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Posted at 8:30 PM ET, 08/ 4/2010

Storms weaken while passing through area

By Jason Samenow

* Heat Advisory for entire area 11 a.m. thru 8 p.m. Thursday *
* The great weathercaster switch | Heat records falling left and right *
* Outside now? Radar, lightning, temps & more: Weather Wall *

8:30 p.m. update: As I suspected might happen, these storms weakened as they ran into more stable air over the immediate metro region. And the squall line continues to fragment as it progresses eastward. Over the next 30-60 minutes, some locations along and east of I-95 may see some brief downpours and gusty winds, others may experience no thunderstorm activity. Unless storms re-intensify, this will be the last update this evening. Refer to Ian's PM Update from earlier for forecast details for tomorrow and beyond.

8:00 p.m. update: Storms are now impacting eastern Loudoun and northern Prince William counties and on the doorstep of Fairfax and Montgomery counties. Should move inside the beltway between 8:15 and 8:40 p.m. Storms have weakened and there are no warnings in effect for immediate metro area though warnings are in effect in Prince William and Stafford counties. Despite lack of warning for the immediate metro area, gusty winds and downpours are likely. Here are a couple reports from commenters and Twitter followers who have been impacted:

@megachris dime size hail in Leesburg
@spgass1 eastern warren co ... heard plenty of thunder... and watched trees sway in the wind... power flickered...

7:30 p.m. update: The warnings for the western suburbs detailed in the update below (from 7:00 p.m.) remain in effect as the storms continue advancing towards the immediate metro region. While these storms are not as intense as those from a week ago this past Sunday, trees have been reported down on multiple roads near Winchester, Va. The forward motion of the storms does seem to be slowing a bit, so they may not impact western Fairfax and Montgomery counties until around 8 p.m. moving towards the District between 8:30 and 9 p.m.

7:00 p.m. update: The National Weather Service (NWS) is wasting no time in sounding the alarm bell for these fast moving storms. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect through 8 p.m. for a large part of the western suburbs (including all of Loudoun and much of Fauquier and Frederick counties) through western parts of both Fairfax and Montgomery counties -- where the storms will arrive closer to between 7:30 and 7:45. NWS is calling this a "dangerous situation" and indicates storms have a history of producing "widespread wind damage"

From 6:00 p.m.: The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, O.K. has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire region through 1 a.m. It highlights the following risks with these storms:


A strong thunderstorm squall line currently is ripping through eastern West Virginia into western Virginia at a forward speed of around 55 mph. These storms have a history of producing damaging winds, with a gust of 78 mph reported in Cumberland, Md. While they may lose some of their intensity as the sun goes down, strong to severe storms could impact the metro region between around 7:30 p.m. (in the outer western suburbs) to 10:30 p.m. in the eastern suburbs. Though NWS highlights the possibility of hail, the most likely severe impacts with these storms are strong winds and dangerous lightning. We will post updates as these storms draw closer.

By Jason Samenow  | August 4, 2010; 8:30 PM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Heat makes a comeback
Next: Forecast: Stifling heat, strong storm risk


Damaging thunderstorms are possible tonight starting as early as 8pm. Residents should monitor this situation very closely.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | August 4, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to point out the NWS is warning way ahead of the line, just in the off chance we get questions like after July 25 this go around... ;-)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 4, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update sure sounds dangerous, nobody likes 1 inch hail..yikes! I hope this isn't too bad for those people who lost power before..

Posted by: jrodfoo | August 4, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Sure hope the storms aren't too severe when they get here; I would welcome a few hours of rain though!

Posted by: natsncats | August 4, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Thunder in the distance every few seconds SW of Front Royal.

Posted by: eric654 | August 4, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I was without power for 72 hours. Learned my lesson; will never again pack freezer full of food and risk losing it all. Going forward, 50% food, 50% ice.

The pair of 16 pound bags of ice I had to buy for the last outage should last a long time. Might as well leave it in there--it cost enough, lol. Summer storms, winter storms, water main breaks... you never know.

Posted by: Cat11endofdays | August 4, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

This is going to be bad. Looks like the line on 7/25

Posted by: MKadyman | August 4, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Heavy rain after gusts of about 35 (my guess from somewhat protected location). Now a lull, doesn't seem like a really full storm yet.

Posted by: eric654 | August 4, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Now some more gusty winds (30 mph or so) plus big drops of rain from raggedy looking clouds. Brighter to the west though and not as much thunder. I am going to call dud here. Maybe it will pick up east of the Blue Ridge, but I don't think it will.

Posted by: eric654 | August 4, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

MKadyman, radar is not currently showing any winds as high as 7/25 and the line has been weakening recently -- not to say it can't pulse back up, and there have been plenty of wind damage reports well west.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 4, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Too much of this darned power-outage stuff happening this warming???

Seems PEPCO is faring far worse than other area utilities.

At least it's not a dance night...that's Friday...but I have another errand to Ballston tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | August 4, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Appears to be weakening as it approaches the beltway...

