Severe thunderstorms and hail could be in the immediate future for much of Montgomery County and the Washington area.
The National Weather Service issued the following Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the county just before 4:45 p.m:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…CENTRAL MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND…NORTHERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 530 PM EDT
* AT 439 PM EDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS DETECTED NEAR GREAT FALLS…OR NEAR THE AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE…AND WAS MOVING NORTH AT 15 MPH. THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING HAIL UP TO THE SIZE OF QUARTERS.
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE…
ROCKVILLE…NORTH POTOMAC…GAITHERSBURG…GERMANTOWN…MONTGOMERY VILLAGE…
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH…MOVE INDOORS TO A STURDY BUILDING AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO…REPORT SEVERE WEATHER TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OR TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
An incoming cold front will likely mean a strong line of storms this evening and the National Weather Service says those conditions make tornadoes possible.
The NWS issued a Tornado Watch for the D.C. area, including Montgomery County, until 10 p.m.
Most weather experts put the storms hitting our area around 4 or 5 p.m.
A Tornado Watch is a less severe alert than a Tornado Warning, though people are urged to be cautious of the severe weather:
A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
UPDATE 2:50 p.m. MCFRS crews are on the scene of a brush fire in the wooded residential area of the intersection of Burning Tree Road and Beech Tree Road. Crews reportedly have the roughly quarter-acre fire under control.
ORIGINAL With weather conditions ideal for the rapid spread of brush fires, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is advising residents not to throw cigarettes on the ground and to be careful with any flammable materials.
A fire in a small section of mulch in the Giant grocery store parking lot on Arlington Road was easily extinguished before reaching any trees just after 11 a.m. And MCFRS will be on alert for similar incidents because of dry, windy conditions.
From the National Weather Service:
…RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING FOR EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA…NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MARYLAND… NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND WASHINGTON DC…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR THE POTENTIAL OF RAPID WILDFIRE GROWTH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…20 TO 25 PERCENT.
* WINDS…NORTHWEST 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* FUEL MOISTURE…5 TO 8 PERCENT.
* IMPACTS…THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS AND DRY FUELS WILL PROMOTE RAPID SPREAD OF ANY UNCONTROLLED FIRES. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS MAY OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND DRY FUELS WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.
Montgomery County is now in a snow emergency, meaning drivers should take extra caution and are prohibited from parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes.
From Maryland State Police and the State Highway Administration:
The Maryland State Police (MSP) declares snow emergencies with input from MD State Highway Administration. Once a snow emergency is declared, the law requires certain precautions:
Prohibited parking on roads and streets designated as snow emergency routes; and The use of snow tires/chains (most cars now use all weather tires, so changing to “snow” tires is unnecessary)
Once an emergency is in effect, all requirements are in effect until lifted. A Snow Emergency Plan is put into effect by county. Certain exceptions can occur while a snow emergency plan is in effect. A specific route(s) can be lifted and the remainders of the roads in the county still remain under the Snow Emergency Plan. For the most up to date information, it is advised to call the local MSP barrack for the county.
Snow started accumulating on area roads early this morning, with a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until noon Monday and 1-3 inches expected by the National Weather Service:
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EDT TODAY…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 1 TO 3 INCHES.
* TIMING… MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED EARLY THIS MORNING. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF BY THIS AFTERNOON.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS… ROADS WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY… ESPECIALLY ACROSS ELEVATED SURFACES SUCH AS BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
3:06 p.m. The National Weather Service has called off the Winter Storm Warning for today after a big projected snowstorm never materialized:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EST THIS EVENING…
…WINTER STORM WARNING IS CANCELLED…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PORTIONS OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA…WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EST THIS EVENING. THE WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE TO TWO INCHES IS POSSIBLE THROUGH THIS EVENING.
* TIMING…SNOW MIXED WITH RAIN WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE LATE AFTERNOON…THEN TAPER OFF DURING EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE LOW TO MID 30S.
* WINDS…NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* IMPACTS…SLUSHY TO SNOW COVERED ROADS COMBINED WITH TEMPERATURES AROUND FREEZING WILL PRODUCE ICY AREAS. DRIVE WITH CAUTION.
2:16 p.m. Montgomery County will keep its 311 Call Center open until 7 p.m. today and it will reopen tomorrow at 6 a.m. Residents can reach MC311 for help finding services at 240-777-0311 or any time online.
12:44 p.m. About 130 Pepco customers are without power this afternoon in the Rock Creek Forest neighborhood on the edge of Chevy Chase and Silver Spring, according to the Pepco outage map.
The outages were reported about 45 minutes ago and were caused by high winds. Estimated restoration is today at 4 p.m.
UPDATE 2:56 p.m. As anticipated, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery County and much of the Washington D.C. area for tomorrow:
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS…4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.
* TIMING…RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
* IMPACTS…SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Tomorrow, that will likely change, giving the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and State Highway Administration a late first test of the winter with a predicted three to eight inches of snow in the Bethesda area.
