Photography: Saturday's Severe Storm
On Saturday evening, environmental conditions perfectly aligned for the development of isolated severe storms that impacted parts of the metro area. An outflow boundary, a "mini" cold front that formed from the spreading of thunderstorm-cooled air to the south, moved into the area. This cool boundary, clashing with the warm and humid air in place, triggered the severe thunderstorms between 8:00 and 9:30 p.m. that produced some reports of large hail, isolated downed trees, and brief but torrential rain.
Continue reading for more on the outflow boundary, its associated storminess and additional photos of a storm viewed from D.C. Will more storms develop this afternoon and evening? See the full forecast, NatCast and UnitedCast.
Following a warm and increasingly humid day, thunderstorms that developed south of the area in Virginia were slowly drifting north and re-developing along the outflow boundary that was acting as a trigger for additional storminess. These small but vigorous storms were visible from D.C. as they approached the Potomac River about 50 miles south of the city during the early evening.
The boundary moved across the heart of the area between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. as a new thunderstorm developed immediately behind it and began drifting toward the northeast and into the metro region. As the storm blossomed, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Prince William and southeastern Fauquier counties.
By 8:45 p.m., severe thunderstorm warnings were in effect for much of the metro area as the storm moved towards places like Vienna and the city of Fairfax while skirting the western portions of D.C. Almost as quickly as the storm became severe, it then weakened while exiting Virginia and heading into Montgomery County, Maryland.
From my location, in upper northwest D.C., I was able to capture several photos of lightning emanating from the side of the storm while it peaked and then began to diminish. There were a handful of fairly spectacular forks of lightning, though some cloud debris obstructed my view. No rain fell at my location with this storm, but I did hear a few rumbles of thunder as the storm passed by.
All photographs in this post by Ian Livingston
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