Posted by: Cat11endofdays | August 4, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Report from eastern Warren Co... heard plenty of thunder... and watched trees sway in the wind... power flickered... still picking up rain... cooled off to 72F

Posted by: spgass1 | August 4, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The guy on Channel 9 said tomorrow's setup looks similar to 7/25...

Concerning power, Rappahannock Coop recently took over my area from Allegheny Power and so far seem to be pretty impressive. Soon after they took over, I saw them out clearing trees from the right-of-way.

Posted by: spgass1 | August 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The line of thunderstorms looks similar to the bowing of 7/25, although they appear to be weakening. Maybe by the time they hit the beltway they won't be so bad. Don't need another 3 days without electricity!
Remember: Full freezer, not so full fridge. The full freezer acts as it's own freezer. Everything is below 32 degrees and thus is cold to begin with. Ice is solid water and frozen food is the equivalent. Just don't open the door. My freezer was rock solid after 58 hours of no electricity. The fridge is different. Everything in the fridge is above 32 degrees and absorbs cool air. Thus the fridge is always working to keep the items cool. The more in the fridge, the harder it works. Less in the fridge - and less opening of the door - means a cooler fridge for less work. Keeping the fingers crossed for everyone. All hail the electron god. :-)

Posted by: pjdunn1 | August 4, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Nothing in Oakton yet. Did I hear right that the weekend is going to be decent????? Say it ain't so!:)

Posted by: SPS1 | August 4, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Centreville VA Despite spooky skies & gusty winds we've had about 200 enormous raindrops total. Only a couple faraway thunder rumbles. Will a second batch be at all possible later tonight, or was that it?

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | August 4, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Thunder and dark as night here in southwestern HoCo, but no rain just yet...

Posted by: kathyb39 | August 4, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Thunder every few seconds, lightning, and winds are picking up in Dumfries area. Just started about 5 min ago.

I am not feeling the love here...

Posted by: southbridgemom | August 4, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The Klingon Shield is in full force as activity moves to the north and south of the immediate DC metro

Posted by: Jamie66 | August 4, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

And here is the rain! Raining in waves now here in HoCo. Power went out, but came back on....please oh please stay with us BG&E!

Posted by: kathyb39 | August 4, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I love the Klingon cloaking device comment. Darn it. I'm going to have to water!

Posted by: SPS1 | August 4, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

@pjdunn1 - Thanks for the explanation. At 48 hours my freezer was good, at 60 hours the ground beef & frozen lasagna were good, everything else had thawed out. (Deli, mainly.)

A pair of frozen 2 liter soda bottles w/drinking water in them were still 90% frozen at 72 hours, I just should have made more in advance. But who's thinking it's going to last 72 hours?

@Jamie66 - Good one! I guessed a split at 5:39pm. It just looked like it was going to break apart.

Posted by: Cat11endofdays | August 4, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

SERIOUSLY??! All that wind, thunder and lightning, and about 250 (okay, MAYBE 300) raindrops. Definitely all bark, no bite here.

Glad the storm part weakened, but was hoping for a little rain.

Posted by: southbridgemom | August 4, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Hell has frozen over, rained early am & again this pm. Twice in 1 day after 3 times in 61 days. Spotsy. dome must b malfunctioning.

Posted by: VaTechBob | August 4, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I must have jinxed myself... we lost power for about 30 minutes right after posting. I called on my old fashioned phone to report the outage and they said they had 750 w/o power and a gentleman was out trying to find and fix the problem. I guess he was successful because the lights are back on already.

Posted by: spgass1 | August 4, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

spgass1, there are some similarities to 7/25 for tomorrow, and perhaps more upper level energy being shown ahead of time, but you can still end up with less without much trouble I suppose.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 4, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

We had nothing in the Vienna/Oakton area except the remains of a leftover, half-ragged shelf cloud, a couple of 35-40 MPH gusts, and a couple of spits of rain...that's it. Nothing else. No lightning, thunder, hail, really strong winds, or even heavy rain. The line seemed to fall apart over Fairfax and Montgomery Counties, while it stayed strong to the south and north.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | August 4, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, VATechBob! ;o)

Posted by: southbridgemom | August 4, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@southbridgemom - I was just thinking, if we had to lose out on the rain where I am, I'm glad VaTechBob finally saw some!

Posted by: natsncats | August 4, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I give up. I don't think that I have ever seen such a large and vicious looking group of thunderstorms that close to NW Montgomery only to have it fall apart 20 miles away. Not a drop.

Posted by: MKadyman | August 4, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

vatechbob's dome must have migrated to New Balmer as we watched vicious-looking clouds fly by and just fling around some stuff on the deck. No rain to speak of. We did get some this a.m., but not enough to write home about ....

Posted by: weathergrrl | August 4, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

@natsncats-- Absolutely agree with you! :o)

Posted by: southbridgemom | August 5, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

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