The MCDOT this year is debuting a countywide GPS system that pre-programs snow clearing routes for plow operators with a special SIM card. The change was one of a few detailed at the county’s annual “Snow Summit,” in November.
Some things to remember about the county’s snow plow operations if you find your street covered with snow on Wednesday morning:
When snow begins to cover roads, salt crews spread salt on all main County roads and emergency routes.
When snow accumulates to three inches, plowing and salting crews continue to clear all main County roads and emergency routes.
Once the snow stops, crews begin plowing neighborhood roads.
Also, the county offers a real-time map of its progress on all roads, which can be viewed at the MCDOT Storm Operations page.
Screenshot via MCDOT
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Watch will be in effect from Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning as more than five inches of snow is possible for parts of Montgomery County.
The NWS says precipitation should start Tuesday evening and change into snow Tuesday night, then continue throughout Wednesday. Power outages are also a possibility:
… WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING…
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… MORE THAN 5 INCHES POSSIBLE… WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.
* TIMING… PRECIPITATION MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO SNOW TUESDAY NIGHT. SNOW CONTINUING INTO WEDNESDAY EVENING.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER AND MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.
* IMPACTS… DIFFICULT DRIVING CONDITIONS. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW… SLEET… OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Heavy rain predicted for this afternoon has led the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Watch for most of the Washington region, including Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue officials are warning drivers in areas prone to flooding to be aware when the heaviest of the rain comes this evening.
… FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING…
THE FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR
* PORTIONS OF MARYLAND… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA… INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS… IN MARYLAND… ANNE ARUNDEL… CARROLL… HOWARD… MONTGOMERY… NORTHERN BALTIMORE… PRINCE GEORGES AND SOUTHERN BALTIMORE. THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA AND FAIRFAX.
* FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING
* A PERIOD OF MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS EXPECTED TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. RAINFALL TOTALS BETWEEN ONE AND TWO INCHES ARE EXPECTED.
* LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL MAY CAUSE SMALL STREAMS AND CREEKS TO RISE OUT OF THEIR BANKS… OVERFLOWING LOW LYING AND URBAN AREAS. DO NOT EVER DRIVE INTO FLOOD WATERS.
A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.
The National Weather Service put out a Special Weather Statement about the sleet and rain mix hitting Bethesda and much of the area this morning:
…WINTRY MIX ACROSS CENTRAL MARYLAND THROUGH MID-MORNING…
PRECIPITATION WILL OVERSPREAD CENTRAL MARYLAND THROUGH 10 AM. PRECIPITATION IS LIKELY TO BEGIN AS A PERIOD OF SNOW AND SLEET BEFORE MIXING WITH AND CHANGING OVER TO RAIN DURING THE LATE MORNING.
SOME AREAS WILL SEE THE SNOW AND SLEET FALL MODERATELY FOR A TIME…WITH THE VISIBILITY REDUCED TO AROUND 1 MILE. AREAS THAT EXPERIENCE MODERATE SNOW AND SLEET COULD RECEIVE A QUICK COATING TO A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ACCUMULATION. WHILE TEMPERATURES WILL GENERALLY BE IN THE MID TO UPPER 30S…THIS COULD RESULT IN A FEW SLICK SPOTS.
A rain and sleet mix began falling in Bethesda just after 9 a.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery County from 4 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m.
Forecasters say the Washington area could see a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain with accumulation of up to one inch, much less than the monster snows cities such as Boston and New York are expecting.
… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR A WINTRY MIX OF SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.
* ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. UP TO A FEW HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN.
* TIMING… PRECIPITATION WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND TRANSITION TO RAIN BY MID MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES… LOWER 30S.
* WINDS… EAST 5 MPH OR LESS.
* IMPACTS… ANY UNTREATED SURFACES WILL BECOME ICY… ESPECIALLY ON ELEVATED SURFACES… DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW… SLEET… OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The National Weather Service says storms this afternoon might bring damaging winds and flooding rains to Montgomery County and much of the D.C. area and Pepco says it’s ready.
The power company released a statement today saying it has extra crews prepared for today’s storms, which caused NWS to also issue a Wind Advisory until 6 a.m. It issued its latest info on the storm at 7:30 p.m:
…LINE OF HEAVY SHOWERS TO AFFECT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA…ARLINGTON…MONTGOMERY…PRINCE GEORGES…HOWARD AND FAIRFAX COUNTIES…
AT 733 PM EST…HEAVY SHOWERS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM 2 MILES EAST OF GREAT FALLS TO WOLF TRAP TO CLIFTON…MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.
LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE WEST SPRINGFIELD…MANTUA…THE AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE…CONGRESSIONAL MANOR…WOLF TRAP…ASPEN HILL…NORTH SPRINGFIELD…SPRINGFIELD…THE I395 AND I495 INTERCHANGE…CLOVERLY AND SPENCERVILLE.
