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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 05/31/2008

Tornado Watch Issued; Storm Threat Until Evening

By Dan Stillman

It may not rain everywhere, but some storms severe


2:50 p.m.: Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for much of the immediate metro area until 3:45 p.m. Heaviest storms in southern Fairfax County headed into southern Prince Georges and Charles counties.

2:30 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect for parts of Fauquier, Stafford and Prince William counties, and Manassas until 3:30 p.m. In the immediate metro area (inside the beltway), more storms are passing through but are not severe.

Refresh page to update alerts above. Also in this post, see our Severe Weather Tracking Station below for current radar and severe warnings as they are issued by the National Weather Service, and below that information on the Tornado Watch in effect. Or, jump straight to our full forecast.

Severe Weather Tracking Station
Warning Text: DC | MD | VA
Radar: Latest D.C. area radar loop, courtesy National Weather Service. Refresh page to update, or click here to expand.
LWX Warnings
Warnings: Severe warnings from the National Weather Service. Automatically reloads every minute (most browsers).

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the metro area through 5 p.m., which means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Warnings will be issued for any severe thunderstorms or tornadoes that are confirmed or believed to be imminent, and will light up on the Severe Weather Tracking Station above.

For more information, including the most likely times for storms today, see our full forecast through early next week. Keep reading for previous alerts.

1:30 p.m.: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for much of metro area until 2:30 p.m. Very heavy rain and strong gusty winds with this storm.

1:15 p.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warning for northeast Prince Georges and central Anne Arundel counties until 2:00 p.m.

1:00 PM: Severe thunderstorm warning for Loudoun County until 2:00 p.m.

12:50 PM: Severe thunderstorm warning for Washington, D.C., southeastern Montgomery, north central Prince Georges, northwestern Arlington, and north central Fairfax counties until 1:30 p.m. Storm moving west to east: HAIL TO THE SIZE OF PENNIES AND WIND GUSTS TO 60 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED IN THE WARNED AREA.

11:02 AM: The National Weather Service has cancelled the severe thunderstorm warning for Loudoun and Frederick County. The storm will move through northern Montgomery County over the next 45 minutes or so with a good bit of lightning and possibly some gusty winds, but the potential for damaging winds has dminished.

10:45 PM: Radar indicates a severe thunderstrom capable of producing penny-size hail and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph is tracking east through southern Frederick County and northern Loudoun County. This storm will likely reach northern Montgomery County in the next 30 minutes.

By Dan Stillman  | May 31, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Alerts  
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Next: Update: Storm Threat Shifting South


Will there be subsequent TS lines following this Loudoun/Fredrick county cell?

Posted by: GISman | May 31, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Storm north of Leesburg showing a little rotation. Lots popping up in WV now.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I was about to say this one went through Harpers Ferry without too much drama, but you're saying there's more to come immediately? This afternoon will be "amazing," as the celebs like to say about everything. I'm eating chocolate with both hands (women would understand this).

Posted by: tinkerbelle | May 31, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Good cell moving into Howard County - I'm hearing some good thunder here in Ellicott City and the line is still far to the west of me. Question for the CW team - do you think the action will be out of the immediate DC area by late this afternoon? I have a dinner in Rockville at 5:30 then a concert at Strathmore at 8:00 - just curious if you think the heavy stuff will be gone by then.

Posted by: Brian in EC | May 31, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

still concerned re: 3pm flight out of Dulles.

Your thoughts?

Posted by: Dulles today | May 31, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's time travel. See, they are not seeing the storms because they are posting from the future.

Staying indoors today and getting cozy with the weather radio.

Posted by: ep | May 31, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

GI, there will be more following the first line that is mainly missing the area to the north (though might be setting up boundaries for later activity). Some locations may actually see several rounds of severe storms today.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Will we get any of these severe storms? The radar seems to say no, but everyone else says yes.

Posted by: Period | May 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Tinkerbelle & ~sg. I hope it doesn't get that bad!

