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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Strong front, some severe storms racing by

By Jason Samenow

Severe t'storm watch & high wind warning in effect

Radar & lightning: Latest D.C. area radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

2:00 p.m. update In a blink of an eye, the storms are pretty much gone for D.C. and the north and west suburbs. But they are now booking southeast, and southern Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, as well as northern Calvert and Charles counties are under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 2:30 p.m. Wind gusts to 60 mph are possible with these storms.

1:45 p.m. update Hail picture from Twitter follower @fizleglitz from Jessup, Maryland.

1:40 p.m. update: Many reports of hail have come in northeast of the District, including Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, College Park, Laurel, Columbia, and Baltimore. The good news is that the worst of the storms has passed through these areas. But the storms are now sliding through eastern and southern Fairfax county and the District. Fortunately, the storms are not as strong here.

1:30 p.m. update: A severe thunderstorm warning is now in effect for eastern Montgomery and Howard counties, Anne Arundel county, Baltimore, and northern Prince George's county through 2:15 p.m. The storms scooting through the region have a history of producing small hail and may produce wind gusts to 60 mph.

1:20 p.m. update Some stronger storms have formed along the cold front now headed through eastern Montgomery and Howard county (where pea sized hail has been reported) and extending into central Fairfax county, where the activity is a little weaker. These should push into northwest DC and northern Prince George's county in the next 20 minutes or so. Once these pass by, the rain/storm threat should be done..but the general wind threat will increase.

Keep reading for earlier updates...

1:05 p.m. update Areas of showers/storms are currently scattered throughout area. One is in northeast Montgomery county, another is in Prince George's county and a third is affecting Charles county. Finally, one more line of broken showers and storms lurks to west near the Loudoun and Fairfax county line extending into northern Fauquier county. All of this activity will push east rapidly. While some gusty winds may accompany these storms, none of them appear to be severe and the bigger winds come later.

12:55 p.m. update: Storms are just racing by. Almost through Fairfax county, now in SE DC and well into PG county. Another storm, which may become strong, to move into Charles county and impact La Plata around. Frontal passage follows storms and winds whipping up behind them. A gust of 65 mph was reported in Mineral County WV, a sign of things to come?

12:40 p.m. update: Thunderstorm impacting southern Fairfax county, with some heavy returns around Springfield and just to the south. This activity looks like it will head into Alexandria and then southeast D.C. in the next 20-30 minutes. Strong wind gusts to 40 mph or so are possible as these storms itself. Lighter showers are possible to the north and south of this activity.

12:25 update The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Severe Thunderstorm watch for all but the western suburbs through 4 p.m. (see map). The best chance of severe activity is mainly east of I-95 early to mid afternoon, but some intense activity is currently in Prince William county and extending into southern Fairfax county. Heavy rains and gusty winds to 40 mph are possible with these storms which are extending far enough north that they now do, in fact, look to impact the District in the next 30-45 minutes.

12:20 p.m. update: Is a D.C. split in the works? It remains to be seen if storms extend far enough north to to graze D.C. but the southern suburbs are still under the gun, with gusty showers/storms impacting Prince William county as we speak, including around Manassas. This activity, racing eastbound around 70 mph, may contain winds gusts of 40-50 mph and will impact southern Fairfax county between now and 1 p.m before reaching Charles and southern Prince George's county between 1 and 2 p.m.

12:00 p.m. update: The Storm Prediction Center is now indicating a Severe Thunderstorm Watch may be necessary for D.C. and the eastern suburbs:


Current radar indicates one line of thunderstorms clipping extreme northern Montgomery county is moving off to the northeast. Now the area to watch extends through central Fauquier county and is about to progress into Prince William county before probably working through southern Fairfax county. We'll need to watch if this line of storm extends north and impacts D.C. It could miss but then grow northeastward impacting the eastern suburbs. Is a D.C. split in the works?

11:30 a.m. update: The skies have cleared amazingly in many parts of the region but some trouble lurks to the west as the cold front closes in and showers and storms are popping. A line of showers and storms currently is impacting eastern Frederick county and northwest Loudoun county and may clip extreme northern Montgomery county in the next hour. Some wind gusts of up to 40 mph are possible with these showers/storms. Farther southwest, we need to watch some storms west of Culpeper which should move northeast in the general direction of the metro area (especially southern suburbs) by around 12:30 and 1 p.m. Right now, it looks like the cold front will pass D.C. between 1 and 1:30 p.m. and eastern suburbs by 2:30 or so after which the storm threat diminishes. But then the strong straight line winds really whip up behind the front.

Some good news?: The Storm Prediction Center has reduced tornado odds to 2% (from 5%)

From 10:45 a.m.: The high wind warning remains in effect from 2 to 7 p.m. (and wind advisory from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), for wind gusts as high as 60 mph. Before the "mega-winds" arrive later this afternoon behind the cold front plowing through the region, thunderstorms threaten the region between about 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The broken line of showers and thunderstorms ahead of the front now in eastern West Virginia and extreme western Virginia is what we need to watch.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma is now stating there is a "slight risk" of severe thunderstorms across the metro region, noting the possibility of damaging winds and even an isolated tornado in possible thunderstorms:

Slight risk of severe thunderstorms says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center..


SPC indicates there is a 15% chance of damaging winds and a 5% chance of a tornado in the slight risk area.