HEAVY RAIN WITH THESE STORMS WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE MILE AND MAY CAUSE PONDING OF WATER ON ROADWAYS.
BRIEF WIND GUSTS OF 35 TO 45 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THESE STORMS.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pepco is closely monitoring approaching winter thunderstorms. The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the Washington Metropolitan Area until 6 a.m. Thursday. The strongest winds are expected late this afternoon and this evening out of the south at 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 to 50 mph.
High winds can bring tree limbs into contact with power lines causing power outages. Heavy rain can adversely affect saturated soil and allow trees already weakened by previous storms to fall onto power lines and equipment to cause power outages. Outages can also occur due to drivers skidding into utility poles along wet roads.
Pepco will have extra line and tree crews available and the Call Center will be staffed overnight. Pepco has about 150 internal linemen and more than 400 contractors already working on its system available if needed.
Customers are asked to please call in any outages and stay away from any down wires. ? To report outages and/or downed wires, please call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662), follow the prompts, and please ask for a call back to confirm that power has been restored. Outages also may be reported through pepco.com or through the mobile app.
For more information and updates, visit www.pepco.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at PepcoConnect, and download our mobile app at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.
In a Special Weather Statement, the NWS said the warm temperatures of the past few days combined with an arriving cold front could mean some severe weather:
Because of pavement temperatures below 20 degrees, the SHA will not pre-treat roads using salt brine that could freeze. Salt from Thursday’s snow removal operations remains on many roadways but SHA officials still warn of slippery and icy conditions during the Friday evening rush.
“We ask that all drivers take their time traveling Friday afternoon and plan ahead. It will be important to watch the weather and time your travel to avoid driving during the snow storm. Rush hour and winter precipitation are a terrible combination since SHA’s snow removal efforts can be severely hampered by traffic, crashes and disabled vehicles – making it difficult for crews to salt and plow the highways,” SHA administration Melinda Peters said in a press release.
The SHA also said schools are likely to adjust their schedules to give its crews space to work. Montgomery County Schools will close two-and-a-half hours early today.
Some more tips for this afternoon’s drive:
• Fill your gas tank, make sure you have window washer fluid, an ice scraper, a charged cell phone and an alternate travel plan should crashes or other incidents block your normal route.
• Listen to commercial traffic reports so you know the latest traffic impacts. Call 511 using a hands-free device.
• If snow starts mid-day, considerer delaying travel until after the snow stops. SHA crews work to achieve bare pavement within four hours after a storm stops. If you do travel, have realistic expectation and be patient.
• Drive focused – Maryland law prohibits hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving.
• Buckle up! It’s the law in Maryland and your number one defense in a crash.
• Move over to an adjacent travel lane away from emergency personnel – a new Maryland law requires it.
• Allow extra time for unexpected delays.
• Slow down and pay attention, avoiding distractions such as cell-phone use, changing CDs and eating. Observe all posted speed limits.
Most deal with clearing snow and walking on ice:
Cold weather is here and more precipitation is likely. Planning to stay safe outdoors is especially important right now. Please consider these strategies:
- Arrange to have snow and ice removed from sidewalks and steps.
- Wear boots or shoes with deep treads or traction slip-ons.
- Avoid going out alone into snowy or icy conditions.
- Use handrails on both sides of outdoor stairs.
- Take your time while walking. Shuffle along with short, low steps and avoid a stiff posture.
- Keep hands out of your pockets since youll need them to restore balance if you slip.
- Carefully consider whether to walk over uncleared snow or to go around it. Test how slippery a potentially slick area is by tapping your foot on it.
- Buy a shovel that feels most comfortable to you.
- Since a shovel full of snow can weigh more than 10lbs, push the snow out of your way instead of lifting it. Use your legs (knees), not your back. Hold the shovel with arms apart to maximize leverage.
- Do not shovel snow if you have heart disease or another physical condition that limits your and activity. Shoveling can increase blood pressure and cold weather constricts blood vessels, resulting in a significant increase in heart attack risk.
The National Weather Service says around an inch of snow accumulation is possible from midnight to 9 a.m. tomorrow.
It issued a Winter Weather Advisory this afternoon:
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST THURSDAY…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST THURSDAY.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW
* ACCUMULATIONS…AROUND AN INCH.
* TIMING…OVERNIGHT INTO EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.
* TEMPERATURES…UPPER TEENS AND LOWER 20S.
* WINDS…NORTHEAST 5 TO 10 MPH OVERNIGHT BECOMING NORTH 10 TO 20 MPH THURSDAY MORNING.
* IMPACTS…ANY UNTREATED SURFACES WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY. ANY SNOW COVERED SURFACES WILL REMAIN SLIPPERY THROUGH THE MORNING RUSH.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
The freezing temperatures could make for a tricky morning commute. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang says another dusting could come during the Friday evening rush hour.