From the ABC 7 Weather team

D.C. weather Thursday: Rock out to 'hailcore' once again

May 19, 2011 - 04:30 AM
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The sumo low-pressure area that scattered storm warnings all over the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday is lingering around D.C. today, and there is a chance of more lightning and hail.

A tornado Wednesday on the Eastern Shore, near Cambridge. (John Hansen)

Yesterday one of the ABC7 weather guys whipped out a cool term that might’ve been unfamiliar to some folks: hailcore.

An awkward metal movement starring rapping meteorologists in face paint? Actually, this word describes the section of a storm cell in which powerful updrafts are lifting water droplets into the freezing realms of the atmosphere, where they clump together and fall back down again as skull-denting precipitation. Just like what happened yesterday in King George, Alleghany and Stafford counties – the last of which was bombarded in the town of Passapatanzy (you know, like the song) with 1.5 inch-diameter ice walnuts.

Hailcore. Get ready to hear this word again today.

The sumo low-pressure area that scattered storm warnings all over the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday is lingering around, and there is still significant spin left in the atmosphere to give the D.C. region another pounding of lightning and hail Thursday.

The morning is expected to break with showers, and just how fast the clouds dissipate will be crucial to how severe the afternoon weather could be: If they stay a solid gray shield, it’ll knock down the chances of really bad gusts and ice balls to crack your windshield. But cloud breaks leaking sunshine will provoke the emergence of nasty cells with all the attendant risks. Last night’s thinking inside the M.R.E.-stocked ABC7 weather bunker was that there was a 50/50 chance of significant thunderstorms. (But check the latest forecast.)

Hey, but it still should be in the mid-70s, so you’ll be able to grab some Chipotle in short sleeves while potentially dodging flying, tooth-chipping ice crystals, although wear rain boots because the saturated ground is creating prime flood conditions. Make it through today and D.C. will soon transition into sunny, lovely weather. On Friday there’s only a 30 percent chance of storms. There is no rain in the forecast for Saturday, signaling the death of the area’s recent streak of violent storm systems.

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