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Fast-Moving Storm And Tornado Hit D.C. Area

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A huge tree fell over the roof of a house in Sterling, Va., after a fast moving storm pummeled through the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
Jonathan Wilson
A huge tree fell over the roof of a house in Sterling, Va., after a fast moving storm pummeled through the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

Update: 5:00 p.m. All lanes on the Bay Bridge have reopened for traffic.

Update: 4:50 p.m. The National Weather Service has cancelled all tornado warnings in the D.C. area.

Update: 4:10 p.m. The National Weather Service said it has confirmed a tornado on the ground near Olney, Md., moving east at 50 mph around 4:05 p.m.

Update 4:01 The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties until 4:30 p.m.

Update 3:48 p.m. The National Weather Service has extended the tornado warning for central Montgomery County and southern Howard County until 4:15 p.m.

Update 3:30 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for the following counties until 4 p.m.: Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Southern Charles County, Central St. Mary's County, Southern Calvert County, and King George County.

Update 3:29 p.m. National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Montgomery County, Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington County, City Of Alexandria, Western Prince Georges County, Southern Howard County, Eastern Loudoun, Northern Fairfax County until 4:30 p.m.

Update 3:23 p.m. Severe thunderstorms were detected along a line extending from 5 miles northwest of Poolesville to South Riding and were moving east at 50 mph. This line of storms is capable of producing destructive winds in excess of 70 mph. Locations Impacted Include: Rockville, The District Of Columbia, Reston, Herndon, Germantown, Montgomery Village, North Potomac, Gaithersburg. This is a dangerous line of storms. If you are in its path, move indoors to a sturdy building and stay away from windows. When it is safe to do so report severe weather to local law enforcement or to the national weather service. This line of storms has a history of producing widespread wind damage. Seek shelter inside a sturdy structure and stay away from windows.

From this morning

A strong storm system is headed our way and meteorologists are warning it could mean damaging winds, hail and possible flash floods.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are warning about the possibility of strong winds and hail in a band of storms making its way across the Mid-Atlantic throughout today.

The most severe weather is expected from 4 to 8 p.m., a severe thunder storm watch is in effect through 7 p.m. and a flash flood watch is in effect throughout the evening. The storm may track south of D.C., but forecasters are warning residents to remain ready for strong storms.

The federal government and D.C. government are open, though workers were allowed to take unscheduled leave or work from home. Schools in Prince George's County and Frederick County, Va. were being closed early. More closings can be found here.

NBC 4 meteorologist Tom Kierein says the area could see winds in excess of 60 miles per hour. "So heavily treed as we are that is just a receipe for massive power outages," he says. Kierein says it could take several days to recover from that kind of damage.

LeHa Anderson, a spokeswoman for Dominion Virginia Power, says the utility is in better shape than it was a year ago—when a derecho storm knocked out power for millions of customers along the Mid-Atlantic coast.

"Dominion broadened contractors to patrol our circuts and to identify trees that could pose a danger to our powerlines. We believe that positions us better this year because we've been able to patrol a lot of the circuts that are typically in danger of trees falling on power lines," she said.

Local utilities have crews on standy and are closely monitoring the oncoming storm.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said to expect flight delays today, with average delays at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport hitting 45 minutes and delays at Dulles International Airport approaching 90 minutes. Passengers are advised to call their carriers for updates.

Metro is monitoring the incoming storms and is preparing for the possibility of downed trees or power lines. Spokesman Dan Stessel says even if there are power outages in certain areas, Metro can try to keep trains running by redirecting power from a different source in a process called "backfilling."

Stessel says if there is damage from storms moving through today he recommends checking Metro's website for possible delays before heading to a station.


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