One of the limiting factors for these storms is the lack of day time heating and sunshine. However, we're currently seeing some clearing and breaks in the clouds (cool satellite image) in spots and temperatures climbing to near 60. That may help destabilize the atmosphere some, fueling potential storms. The best chance of severe storms is east of I-95 where more heating/destabilization is likely to occur.

By Jason Samenow  | February 25, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Potential thunder, then mega wind
Next: PM Update: Powerful winds subsiding


From my window in my office down by Union Station, it looks gorgeous outside right now! Wasn't expecting so much blue sky.

Posted by: hils | February 25, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I love the graphic for today.
All that's missing is a snowflake.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 25, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Crazy weather day here in Baltimore. It was so foggy I couldn't see the harbor from 95 this morning, then it cleared and was sunny, now the clouds are dark and menacing.

Posted by: bachaney | February 25, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

It's pouring in Gainesville.

Posted by: JillC | February 25, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Was able to complete my Friday morning grocery errand. Only issue now: possible power, TV or computer outage with high winds later today.

Rainfall was less than originally forecast. There's another rain event due early next week: deficit anywhere from 1"+ to 4 inches or more. 0.17" rain thus far today @ Campbell Elementary School per Weatherbug.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | February 25, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Looking out at blue skies as it pours down rain sideways. Add this to the high wind warning, high wind advisory, and the two "special weather statements" from the NWS and also the warm front which was followed a couple of hours later by a cold front. What a weird weather day...and Camden's in Boston missing it all.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 25, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, it was eric654 who was in Boston, not Camden. All this crazy weather is making me crazy LOL.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 25, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Any statistical reality to the DC split? when I looked at the radar an hour ago- that's exactly what I was thinking.

Posted by: CM_in_Fairfax | February 25, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse


No. Just anecdotal. And split has filled in a bit...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | February 25, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Ok, it looks like from the rador it should be raining here on 25th and M ..but the sun is out... hmmmmmmmmmmm

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 25, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

That should be radar.. I got too excited. :)

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 25, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

that should be radar. I got a little too excited there :)

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 25, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

How considerate of that storm to wait to get through DC before intensifying...

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 25, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Light rain and some strong gusts of wind about 15 minutes ago here in Old Town Alexandria.

Hoping I won't get blown away when I get off the bus this evening... yikes!

Posted by: MKoehl | February 25, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Big thunder clap Edgewater!

Posted by: durhamquilter | February 25, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah it looked like it really blew up. It was dark here for a few mintues...then the Sun came back out.. quite a nice walk back from Subway..

Posted by: jrodfoo | February 25, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow, crazy dark clouds abound out here in the Gaithersburg Airpark.

Oddly though, no big winds right now.

Posted by: wadejg | February 25, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't keep up with all the weather updates and changes happening today! Oddly, it's really sunny and beautiful in Dupont Circle now. We must be in that gap in the middle of the storms...

Posted by: lmd217 | February 25, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, so why is the NWS calling for up to a an inch of snow after 3pm here in Calvert / St. Mary's county today? I suspect that the temps will start to fall after the front goes through (it's 73 here BTW according to my car thermometer)...but accumulating snow? I haven't heard that anywhere else.

Posted by: ranincalvert | February 25, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

big time thunderstorm here in baltimore--hail, wind, thunder!

Posted by: bachaney | February 25, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hail in northern Bethesda.

Posted by: camb67 | February 25, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Severe warned storms heading into Anne Arundel. Look impressive.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | February 25, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Heavy rain, lightning and thunder, and a good bit of hail in laurel

Posted by: NATE-IN-LAUREL | February 25, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Moderate rain and bright sunshine at the same time in Merrifield, pretty! Glad I'm on the quieter side of these storms.

Posted by: --sg | February 25, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

was torrential rain, wind and SUN here in falls church for about one minute. now just moderate rain and alternating sunny and cloudy. "very unsettled" as my wife would say. temps dropped 8 degrees since its high of 66.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | February 25, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Raining more horizontally than vertically by Union Station. No thunder yet.

Posted by: kperl | February 25, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wind gusting to 53 mph here in Fairfax. Will we see 60?

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 25, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

DC split? Time to look back at that xkcd comic that mrwrinkle posted in December.

Posted by: msienkiewicz | February 25, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

That was an exciting lunch hour. What a sky!
Car was pushed around quite rudely, and my vehicle is low profile. You big SUVers be careful out there.
Grateful for the warm temps...wait, those are going away now :-(

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 25, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

58 mph wind gust in Fairfax. The windows on my 10-story office building are creaking. This can't be good for those both in and outside of the building.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 25, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

msienkiewicz - I am not sure it is fully applicable? It rained downtown, the line actually made its way through.. stable dome of warmer (relatively) air over DC either didn't phase the storms, helped bubble up the air right over the city, or isn't quite in place yet for the summer. We might have to warm up the hard materials' surfaces a bit more into the season, for Urban Heat Island to take hold...

FIREDRAGON47 - you are wanting snow AND warmth!? haha, a person after my own heart.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 25, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I just want WEATHER, and by golly I'm getting some today.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | February 25, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Clear and sunny in Fairfax, but lord the trees are taking a beating, and I would not be surprised to see big old trees fall.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 25, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | February 25, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax report: Winds from WNW at 40mph gusting to 59mph. Windows creaking, I'm preparing to duck.

Posted by: rwalker66 | February 25, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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