Afternoon update: less humid and cooler air follows the storms


6:00 p.m. — The thunderstorms move away, the temperature drops by 20 degrees

The strongest of the storms has moved out of the area as trailing rain slides through areas along and east of Interstate 95. Most of these rains are expected to end within the next hour or push over the Chesapeake Bay.

The rain cooled the air by about 20 degrees – from the low 90s to the low 70s:

While most of the storms that passed were not too intense, there were a few reports of strong and damaging winds. Dulles Airport and Frederick swept at 56 and 64 mph as the storms passed. The National Weather Service also received a handful of reports of downed trees, mostly southwest and northwest of the ring road.

Rainfall wasn’t too impressive – usually between 0.1 and 0.25 inches, but there were localized amounts above 0.5 inches.

4:20 p.m. – Most intense storms south of Beltway – warnings along Interstate 95 corridor

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for many areas south of the ring road for the next 45 minutes as thunderstorms with heavy rain, lightning and high winds head east. If your route takes you on I-95 south of the ring road, you might want to wait about an hour until they pass. From the ring road and points north, showers and thunderstorms are milder, but brief showers, gusty winds and lightning are still possible.

3:45 p.m. — Thunderstorms approaching Beltway — arrival around 4 p.m.

A long line of showers and storms are sweeping the metro area from the west, with activity near the area from Manassas to Oakton to Olney. This line is expected to move inside the Beltway a little after 4 p.m. and likely clear the east side of the Beltway around 5 p.m. – with rain lasting 20-30 minutes in most places.

Aside from a small segment of intense thunderstorms crossing Culpeper and heading south into Fauquier County, which is under a severe thunderstorm warning (until 4:15 p.m.), these thunderstorms are expected to be less than severe. However, heavy showers, gusty winds and lightning are possible.

Today was the hottest of this week-long heat wave. Temperatures reaching the mid-90s in the city were more like 100 or higher for much of the afternoon. As a cold front slides in from the west, a slew of showers and thunderstorms developed west of the region. They begin to move into the western suburbs as we sail through the afternoon. Even before they arrive, storms are already causing local travel problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued ground stops for Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Marshall International Airport in Baltimore-Washington due to storms.

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Until tonight : Scattered numerous showers and thunderstorms cross the region in the evening. This activity is ongoing in the far western suburbs and will likely reach the immediate area between 4 and 5 p.m., exiting the bay as the sun sets. All storms in the first cycle of activity could be locally intense, with possible damaging winds, in addition to heavy rains and dangerous lightning.

A few more showers or a storm could break out before midnight, but probably less intense if they do. The sky clears noticeably around and after midnight. Lows range from the mid 60’s to around 70’s. Winds are light from the west and turn to come from the northwest over time.

To see the current weather at the Washington Post.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Lots of sun, decreasing humidity and a nice breeze from the northwest. It suits me well ! High temperatures are in the mid 80s in most places, which could be in the upper 80s downtown. Winds are blowing around 10 mph, gusting to nearly 20 mph.

See Matt Rogers’ predictions throughout the weekend. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. For traffic information, see Gridlock.

Pollen Update: Mold spores, weed pollen, and grass pollen are all low/moderate.

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