2 tornadoes confirmed in DC area Thursday

Storm damage on the National Mall.

Storm damage on the National Mall.

A large tree fell and brought down power lines, sparking multiple fires in Takoma Park. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli) (Courtesy National Park Service)
Debris in a road in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Storms roll into Bethesda, Maryland, as seen from Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

tree fall
A tree falls on a house on 16th Street in Arlington, Virginia, after a night of storms. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Trees, poles and wires down at end of 21st St N, off Nottingham in Arlington, after last night’s storm.

Downed trees and trees in front of a house along Decesaris Blvd.

Lightning strikes in Bethesda, Maryland, on Thursday. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Trees and wires down at N Utah St at N 19th Rd between Lee Highway and Washington Blvd.

Downed elm blocks the ramp from Lincoln Circle to Ohio Drive in D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

A tree branch blocking part of Rollins Avenue in Capitol Heights.

Trees fell into two cars in the Capitol Hill and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. (Courtesy Twitter/@HattieinDC) (WTOP/John Domen)
Fallen tees blocked lanes in Bowie, Maryland. (Courtesy Twitter/@SimplePSIMan) (WTOP/John Domen)
On the other side of Enterprise Road, north of the closure, crews are replacing knocked down powerlines.

A tree down in front of a home along Decesaris Blvd.

Stormy sky across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Thursday night. (Courtesy Michelle Dolge)

Severe storms in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Twitter users shared the storm damage they saw in the D.C. region. (Courtesy Twitter/@SimplePsiMan) (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Downed trees in Annapolis. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Downed trees near St. Anne’s Parish in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Trees down in Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Gusty winds picked up ahead of Thursday afternoon’s storms in Virginia. (WTOP/Will Vitka) (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)
Downed trees near St. Anne’s Parish in downtown Annapolis. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Storms pelt D.C. area Thursday.

Heavy rain and storms sweep through Bethesda, Maryland. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman) (WTOP/Jack Moore)
Residents described “wild” rain and storms. (Courtesy Twitter/@fitdad38) (WTOP/Jack Moore)
rosslyn storm
Storm clouds over the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Virginia. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
national mall
Trees down on the National Mall, along with Independence Day fencing. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(Courtesy Twitter/@DrJennyx)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(Courtesy Twitter/@STATter911)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
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Two tornadoes touched down in the D.C. area, including the District itself, on Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

One of them touched down in the Cherrydale section of Arlington and tracked into D.C., the weather service said, and traveled about 4.4 miles to near 16th Street and Constitution Avenue on the Mall and just south of the Ellipse in Northwest. It was listed as an EF-1 tornado with winds reaching up to 90 mph.

The other one touched down about a mile northeast of the Capitol, then traveled along H Street into the Kingman Park area. It was listed as an EF-0 tornado, with winds up to 80 mph.

Tornado damage on the Mall

The bulk of the tornado damage on the Mall was along Constitution Avenue. Since the width was only around 125 yards wide, the trees along Independence Avenue, 600 or so yards to the south, fared better.

The damage mainly consisted of mature trees, toppled fences, and objects such as trash cans and portable toilets being overturned. A dozen or so port-a-potties for the Independence Day crowds were shunted into the middle of 15th Street.

Old elm trees on the Mall took an especially hard hit. Many were snapped at their bases or at the truck, not uprooted.

“In addition to these two tornadoes, we had over 100 storm damage reports across the area on Thursday during the afternoon and evening hours,” Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper told WTOP. “Wind damage bringing down numerous trees and power lines creating a lot of damage across the area.”

Downed trees and wires

The Arlington Fire Department said Friday that they responded to 16 fire alarms and 15 reports of downed wires after 9 p.m. Thursday.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Steve Prinzivalli said that between Thursday’s rainfall and additional showers on Friday, flooding from “small streams, creeks, and urban areas” were a possibility.

“Remember: When you encounter a flooded road, turn around and find an alternate route,” Prinzivalli said.

Downed trees and wires were reported across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, including one of a tree in Arlington that fell onto a house on the 4300 block of 16th Street North that trapped a person inside. Several large trees toppled near the White House and the National Mall in D.C.



Damages and outages

The storms caused significant damages and delays starting Thursday afternoon.

One of the areas that saw damage was the National Mall, where thousands of people are expected to gather for Fourth of July celebrations on Sunday. The National Park Service said Friday morning that they’d still be ready:

Heavy rain and strong winds caused backups at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on Thursday, delaying the afternoon rush hour. That’s in addition to traffic delays caused by storm debris and dark traffic lights on local roads.

Thousands of homes, at one point more than 60,000, lost power.

At least six homes were evacuated Friday morning in Takoma Park, Maryland, where a huge tree fell and brought down power lines, sparking multiple fires.