Overcast and gusty in southern Silver Spring.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

GISman, Period: This was just an initial area of storms, tracking through the northern part of the area. There will likely be more storms as the day goes on. You should check out our full forecast.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but be somewhat skeptical of the severe weather forecasts. The radar shows most of the storm activity in Southern Pennsylvania, with only a blip or two on radar where we live. The E/NE track of the storm also seems to spell less rain for our area.

Of course, it only takes one bolt of lightning on the roof to change my mind. :-)

Posted by: mcleaNed | May 31, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Obviously there's some technical difficulties with the comment time stamps, and thus the order they are apperaing. Sorry about that ... we've asked for the problem to be checked in to.

Posted by: Dan, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

CWG - what's up w/ your server - your time stamps are an hour ahead!

Posted by: time stamp | May 31, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
District of Columbia
southeastern Montgomery County in central Maryland...
north central Prince Georges County in central Maryland...
northwestern Arlington County in northern Virginia...
north central Fairfax County in northern Virginia...

* until 130 PM EDT

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

in bethesda some thunder but no hail

Posted by: sam | May 31, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

in bethesda, pouring rain one one side of house, drizzleing on the other. weird.

Posted by: sam | May 31, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@tinkerbelle: I totally understand, and approve. If a storm hits you hard, you'll handle it much better with the taste of chocolate to carry you through!

Posted by: ~sg | May 31, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

A bit of light rain just now.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My tinkerbelle/~sg comment has the correct timestamp of 12:10 pm but my light rain comment has a 1:12 pm timestamp.

12:14 pm.

A rumble of thunder right now.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@Murre, it never hurts to be prepared! :-D

Posted by: ~sg | May 31, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm skeptical about our chances for heavy rain, despite the on-and-off thunder that I've been hearing. Most of this storm's energy seems to be well to our north, and the E-NE direction of the system won't help to drag any of the rain down to our area. Though I'm well aware that thunderstorms can quickly materialize, I can't help but feel that McLean will emerge from this system dry.

Posted by: mcleaNed | May 31, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Nothing but dark clouds moving north of here in Springfield right now...

Posted by: Mark | May 31, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

THIS STORM HAS EXPLODED! Look at the boom in lightning strikes over in Loudoun County. A large cell is bearing down on the DC area, and the sky is dark enough that it looks more like 8 p.m. than 1:45. Prepare for something big.

(Boy, was I wrong to shrug off this storm.)

Posted by: mcleaNed | May 31, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Power flickering! Chaotic rain outside! Trees swaying! Abandon ship! Wait--we're not in a ship! Daaaah!

Posted by: mcleaNed | May 31, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

cell is moving through mclean now; lots of T and L and heavy rain. wind isn't too bad; gusts no more than 20-25mph; glad i staked my garden though!

Posted by: Peter L | May 31, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I've been seeing some pretty large lightning strikes west of Arlington.

Posted by: Period | May 31, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Storm in Loudon bears watching, has shown some rotation.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not so distant thunder, ok, close thunder, lots of rain, no visible lightning.

The Icelandic chocolate in the freezer has been diminished.

BTW, some of my posts aren't going through, and some posters' time stamp is at real time while others is still one hour ahead.

2:00 pm.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Looks like no rain for Fairfax/Arlington.

Posted by: Period | May 31, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Ian, I'm watching it, if only because it looks to be the second severe thunderstorm to pass close to my house.

The center of one severe warning storm has passed over us. Moderate to heavy rain, some thunder, no visible lightning.

I'm not hitting the chocolate just yet.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Tornado Vortex Signature" moving through SE DC according to Weather Underground.

Posted by: ShawnDC | May 31, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The storm has largely passed us. Winds weren't that strong and the sky wasn't that dark. Lights flickered a little bit.

--in Silver Spring, 2:22 pm

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

lots o lightning

Posted by: sam | May 31, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

round 2 for mclean; just heavy, steady rain so far

Posted by: Peter L | May 31, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The storm has hit. Wow! Strong winds, heavy rain, lightening...but no rotation, right? Right?

Posted by: ~sg | May 31, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Spoke too soon. Heavy downpours, thunder, and lightning in Springfield now.

Posted by: Mark | May 31, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Just got home and started pouring like crazy. Weather radio was going off. We're soaked and I'm shutting down computer. Just got really bad really fast here in Lake Ridge.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | May 31, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

very loud t'storm that passed through Clarendon earlier. Power is out.

