Along and west of Interstate 95, the National Weather Service has discontinued the severe thunderstorm watch, as the storm threat has ended.
While it’s possible reports of damage may still trickle in, these storms will be more remembered for their dramatic skies than their downed trees in the immediate area. The bulk of the reports of downed trees and wires focused in the Shenandoah Valley and Fauquier County, with only spotty incidents in the immediate area.
Here’s a map showing the severe weather reports obtained by the National Weather Service (through 6 p.m.):
This will be our last update. For the forecast for Wednesday, when another round of storms is possible, stay tuned for our PM Update, which should publish around 7 p.m.
5:35 p.m. — Worst weather has exited District and areas to the west. Storms next to sweep from eastern Prince George’s County to Chesapeake Bay.
The heaviest storms now stretch from near Kettering in Prince George’s County southwest to St. Charles in Charles County. These storms are pushing east and should reach the Chesapeake Bay, passing through southern Anne Arundel and northern Calvert counties, by around 6 p.m. They could produce some damaging wind gusts in addition to torrential rain and lightning before exiting.
Severe weather has now exited the District and locations to the west, where just lingering showers and a clap of thunder or two are likely before partial clearing by 7 p.m. or so.
As the storms moved in, some of our readers captured some great views of the sky:
So far, we have not received reports of damage from these storms in the immediate area, despite numerous instances of downed trees and wires in Fauquier County and the Shenandoah Valley.
5 p.m. — Severe thunderstorm warning for District and eastern suburbs until 5:45 p.m.
The line of severe storms now extends from Arlington through Arlington, Alexandria, Mount Vernon and Woodbridge. The storms contain very heavy rain and likely pockets of damaging wind gusts. Radar indicates the most intense wind gusts in the corridor between south Arlington and Mount Vernon.
The storms are sweeping east at 35 mph and will move into downtown D.C. shortly and zone from roughly Suitland, Md., to Waldorf by around 5:30 p.m.
4:51 p.m. — Radar indicates damaging winds near Tysons and Falls Church, pointed at Arlington and District
4:35 p.m. — Intense storms from Reston to south of Manassas: severe thunderstorm warning in areas southwest of District
A severe line of storms stretches from just south of Reston through Chantilly, Centerville, Manassas, and to the south. It’s pointed at much of central and southern Fairfax County and Prince William County over the next 30 minutes and will move inside the Beltway a little before 5 p.m.
Radar indicates widespread wind gusts should reach 30 to 45 mph, with some pockets to 50-60 mph possible. Also, expect torrential rain and lightning.
The storm has a history of bringing down trees and wires in Fauquier County and in the Shenandoah Valley.
4 p.m. — Intense storms pushing through Loudoun and Fauquier counties, moving into Washington’s western suburbs
A strong line of storms stretches from Middleburg to Culpeper, with the most intense activity just west of Warrenton. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for this segment of the storms and extends east into central Prince William County through Manassas. Some damaging winds gusts and small hail are possible in the warning zone.
Another warning extends from Middleburg to around Reston, where damaging winds and small hail are also possible.
In the next half-hour, the storms, which are moving northeast, will pass through Warrenton and Leesburg and approach Manassas and Sterling. Between 4:30 and 5 p.m., they should enter Fairfax, southwest Montgomery, eastern Prince William County. It still looks like they should enter the Beltway around 5 p.m. or shortly thereafter.
The storms do have a history of bringing down trees in Rappahannock, Warren and Page counties in western Virginia.
3 p.m. — Heavy storms along Interstate 81 from Front Royal to near Harrisonburg, to arrive in D.C.'s western suburbs in next hour
Radar shows strong to severe storms along the I-81 corridor, south of Winchester, steadily moving east. They contain heavy rain, lightning and perhaps some pockets of damaging wind. The storms look to push northeast, close to the Interstate 66 corridor, reaching Washington’s western suburbs in about an hour and nearing the Beltway close to 5 p.m.
2 p.m. — Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the entire region until 8 p.m.
Because of the possibility of intense storms late this afternoon and evening, the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of the region until 8 p.m.
Storms are beginning to form over the mountains of West Virginia and should increase over the Blue Ridge this afternoon before heading east. Models still suggest storms may be most numerous in the immediate metro area between about 5 and 7 p.m. Storms that form will probably contain heavy rain and lightning and a few pockets of damaging winds, over 60 mph are possible.
A severe thunderstorm watch means ingredients are favorable for severe storms but not a guarantee. Stay weather aware.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your location, seek shelter.
Original article from 1:25 p.m.
After multiple damaging tornadoes spun up in the Mid-Atlantic on Monday, a renewed threat of isolated severe weather is in the forecast today. Showers and thunderstorms are predicted to bubble up in the heat of the day later this afternoon, yielding the risk of strong to locally damaging winds, hail and the outside chance of a tornado.
The storm risk comes as severe weather is possible for about 90 million people from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Storms at a glance
Storm timing: 3 to 6 p.m. along Interstate 81; 4 to 8 p.m. for the Washington metro area.
Areas affected: Entire region, roughly from Virginia Tidewater to north of Baltimore.
Primary impacts: Heavy rain and lightning, the chance of isolated strong to damaging winds and up to quarter-size hail.
Also a chance of an isolated tornado, especially near and south of Washington.
The storms this afternoon and evening are likely to be more widespread than they were Monday across the D.C. region. As shown in the surface forecast map below, we are deeper into the warm sector of a low-pressure system sliding across New England. A cold front approaches from the west, and a trough of low pressure should become established in the lee of the Appalachians.
In the warm sector, most locations will reach the mid-80s, with increasing low-level humidity. This will effectively “juice” the atmosphere, rendering it considerably more unstable than it was Monday. This will enable more storms to develop and reach strong levels.
Meanwhile, strong winds remain in the middle atmosphere, creating more wind shear (increase in winds with altitude). Wind shear helps intensify individual storm cells and promote “upscale” organization, leading line segments and longer-lived clusters called multicells. The simulated weather radar for 6 this evening, from one of the fine-scale forecast models, is shown below.
The Storm Prediction Center foresees a Level 2 out of 5 threat of widespread, severe thunderstorms. That being said, wherever cells initiate, they could become strong to severe. Locally heavy rain, intense lightning, large (nickel- to quarter-size) hail and wind gusts in the range of 60 to 70 mph are possible.
It’s even possible that a couple of transient, supercell-like storms capable of producing a brief tornado may evolve, like on Monday. However, the warm frontal boundary that triggered the tornadic storms Monday is more diffuse and less defined.
We will continue to monitor the situation through the afternoon and evening.
Jason Samenow contributed to this report.