Recap: Yesterday's Stormy Situation
- Headlining yesterday's stormy weather were the tornadoes that struck Charles and Prince George's County. The two tornadoes were produced by the same thunderstorm as it moved from south to north during the 2 p.m. hour. The National Weather Service (NWS) provides a detailed account of the tornadoes' evolution, intensity and damage in a public information statement. The Washington Post provides additional summary information and a video detailing the damage.
- At exactly the wrong time yesterday, the NWS's doppler radar for our region went caput due to "hardware failure." The NWS uses this radar to detect rotating thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes. The NWS has access to other radars but I wonder if the problems it had with its radar might explain why tornado warnings were not issued for this storm.
Keep reading for more News & Notes, and see our full forecast through the weekend. Programming note: Andrew Freedman's column will appear tomorrow.
- In addition to the twisters, the storms caused some flash flooding and produced hail. See the NWS local storm reports for more detail.
- Because of the localized nature of the heavy rain yesterday, totals were quite variable across the region. Reagan National recorded 1.4" of rain, but Baltimore Washington International got just 0.65". Dulles Airport was the winner among the three local airports, measuring 2.9" of rain, a new record for the date (shattering the previous record of just 0.46"). Most locations, according to the NWS, have received 1-3" since the rain began. How much rain fell where you live?
- With the deep fetch of moisture from the southeast, the intermittent bands of locally heavy rain, and the rotation in some of the storms (and the isolated tornadoes), it almost seemed like we were dealing with a tropical storm yesterday. But we weren't. Yesterday's storm, a cold core system or cut-off low, had sufficiently cold air aloft for hail. You would never/seldom see that with a tropical storm, which is a warm core weather system -- meaning the freezing level is usually too high for hail to form.
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