Possible Heavy Storms & Tornado Watch in D.C. & Southern Maryland Today

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TL/DR –

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for areas including Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck until 7 p.m. Eastern time. The watch states that severe storm development is expected, capable of producing tornados, damaging gusts, and isolated large hail. Despite the watch not including the immediate areas of Washington D.C. and Baltimore, potential storms with heavy downpours and gusty winds cannot be ruled out, and a flood watch remains in effect throughout the afternoon.


12:50 p.m. — Tornado Watch Announced for Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck

The National Weather Service has activated a tornado watch, valid until 7 p.m. Eastern time, covering eastern Virginia, Southern Maryland, and the majority of the Delmarva Peninsula, inclusive of Richmond and Salisbury, Md.

This warning does not cover the Washington and Baltimore Beltway areas but does extend to the south and southeast, including places like Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland and King George County in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

The Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center forecasts severe storm development this afternoon, capable of producing tornadoes, damaging gusts of 60-75 mph, and isolated large hail of 1-1.5 inches in diameter.

Despite the immediate D.C. and Baltimore areas not being under the watch, storms with heavy rains and gusty winds are expected, and a flood watch is still in effect through the afternoon.

Bouts of showers and thunderstorms will move through the D.C. area through Wednesday afternoon, causing possible flooding in some areas. There is a chance for severe storms between noon and 5 p.m., with potential for damaging thunderstorm winds and sudden tornadoes.

While severe storms can occur anywhere in the region, the highest likelihood is to the south and southeast of the Beltway, especially in Southern Maryland, where temperatures could reach or exceed 60 degrees. These warmer temperatures could provide more fuel for severe storms, however, as of midmorning, temperatures across the region were in the chilly mid-40s to near 50.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed areas along and east of the Interstate 95 corridor under a Level 2 out of 5 risk for severe storms, including the District, Annapolis and Fredericksburg.

Regardless of where severe storms develop, most of the region remains under a flood watch issued by the National Weather Service through Wednesday afternoon. Flooding is a concern due to recent heavy rainfall and the potential of Wednesday’s storms to produce heavy rain at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

The Weather Service has warned of increased flooding threat due to heavy rains over the past two days, especially north of US-50. As additional widespread heavy rains are predicted this morning and afternoon, the threat for flooding is expected to increase.

Most areas around the Beltway had received about an inch of rain since Monday by 10 a.m. Wednesday; amounts increased to approximately 2 inches along and north of Interstate 70 between Baltimore and Frederick. Southern areas received between 0.5 and 1 inches of rainfall.

Severe Weather Threat Summary

Potential severe weather timing: Noon to 5 p.m.
Location of potential severe weather: Anywhere in the region, but highest in southern/southeastern areas, including southern Prince George’s, southern Anne Arundel, Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles, Stafford and King George counties.
Main severe threats: Damaging winds, tornadoes.

Analysis by Severe Weather Expert Jeff Halverson

A stubborn wedge of cold, rainy air may be invaded by milder, unstable air from the south, ahead of an approaching cold front. Higher up in the atmosphere, a potent jet stream and an energy pocket will spread over the area. These features may set the stage for a brief round of severe weather.

The main uncertainty lies with the northward and westward extension of the mild air from the south. If the cold air over the immediate D.C. area remains, then the severe weather threat may only reach as far north as Southern Maryland. If the warmer air can extend farther north, then D.C. and surrounding areas could experience a brief window of severe storms.

Possible weak tornadoes, in addition to scattered damaging wind instances, are expected with any severe storms. Flash flooding and lightning remain persistent threats in the area.

The chances of severe weather generally increase from northwest to southeast across the region today.


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