Posted by: jeffc | May 31, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Heavy thunder -- the lights have already flickered once -- with heavy rain in Brookland, NE DC.

Posted by: ep | May 31, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Penny size hail here in Edgewater, MD in Anne Arundel County at 1:25 pm from the first thunderstorm. Looks like were in for round two shortly! Had very heavy rain and strong lightning/thunder with first one!

Posted by: Joey | May 31, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

About 2.5 inches of rain here in SW DC, but no exceptional lightening/thunder and winds have been light. It's not over, but so far I'm feeling let down.

Posted by: Steve Tracton, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

It blew thru here 15 Min ago. No hail, strong wind. Getting hit by another cell now.
Shady Side (So. Anne Arundel Md.)

Posted by: Etek | May 31, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, Icelandic chocolate for weather emergencies, how elegant. I'm a Lindt woman myself. (I know, I know, so plebian.) I would hazard to state that so far Harpers Ferry has slid through okay, but I don't want to be like McLeaNed and call down the weather gods on my head. Wonder how things are in Augusta Jim's neck of the woods. Probably he's running the hose on his veggies as we speak.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | May 31, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Andrews AFB just recorded a wind gust to 60 MPH.

Posted by: Andrew Freedman, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

tinkerbelle, I don't always have Icelandic's just what I picked up recently. But, I will purchase it again. Lindt is good too.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Whoa- exciting last half hour here in Mt Vernon. Some mega thunder claps, torrential rain (1/2" in twenty minutes), and ONE piece of penny sized hail with a lot of smaller pieces. Quiet now, but dog is still under the bed.

Posted by: Etta | May 31, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

DCA over 10" of rain for the month now, all time record is just over 1/2" away.

In other news, say hello to Arthur.

Posted by: Ian, Capital Weather Gang | May 31, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

A squall just passed here in Chaptico, St. Mary's County. It lasted 15 minutes, with flash-flood intensity. Skies are still cloudy with thunder. Very black to the south of here...looks like more to come.

Posted by: Victoria Henderson | May 31, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Things got hairy here in chinatown for the past hour. two distinct periods of intense rain and wind. the first was downright scary! havent seen storms like this in a while.
cue the drought discussion...:)

Posted by: Rishi | May 31, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

so hubby's 2:45 flight out of Dulles is now 4:40 . . .

Posted by: dulles delay | May 31, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

power has been out in seven corners for over an hour. Glad I can check things out on my iPhone

Posted by: FC | May 31, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Tornado watch canceled for Jefferson County. Whew. A nap feels like a plan but I'm afraid that might REALLY tick off the weather gods. Are N winds building in yet? I'm noticing that stuff on radar that seems headed for me ends up going S a few degrees.

Posted by: tinkerbelle | May 31, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Several of the cells today showed some of the most intense echoes I've ever seen in this and purple on the Accuweather radar, which is near the absolute max of the severe end. That is usually indicative of large hail.

The first cell which went over me in Vienna had the marks of a severe storm....mammatus, dark, wedge-shaped shelf cloud with a sharp downdraft/temperature drop, intense cloud-ground lightning, 50+ wind gusts, and almost 2" of rain. Another, slightly less intense cell followed about an hour later.

Posted by: Mike | May 31, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

My stepdaughter reported light green clouds in Takoma Park during the height of the storm that passed by during the 2:00 hour. That dovetails with the 2:15 post of the tornado vortex signature.

3:48 pm.

Posted by: Murre | May 31, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Thunder and heavy rain has let up dramatically here in Lake Ridge. We got a ton of rain, a little wind, and quite a bit of thunder during that. Well, that was fun.

WX radio went off a little while ago and said PWC was under watch until 900PM. Hopefully they'll let that expire early and nothing develops to our west.

And Tropical Storm Arthur just formed off the coast of Belize. It's moving inland, will re-emerge in the Gulf, then shortly thereafter make another landfall in Central Mexico. Arthur is from the remnants of TS Alma in the Pacific.

4:03 PM 5-31-08

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | May 31, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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