Severe weather could hit D.C. area on Sunday

A thundershower produces vivid lightning over Arlington, Virginia on July 23, 2014. Stronger storms are expected on Sunday, July 27. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — There is an increasing threat for severe weather, including damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes in the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday with a bulls eye on the Washington D.C. area.

The National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia is asking area visitors and residents to be prepared for the possibility of intense thunderstorms by staying alert for future weather warnings.

The Storm Prediction Center, based in Norman, Oklahoma, issued a statement early Saturday concerning the unusual weather setup and strong indications of rough weather for the area on Sunday. Computer weather models indicate a concurrence of weather conditions that often lead to dangerous weather.

The National Weather Service office says that these “signals” are stronger than meteorologists typically see in this part of the country. Although far from alluding to a severe weather outbreak, officials say the potency of the weather features that are expected to support thunderstorm development are more typical of values seen in the tornado-prone states of the Central Plains during the late spring.

In a statement from the NWS, a forecaster writes: “Potential exists for a widespread and/or significant severe weather event Sunday afternoon and evening with all severe hazard types possible including damaging winds, large hail, flash flooding and also isolated tornadoes.”

Severe storms are forecast to move from the Ohio Valley toward the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont beginning Saturday night. Subsequent periods of storminess on Sunday in the Mid-Atlantic will depend on the movement and speed of the initial wave of activity.

There are several opportunities for storms beginning early Sunday through late evening. The threat may linger into the early morning hours on Monday. The most active weather is expected to have moved closer to the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Seaboard by midday on Monday. Unseasonably cool weather will settle into the region for the middle of the week.

The WTOP Weather Center will provide up to the minute storm coverage and potentially life-saving information throughout the day.

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