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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 07/25/2010

Severe thunderstorms sliding south

By Jason Samenow

* Power outage maps for Dominion Electric | Pepco | BG&E | SMECO *
* Severe Thunderstorm Watch for metro region until 8 p.m. *
* Heat advisory through 8 p.m. | Recap of yesterday's heat | Photos *
* Outside now? Radar & more: Weather Wall | Tropical Tracking *
* Consec days 90+: 12; Total 90+: 42 (Apr: 2; May: 3; Jun: 18; Jul: 19) *

Live NWS warnings & CWG alerts
Fed by CWG's @dcWeatherAlerts. See warning map and radar below.
Full warning text: DC | MD | VA.

Updates between 1:50 and 3:45 p.m.

5:00 p.m. update: Last of storms now swinging across eastern Charles and Calvert counties and into St. Mary's county where they may still producing damaging winds.

4:15 p.m. update: Severe storms now exiting the District and southern Fairfax county and have moved into the east and southeast suburbs (Anne Arundel, southern Prince William and southern Prince George's counties). Widespread power outages continue to be reported. These storms will continue heading east southeast across Stafford (in Va.) Charles and Calvert county in the next hour.

Tweets/comments/photos from readers:

@relished: Lots of trees down in the Rockville area. No power.

@bmp246: Incoming in Downtown Silver Spring

@tbva: Cleared Falls Church...lots of sirens out there. I live near Rt 66, hope nothing bad going on. A million sticks in the street but trees look ok around here. Power flickered a lot but it's steady on now

Comment below with conditions where you are. And see our full forecast through mid-week. Continue reading this post for prior updates...

3:45 p.m.update: Severe storms now exiting Montgomery County and heading through District and northern Fairfax County. Power outages have been reported in many areas. Storms have produced torrential rains and damaging wind gusts. Storms now bearing down on southern Fairfax County and Prince George's County.

Earlier Tweets from readers:

@ Saschakeet Sudden explosive wind in Chevy Chase. Signs, patio restaurant furn flying! Heavy downpour."

@ raisininvasion: Tree branches down in Friendship Heights DC

@snaphappy: my table blew off my deck! (Boyds, Maryland)

@ jfdulac: downed trees all along capital view between forest glen and plyers mill

@ platinumforests: Downed trees everywhere. It ripped live limbs off of the trees. (Silver Spring, Md.)

3:15 p.m. update: Intense storms about to impact much of immediate metro area - especially north and northeast of I-66. Entire immediate area under warning. NWS mentioning "destructive winds" of over 70 mph possible.

3:00 p.m. update: Strong to severe thunderstorms presently in Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties area heading eastward and will arrive in Montgomery and Fairfax counties in the next hour. The strongest activity in northern Loudoun county may produce damaging winds as it crosses into Maryland. Isolated gusts of 50-70 mph are possible. This line of storms should be approaching the western side of the beltway around 4 p.m.

From 1:50 p.m.: As an approaching cold front clashes with near-record heat this afternoon, strong to severe thunderstorms are likely to develop. These storms will be capable of produce torrential rain, dangerous lightning, and damaging wind. To the northwest in WV, Pa., and Md., numerous reports of downed trees associated with the approaching line of storms have been logged by the National Weather Service. The most likely timing for the storms is between 2:30 and 4:00 p.m. north and northwest of the beltway, between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. west of the beltway, inside the beltway and northeast, and between 4:30 and 6:00 east, southeast, and south of the beltway.

By Jason Samenow  | July 25, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Cold front late today signals break in heat
Next: Whew! Storms move out, heat advisory canceled


We're sort of south of the better dynamics and a west wind at all levels is not optimal for severe around here, but the clash of air mass may overcome a good bit of that.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If anyone's hybernating from the heat this afternoon... there's a cheesy movie on fox5 entitled Storm Cell that started at 2:00

Posted by: spgass1 | July 25, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Please see my earlier post re the hazards of a power outage.

As I said, we may be too darned dependent on electric power reliability for our own good. Nowadays, shut off the power...the entire infrastructure collapses! We can't even go back to "manual" if we have to...everything runs on electronics. What would make things worse is if the North Koreans, the Iranians or EVEN THE VENEZUELANS [!] developed the capability to "shut us down" with a well-aimed electromagnetic pulse. And this doesn't even mention the possibility that some band of terrorists like this Al Shabaab group could do so. As it is even a thunderstorm-initiated power outage is bad enough.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | July 25, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The ugly stuff on radar is just north of the Md-Pa border in the York-Lancaster area. Just like Alberta Clippers, scooting just north of our immediate region. We'll probably have some rough t'storms, though. It just got up to 100.4 on my ourdoor digital thermometer, so there is plenty of heat.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 25, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

groan. your article makes no mention of "west" of the beltway. Does this mean northern PW county/Dulles area not expecting to get rain? :(

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | July 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Just north of Winchester VA a very strong area of winds is showing up on radar. It is headed toward northern Loudoun county at the moment.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

meant hibernating (sp)

In other news, thunder heard on the mountain... system looks to be moving pretty fast on radar...

