Heat, storms loom over July Fourth

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: Atmosphere at A Capitol Fourth 2015 Independence Day concert at the U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on July 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capitol Concerts)(Getty Images for Capitol Concert/Paul Morigi)

The D.C. area’s weather has been tropical on Independence Day — hot and humid, with hard rains. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings have been issued and canceled throughout the day.

he National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for parts of Prince William County, but the warning ended at 9:15 p.m.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Matt Ritter said Thursday evening that the “random” rainfall that had led to isolated strong storms throughout the afternoon was mostly done with the immediate area for the evening.

That’s good news for the fireworks at the National Mall. There might be light raindrop and it could be a bit damp, but it won’t be pouring.

Thursday’s weather has not been like a predictable front sweeping across the area, Ritter said. He compared the storms to bubbles popping up in a pot of boiling water, and said each dying storm sends out cold air that can destabilize the atmosphere even more: “They meander, they form, they die out, and new ones form.”

As the sun goes down and evening cooling takes effect, the storms will eventually weaken. “That may be good news for later fireworks activities this evening.”

Still, as officials say: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. And the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service said a barn in Gaithersburg was struck by lightning Thursday afternoon, catching fire.

Independence Day

The National Weather Service said the hot and humid summer pattern would make for oppressive heat indexes up to 105 degrees. The weather service urged people to drink lots of water and head indoors, or to medical assistance, if they feel unwell.

Flash flooding is also a concern in slow-moving storms. Areas prone to sudden inundation from heavy rainfall should monitor the forecast closely, as well.


THURSDAY EVENING: Very warm and muggy. Scattered showers and some strong t’storms, especially south of Washington.
Temperatures: Continuing to fall out of the 90s into the 80s and 70s.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Warm and muggy, with haze and some patchy fog.
Lows: Low to mid-70s.

FRIDAY: Hazy, hot and very humid with a chance of late-day scattered thunderstorms.
Highs: Low 90s most locations, upper 80s in northern Maryland.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, hazy, hot and very humid. Scattered late-day thunderstorms.
Highs: Low to mid-90s.

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and hot. A stray storm early, then turning less humid.
Highs: Near 90.

Current conditions

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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