Severe storms enter DC region amid sweltering heat, bringing damaging winds and torrential rain

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Severe thunderstorms with gusty winds blew through the D.C. area to cap off another day of intense heat in the region. Here’s what you need to know.

Severe thunderstorm warnings started popping up in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax and Prince William counties until 7:30 p.m. Earlier Wednesday, severe weather passed through Fauquier, Stafford and Culpeper counties.

The system packed 60 mph wind gusts and torrential rainfall that the weather service said could lead to flash flooding.

The rest of the D.C. region was also under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10 p.m. An isolated tornado couldn’t be ruled out with any storms that pop up Wednesday evening.

A line of showers and storms moved into the area ahead of a cold front. The threat of severe weather began as feels-like temperatures were in the triple digits, once again, Wednesday afternoon.

An excessive heat warning also covered much of the D.C. area until 8 p.m., according to the weather service. The expected heat index values were up to 110 degrees in some areas.

The feels-like temperature was 107 in the District as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to 7News First Alert meteorologist Steve Rudin.

The brewing storm system was remnants of what was Hurricane Beryl.

“The moisture from Beryl, we haven’t stopped tracking that. That will pass through the Ohio Valley on north and yes, some of that spin will be interacting with our weather-maker,” said 7News First Alert Chief Meteorologist Veronica Johnson.

“Any storms could produce some downpours, maybe some urban flooding and even some damaging winds,” Johnson said.

After the cold front moved through Wednesday night, temperatures were expected to drop into the 60s and 70s.

To beat the heat in the meantime, meteorologist Erik Taylor from the weather service recommends wearing light and loose clothing, staying hydrated and looking after pets and elderly people.

“It is summer. It’s hot. It’s humid. We have to deal with it at the end of the day, but it’s always good to be prepared for these types of hazards that are out there,” Taylor said.

Thursday doesn’t bring much relief from the heat, but the weather is expected to be closer to average for this time of year. Highs will be between 90 and 95 degrees, and feels-like temperatures are forecast to be even higher.

Things will finally cool down for the end of the week, with forecast highs only between 80 and 85 degrees Friday, and another chance of storms.

Outdoor activities canceled

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission canceled all outdoor programming on Wednesday because of the heat, according to a news release from the group. Indoor facilities will stay open and programs that happen indoors aren’t impacted. Cooling centers and pools (indoor and outdoor) will be open.

In response to the excessive heat warning in Fairfax County, Virginia, all outdoor activities scheduled on Fairfax County public schools’ fields and courts from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday will be canceled.

This includes recess, extracurricular activities, team practices and recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with the school system

The county said that “employees whose job function requires outdoor work (e.g., landscaping, groundskeeping, warehousing, general facilities, etc.) are to complete the remainder of their workday indoors.”

Current weather


Partly sunny, scattered storms at night
Highs: 93-98
Heat Index: 105-109
Winds: South 10-15, Gusts to 25 mph
Plan for yet another very hot and very humid day with feels-like temperatures back over 105 during the afternoon. A heat advisory has been posted for most of the DMV beginning at noon and extending until 8 p.m. The remnants of Beryl will be moving over the Great Lakes late in the day and will provide the risk for rain and storms by this evening. The greatest risk for severe weather will be well north of the D.C. area; however, a few storms may contain damaging wind gusts. Frequent thunder and lightning is also likely with such high humidity.

Rain ending, turning partly cloudy
Lows: 68-75
Winds: Southwest to Northwest 5-10 mph
Rain chances taper off after midnight with skies becoming partly cloudy by dawn. Areas of patchy fog are possible.

Partly sunny, isolated shower, storm
Highs: 88-94
Winds: Southwest 5-10 mph
It won’t be quite as hot Thursday with highs, closer to average, in the low 90s. Humidity levels will also drop off a bit (dew points in the upper 60s), so heat index values will range from 95-98 during the afternoon. A stray storm is possible, but most will stay dry.

Mostly cloudy, scattered showers, storms
Highs: 82-86
Winds: Southeast 5-10 mph
We’ll round out the week with cooler highs in the lows 80s, but with increasing humidity, feels-like temperatures will be in the mid-80s. A stalled weather boundary to our east will provide us with clouds and rain chances. Pockets of heavy rain could lead to isolated flooding.

High temperatures climb back into the 90s for the upcoming weekend with feels-like temperatures in the upper 90s Saturday and possibly over 100 on Sunday.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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