Posted by: spgass1 | July 25, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Now 106 in Franklin, Va. They are really cooking in Southside today.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 25, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse


No - west was just inadvertently left out... it's in there now.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Warning for Loudoun mentions destructive winds over 70mph. West winds above can help bring in mid level dry air that can cause some big wind.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The squall line in the WV eastern panhandle has gotten noticeably uglier on radar on the last few minutes. If this stuff hits D.C., party's over. (But pls wait 'til the Bayreuth Lohengrin intranet stream ends!)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 25, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: spgass1 | July 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Had some real good wind out of the north as the first batch passed by to the north. Luckily I am on the south side of the hill. Second batch is moving in from the west with breezes and mod rain.

Posted by: eric654 | July 25, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I predict a thunderclap at 349pm in western alexandria, with 21 minutes of rain and wind

Posted by: pvogel88 | July 25, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DCA up to 99; will it hit 100? Hopefully, CWG will post if this happens (if the impending storms don't distract...)

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | July 25, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Massive winds just went through Leesburg. A purple, red & gray sky with swirling winds - 60-70 mph easy! Things have calmed down now. Just breezy!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | July 25, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Just doing some work and sorta keeping an eye on the weather alerts on my phone. I don't really need hourly reports that it is hot. Then the words "tornado warning" caught my eye. Whoa. This could be an interesting Sunday afternoon.

Posted by: epjd | July 25, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Winds blowing very hard in Fair Oaks and temp is dropping rapidly. Went from 96 to 77 in 10 minutes at nearest Weatherbug station. Taking cover, windows are making noise and hear comes the rain and thunder.

Posted by: rwalker66 | July 25, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Right on the edge of a big storm. I've watched one of my digital thermometers drop from 97 to 84 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Wind, a little rain, a little far away thunder. Heat wave over!!!

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 25, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the worst of it is going to go just north of the district, MoCo looks pretty intense.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Tornado warning now in MoCo. not the strongest rotation I've ever seen but I'd say there will be a LOT of trees down in Rockville.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | July 25, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Very very strong wind here at the Silver Spring/Takoma Park border. Oh, and here's the rain. Not much of it yet, but it's getting quite dark.

Posted by: maralenenok | July 25, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

It's arrived in Rosslyn. Wind and rain both pretty heavy.

Posted by: marathoner | July 25, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Getting hammered here with heavy rain & one way too close for comfort lightning/thunder clap. Lotta rain!
Temp now at 76.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 25, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Storm just passed Aldie, and we didn't even get the worst of it. Lots of rain, lots of wind from rare directions. Wow.

Posted by: tws1372 | July 25, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the clarification on "west" of the beltway...northern PW did indeed get some rain, but just from 3:15-3:25. Preceeded by heavy winds, temp went from 101 to 80. Even though clearing now, unofficially my local rain gauge says about 0.2-.25 inches.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | July 25, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Here in SW DC, it was dead silent as the clouds were rolling in. About 2 minutes ago, a HUGE gust of wind blew through and now things are headed south pretty quickly.

I'll take anything to cool off the air, though. What an unbearable weekend.

Posted by: SWester2010 | July 25, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I see bright sunlight on the apartment building across from mine in Alexandria but very, very dark clouds above. I think the dark clouds will win in the next few minutes.

This could get ugly.

Posted by: -pj- | July 25, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Still in the middle of it in Fair Oaks. Haven't heard much thunder, but there is lots of very heavy rain. I think that heat advisory that was in effect until 8pm can be cancelled now. Temp here is 74 degrees.

Posted by: rwalker66 | July 25, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Massive wind the extremely heavy rain in Oakton. I think I hear my plants singing!

Posted by: SPS1 | July 25, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

It still felt like it came out of nowhere here it college the course of an hour it got darker and darker...good thing the wife and I decided not to go to the pool! Now the dog is terrified b/c of the thunder, the wind is gusting and pushing the limits of those tree branches, and the lights have dimmed a few times. Sure hope we don't lose power!! ...Not sure if the rain qualifies as "soaking" or "drenching," but it's sure coming down!!

Posted by: kolya02 | July 25, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Power out at 3:30, still out, in Silver Spring. It got dark and quite windy with buckets of rain. Now just the last thunderclaps heading away.

Now to wait for the electricity to come back. Ha.

Posted by: Murre | July 25, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The storm was crazy as it blew into Falls Church....just got the stuff that would blow around secured when it hit. Yikes. Now it's like a regular thunderstorm. 20 laps left on the race....come on power..stay on

Posted by: tbva | July 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Very intense winds and black skies in North Silver Spring near Bel Pre and Layhill. Powers still out. Also lost three window screens.

Posted by: Hanz1 | July 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

South Arlington: I am watching Lord of the Rings, Battle @ Helm's Deep complete with the best surround effects of rain, lightning and thunder! Beat that, Best Buy! ;-)

Posted by: isitsnowingyet | July 25, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

High winds and very dark sky here in Lake Ridge; no rain yet, but it's beginning to thunder and the cat just dashed under the bed. We've been dealing with intermittent power outages here since around 2 p.m (the recording on Dominion says they're due to "failure of an underground line"), which is adding to the fun.

