Severe Thunderstorm Watch for DC until 3:15pm

storm
Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Stewart

From Alert DC:

“THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDER STORM WATCH FOR WASHINGTON, DC UNTIL 9:00 PM update: NWS issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the District of Columbia until 3:15 PM . ISOLATED SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH DAMAGING WINDS AND LARGE HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. PLEASE USE CAUTION AND TAKE SHELTER AS NEEDED.”

4 Comment

  • I believe the watch is still in effect until 9pm. A warning, which is more serious and urgent, is what expires at 3:15. Not a big deal, but means we may not be completely out of the clear and bring your umbrella tonight!

  • After many years here, it’s become apparent to me that people don’t really understand weather alerts since the weather here tends to be fairly moderate (yes, we get some nasty storms, but where I’m from, things that might kill you are a regular occurrence). So let me pile on to MP’s post and provide some clarity:

    A severe weather WATCH means that conditions are right for the development of the mentioned severe weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding). The storms that would cause these things are not actually happening at the moment, but there’s a good chance they could blow in, sometimes with little warning. When a watch is issued, you should consider cancelling outdoor plans that would take you far from shelter (but feel free to tentatively keep casual picnic plans close to home/shelter) and keep an eye on the weather. In the modern world of smart phones, you can set your phone to notify you if a major severe weather warning goes up, so you don’t have to be tied to a TV or radio anymore, you just need a plan for shelter if the weather kicks wrong when a watch is up. Watches tend to be issued for long periods of time (say, Noon-9 PM) since conditions will be right to *possibly* kick up severe weather all during that time.
    .
    A severe weather WARNING means that the severe weather the NWS is warning you about is actually happening or imminent in your area. The big things to understand about this are two part: (1) radar, nowadays, is *really* f-in good. Like “radar thinks there’s a tornado before anyone sees the tornado” good. Don’t say “it’s fine, no one’s seen any hail, so there’s no hail!” There’s a decent chance there’s hail if the radar indicated it. It might not hail on you for another 15 minutes, but there’s a pretty good chance you’re in the bullseye to see some hail. (2) Sometimes that radar is a little over-sensitive, and the storm isn’t as bad as it thought. This is a bit of a dangerous thing since people hear warnings all the time and the storms aren’t as powerful as the warning indicated, so they write off warnings as “overblown.” Trust me that the NWS is just trying to keep you safe, and you will be better off taking more shelter than you need in a false alarm than less shelter than you need in case ish gets real. You don’t need to go hide in the basement every time the NWS throws up a severe thunderstorm warning, but you would be well advised to tune into updates in case they throw an urgent extreme thunderstorm warning or *any* tornado warning that will pass over where you are. Trust me, they will update with more urgent statements if things are critical. And if the power goes out, err on the side of caution and go to an interior location away from windows on the lowest floor you can access until the storm passes. Better safe than sorry.

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