,” the Center wrote in a special discussion.
While the Storm Prediction Center says it is likely to issue a tornado watch, the Weather Service’s local office serving the Washington-Baltimore region wrote in a mid-morning discussion that “isn’t completely certain” a second round of storms will materialize.
There are factors working both for and against storms. We will closely monitor.
9:35 a.m. — Next batch of storms likely midday to mid-afternoon. Strongest winds this afternoon.
Based on the latest short-term modeling, it appears we’ll have one more round of storms between roughly midday and mid-afternoon, possibly lingering into the late afternoon in our eastern areas.
The coverage and intensity of these storms is somewhat dependent on whether skies clear out some during the break in the rain. We may see a brief window when the sun pops out late this morning. Current modeling suggests storms will be scattered (hit or miss), as opposed to widespread.
The National Weather Service Service continues to place our region in a slight risk zone (level 2 out of 5) for severe storms with a 5 percent chance of tornadoes and hail and 15 percent chance of damaging winds within 25 miles of any point. Note that it trimmed back the zone of enhanced risk, previously extended into DC’s southern suburbs, into southeast Virginia, signaling a somewhat scaled back threat of severe weather in these areas.
Outside of storms, we still expect strong winds, gusting over 40 mph (and over 50 mph near and east of the Bay), gradually increasing this morning and peaking this afternoon.
8:20 a.m. — First batch of heavy rain moving out of the metro area. More thunderstorms possible, some severe, as day goes on.
After downpours that unloaded up to about two inches, heavy rains are pushing east of the immediate area now and skies are starting to brighten.
There is the potential for additional rounds of thunderstorms, some of which could be severe with damaging winds and isolated tornadoes, as we get closer to midday and early afternoon. It will also become progressively more windy, with gusts reaching near or above 50 mph in the city and points north, west and southeast, and greater than 60 mph to the east.
The heavy rainfall overnight and early this morning has soaked soils, potentially increasing the likelihood of downed trees during strong winds.
The wild weather — with the exception of the wind threat, should be over in the D.C. area by about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.
7:23 a.m. — Heavy rains moving through the D.C. area with embedded thunderstorms possible. Expect winds to gradually pick up, especially after 9 a.m.
Radar shows showers and thunderstorms moving into the area from the southwest, with torrential rainfall possible at times. Winds should start to pick up from the south/southwest as the morning progresses. At this time and for the next couple of hours, the threat for severe weather, including tornadoes, is highest well south of the D.C. metro but that is expected to change as the day continues.
The rain has added up so far, with some areas approaching 2 inches. This not only increases our vulnerability to flash flooding from additional rainfall, but also to downed trees from strong winds later today.