Posted by: meta2 | July 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Sun is now out in Centreville VA.
That was a very fast moving storm.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Is the tornado warning in MontCo over? (AKA can I come out of hiding?)

Posted by: JedinBethesda | July 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Got back yesterday from a week of fishing on the St. Lawrence, about 30 miles SW of Montreal, & they r also having record breaking heat. The water temp was the warmest in recent memory on the seaway, which really shut off the samllmouth bite. At least temps only in the mid 80's. I get home & it's 101, yuck, & no rain while I was gone. Now have gotten 1.4" of rain since June 3. Looks like this batch of storms will once again avoid my yard. All the bushes I planted this spring r dead. Really 3-4 days of soaking rain.

Posted by: VaTechBob | July 25, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Storm has wound down and left Fair Oaks. You can see patches of blue sky to the west, but on radar it looks like beyond that there is another line of just showers coming. Temp still at 74 and holding. This was mainly a wind and rain storm for us.

Posted by: rwalker66 | July 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Nothing more than heavy rain and moderate wind in Oakton after all is said and done. Potential for more later this evening?

Posted by: PSUMarkDC | July 25, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

It's a monsoon!

Posted by: meta2 | July 25, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Wondering whether to cancel swim practice this evening in Dale City? Starts at 6, goes til 9. Any thoughts?

Posted by: chrissie413 | July 25, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Cleared Falls Church...lots of sirens out there. I live near Rt 66, hope nothing bad going on. A million sticks in the street but trees look ok around here. Power flickered a lot but it's steady on now

Posted by: tbva | July 25, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Aldie. Strong breezes, 80's (feels like it anyway). This can't be the same day as a few hours ago.

Just the trailing batch of rain come through with blue blue skies to the west.... Steam still coming off the asphalt.

Posted by: tws1372 | July 25, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bmp246 | July 25, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

100F even at Lake of the Woods between Fredericksburg and Culpeper with red blobs bearing down. 30 miles from here behind the blobs wunderground station shows 81F.

Posted by: ASColletti | July 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Starting to calm down in Alexandria. Came in fast, and the wind was intense for a bit. Power flickered but we survived- I think my little sunflower and lavender plants did not. Thank God for the break though-- we asthmatics needed something to clear the air for us (not to mention break the heat)!

Posted by: MasonPatriot1 | July 25, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Woah! That was intense. That big cell hit us here in Laytonsville at 3:10- winds first, then the deluge. Lost power several times, really surprised, and happy, it's back (Sorry to those without- been there many times).

According the the wind meter (Wunderground weather station) at the golf course, we got a 64 mph wind gust, and I believe it. While I was doing last minute prep, the whole house shook for several minutes due to the wind (ok probably less than that, but it seemed like it). This reminded me of a tropical storm I once went through. The rain was torrential, and wind blown. Our road was nearly overcome by the runoff, leaving a passable center. Funny, now that I look at the weather station, it seems to have stopped sending data sometime after that wind gust.

The system had an eerie grey-blue hue to it in places as it approached, and some of the lightning was plain startling. I saw a big array of cloud to cloud lightning crawl across the NW sky... and then another power outage.

The tornado warning popped up a mile or two south of us, and I can see why. That part of the storm was visible from here, and had a greenish hue to it, like the type they show on the tornado chasing shows. It was big, too.

I have to give some credit to the mobile smart phone industry and the weather web sites that have made themselves compatible. I was able to use my pda phone while the power was out to first find out about the tornado warning, and second to determine how close it actually was as we moved to the basement. I could have, instead, used a weather radio, but the stuff available on the cell phone was much more specific- especially the live radar feeds. Now had the network gone down... weather radio all the way.

I hope everyone is ok. I have to go check around for damage now that the rain has stopped. Can you believe my 4 yr old slept through the whole thing- including being carried downstairs until it was safe, yet if I open a soda can on the other side of the house, she's up...go figure.

Posted by: dprats21 | July 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Temperature in Crystal City dropped from 97 to 75 in about 15 minutes. It was quite fun to watch everyone in the nearby apartment buildings stand out on our balconies and watch the storm clouds come rolling in, followed by the winds, and then make a mad dash indoors as the rain began.

Just as the storm was beginning, there was what looked to be an electrical explosion just behind the fire station at 18th St S and S Hayes St. Flash of green, then flash of white, and blue and white sparks. I saw it from my 7th floor balcony, but didn't get to see anything after that, as the rain started in earnest right after. It could have been either the seniors center or the soccer fields. Either way, it looked bleedin' awesome!

Posted by: BinaBallerina1 | July 25, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Made some videos of the storm coming in from my balcony in Rosslyn. Note the huge, rising dust cloud around Reagan in one of them.

Posted by: genestad | July 25, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Downed trees pulled down power lines, Pyle Road blocked b/t River and Maiden.

Posted by: CobaltBlue1 | July 25, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This effing thing killed power to my office and my datacenter. Lots of cleanup to do after power comes up. Damn!

Posted by: RoseVA | July 25, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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