Thunderstorms, Tornadoes Threaten Washington Area

Tornado Watch for Washington D.C.
Dark clouds surround the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, June 1, 2012, as severe weather comes to the area. Photographer: Alex Brandon/AP Photo

A severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch has been issued for Washington as a wave of powerful storms crashes across the mid-Atlantic states.

Washington, Baltimore and parts of Virginia and Maryland may be hit by winds as high as 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour and as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia.

A Maryland law enforcement officer reported a funnel cloud near Damascus, Maryland, northwest of Washington, the agency said. No damage was reported.

“This is a dangerous storm,” the Weather Service said. “If you are in its path, prepare immediately for damaging wind gusts and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning. Move indoors to a sturdy building and stay away from windows.”

A tornado watch, meaning the storms may develop, has been issued from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Weather Service radar was tracking potential twisters in Maryland and Virginia as of 3:50 p.m. East Coast time. Washington is under a watch until 9 p.m.

Flash flood warnings have also been issued for the Washington-Baltimore area until midnight. Water was reported to be halfway up car tires on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the Weather Service.

Large hail was reported in North Carolina and Virginia, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Buildings were damaged and trees were knocked down.

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