Remnants of Tropical Storm Fred move out of DC region

Former Tropical Storm Fred made its closest approach to the D.C. region Wednesday, bringing torrential downpours and a tornado threat to neighborhoods already waterlogged from days of heavy rainfall.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia until 8 p.m., but thankfully, none materialized.

By 7:30 p.m., the main threat of the storm had passed through the region as the remnants of Fred made their way into central Pennsylvania and beyond. A few stray shows and gusty thunderstorms materialize in northern Maryland before 10 p.m., but the system stayed out of the area for the rest of the evening.

Here’s what to know.

The remnants of Fred — a broad, spinning plume of moisture stretching from the Carolinas to New York — skirted up the Appalachians and over West Virginia Wednesday, brought multiple hazards to the WTOP listening area.

Some areas saw rainfall rates of at least 2 inches per hour from multiple rounds of storms all throughout Wednesday, mainly along and west of the Interstate 95 corridor, with a risk of fast-rising water.

Tropical moisture led to potential precipitation rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

Tropical systems often bring a risk of tornado activity, but none ultimately materialized by the time Fred made its way out of the D.C. region.

Fred had a history of spawning twisters — 13 were reported Tuesday in Georgia and the Carolinas from the storm’s eastern half.

Fred exited the picture late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, but the recent pattern of tropical-like humidity and afternoon downpours will linger for the near future. Scattered storms and drier air are in the forecast through Saturday, cropping up in the 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. time frame daily.

“Not everyone will get rain every day but it’s hard to imagine any day over the next week where there aren’t at least a few storms every afternoon,” StormTeam4 meteorologist Chuck Bell added.

Elsewhere in the tropics, newly-upgraded Hurricane Grace is expected to cross the Yucatán Peninsula today with a second landfall in Mexico on Friday. Near Bermuda, Tropical Storm Henri will need to be monitored for possible impacts to New England early next week.


Wednesday night: All showers and storms ending before midnight. Remaining warm and very muggy. Lows in the low to mid 70s.

Thursday: Partly sunny. Hot and humid. Chance of an isolated thunderstorm. Highs near 90.

Friday: Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms. Warm and very humid. Highs in the low to mid 80s.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy. Warm and humid. Scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the low to mid 80s.

Sunday: Partly sunny, hot and muggy, with an isolated PM storm possible. Highs near 90.

Current conditions:

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report. 

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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