Storm falls short of derecho

D.C. area braces for severe weather Thursday afternoon

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A storm Thursday that made its way to the D.C. area from the Midwest did not swell to a derecho, and a severe storm watch for the morning was canceled. But the system was expected to redevelop and pelt the region more heavily into the evening, National Weather Service forecasters said.

Some counties in the D.C. area reported power outages, fallen trees and hail the size of half dollars Thursday, with wind gusts ranging from 30-50 mph. But National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Lee said the morning storm was not a derecho.

“Not by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

Large hail was reported in Maryland’s Carroll County and in Virginia’s Fauquier County, with reports of a water spout east of Annapolis and trees down in Frederick.

Forecasters said severe weather, including high winds, heavy rains, flooding and possibly tornadoes, could hit the area later Thursday.

“We believe we’ll have storms redevelop this afternoon, early afternoon to early evening,” Mr. Lee said.

The storms were part of a larger system that forecasters projected could affect 74.7 million people in 19 states from Iowa to Maryland.

Thunderstorms that punched through northern Illinois overnight caused significant wind damage, mainly in rural areas west and south of Chicago. The Weather Service said intense winds estimated to have reached 70-80 mph in some areas snapped large trees at their trunks or uprooted them entirely.

While the Midwest dodged a derecho, several tornadoes, large hail and flooding did some damage Wednesday. In Iowa, at least two businesses and a home were damaged, authorities said. Tens of thousands of people across the Upper Midwest lost power. In Wisconsin, authorities said thunderstorms packing heavy rain and high winds caused a Wal-Mart roof to partially collapse.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports

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