From the ABC 7 Weather team

D.C. at slight risk of punishing wind, hail, this afternoon

July 8, 2011 - 12:54 PM
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Today's storm odds: 30 percent chance of damaging wind gusts, 15 percent chance of hail. Let's not talk about tornadoes.

Yellow areas have a slight risk of severe weather like hail and punchy gusts, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

A cold front is thudding into a moist, humid mass of air above D.C. today, creating what could be a copious deluge. The city is right above the northern boundary of a zone of 2.5 inches of expected rain, according to the latest forecast from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. That’s enough liquid to cause concern about sudden, violent flooding, and the region is under a Flash Flood Watch that extends into the night. D.C. itself might get more than an inch of rain. And a newly issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch stands until 9 p.m. (Latest forecast.)

If you’re the gambling type, here are our foul-weather chances, courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.:

* Severe thunderstorms: In general, a swatch of land stretching from southern New England to the Tennessee Valley is under a slight risk of severe storms. The air is moderately unstable here, although not as shaky as the skies above the Dakotas, which could spawn a couple tornadoes today. There’s an SPC mesoscale discussion going on for parts of southern Virginia and southward, where there could be “ISOLATED WET DOWNBURSTS” WITH “MORE INTENSE PULSE STORMS.”

• Hail: The SPC gives D.C. and environs a 15 percent chance of hail today, as multiple thunderstorms pop up over the region. Is that enough of a risk to buy a HailBlanket for your car? Probably not.

• Tornadoes: Let’s not even go there. The risk is low, low, low, at 2 percent.

• Damaging wind: If a bad storm does pop up this afternoon, slamming gusts will present the main threat. The city has a 30 percent chance of running into a true tempest kicked up by the thunderstorms. Out in the Atlantic’s Baltimore Canyon, a Gale Warning stands for strong winds that could provoke waves up to 12 feet high tonight.

• Another hot, rainless day: Hey, the precipitation-averse District could slip out of the rain lasso once again, although it looks quite unlikely. Monitor the building t’storm clusters out west using the ABC7 interactive radar or this simple but good NEXRAD radar from Plymouth State.

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