WTOP’s John Domen reports that a “massive cleanup” is underway through parts of Prince George’s County, Maryland, early Friday morning, where tree limbs are laying on roads and some shoulders.

Due to the “significant tree damage,” officials in Bowie, Maryland, said they will relax its yard waste protocols and collect any tree, plant or log debris put into a trash can on July 7 and 14. Any larger tree limbs, trunks and logs should be placed at the curb. More information can be found on the city’s Twitter account.

In Arlington, WTOP’s Neal Augenstein reports that Utah Street — which normally carries cut-through traffic between Washington Blvd and Lee Highway– has a large tree and wires blocking the road.

He said that crews will be out later to cut up the tree and clean up the wires along the intersection.

At the end of the block on North 21st Street, off Nottingham, in Arlington, a snapped branch from an older tree has pulled down a utility pole and wires, leaving them lying across the street. Augenstein said it doesn’t appear any wires fell onto any cars.

Crews have arrived and are cutting up the tree, but it will take other crews to take down the wires and reset the utility pole.

Stuck in the storm

Stormy sky across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Thursday night. (Courtesy Michelle Dolge)

“I thought as I pulled out my camera, this is either going to be the best picture I ever took, or the last picture I ever took.”

Michelle Dolge, of Chevy Chase, was driving with her husband along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for the holiday weekend when she said they “realized this weather is right behind us.”

“You couldn’t see anything; you could barely see the cars in front of you,” she told WTOP’s Mike Murillo. “The rain looked like smoke blowing in front of you, because it was blowing sideways. It was that way the whole way across the bridge.”

Bob Thomas, of Mitchellville, Maryland, told Domen that the storm “looked like a tornado.”

“It was swirly, it was a straight line and it came right through my yard … It hit my neighbor’s tree first and tour it down, and then it hit mine and it just snapped. It was like an explosion,” he said.

Bob Thomas’s tree torn down by Thursday’s storm. (WTOP/John Domen)

Thomas said he planted the tree 37 years ago, adding, “It was a very sturdy tree.” The tree was between 60 and 65 feet.

“I’m just grateful that it was leaning towards the street as opposed to my house; otherwise, it would have crushed it,” he said.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine, John Domen and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

Hannah Parker

Hannah Parker is a writer and editor for WTOP. She is most interested in covering social issues in the D.C. area and is always looking for news tips and story ideas.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a master’s degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.

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Storm damage on the National Mall.

Storm damage on the National Mall.

A large tree fell and brought down power lines, sparking multiple fires in Takoma Park. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli) (Courtesy National Park Service)
Debris in a road in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Storms roll into Bethesda, Maryland, as seen from Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

tree fall
A tree falls on a house on 16th Street in Arlington, Virginia, after a night of storms. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Trees, poles and wires down at end of 21st St N, off Nottingham in Arlington, after last night’s storm.

Downed trees and trees in front of a house along Decesaris Blvd.

Lightning strikes in Bethesda, Maryland, on Thursday. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Trees and wires down at N Utah St at N 19th Rd between Lee Highway and Washington Blvd.

Downed elm blocks the ramp from Lincoln Circle to Ohio Drive in D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

A tree branch blocking part of Rollins Avenue in Capitol Heights.

Trees fell into two cars in the Capitol Hill and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. (Courtesy Twitter/@HattieinDC) (WTOP/John Domen)
Fallen tees blocked lanes in Bowie, Maryland. (Courtesy Twitter/@SimplePSIMan) (WTOP/John Domen)
On the other side of Enterprise Road, north of the closure, crews are replacing knocked down powerlines.

A tree down in front of a home along Decesaris Blvd.

Stormy sky across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Thursday night. (Courtesy Michelle Dolge)

Severe storms in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Twitter users shared the storm damage they saw in the D.C. region. (Courtesy Twitter/@SimplePsiMan) (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Downed trees in Annapolis. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

Downed trees near St. Anne’s Parish in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Trees down in Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Gusty winds picked up ahead of Thursday afternoon’s storms in Virginia. (WTOP/Will Vitka) (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)
Downed trees near St. Anne’s Parish in downtown Annapolis. (WTOP/Meghan Cloherty)

Storms pelt D.C. area Thursday.

Heavy rain and storms sweep through Bethesda, Maryland. (WTOP/Jared Ruderman) (WTOP/Jack Moore)
Residents described “wild” rain and storms. (Courtesy Twitter/@fitdad38) (WTOP/Jack Moore)
rosslyn storm
Storm clouds over the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Virginia. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
national mall
Trees down on the National Mall, along with Independence Day fencing. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(Courtesy Twitter/@DrJennyx)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(Courtesy Twitter/@STATter911)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(1/32)
tree fall
rosslyn storm
national mall

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