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High temperatures start to drop in DC region with thunderstorms rolling in

The sweltering temperatures from the three-day heat in the D.C. region Saturday is compounded with thunderstorms.

Tree that fell on an apartment building at 1200 block of Queen Street NE during the storms (Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)
Tree that fell on an apartment building at 1200 block of Queen Street NE during the storms
(Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)

Courtesy DC Fire and EMS

A tree torn down during the storm in Glover Park (Courtesy Nicholas Nguyen)
A tree torn down during the storm in Glover Park
(Courtesy Nicholas Nguyen)

Courtesy Nicholas Nguyen

trees down ne dc
A tree is down in Northeast D.C. after storms swept through the region.
(Courtesy DC Fire and EMS)

Courtesy DC Fire and EMS

DC-area thunderstorms
Rain and storms trickled into the D.C. area in front of WTOP’s headquarters.
(WTOP/Tadi Abedje)

WTOP/Tadi Abedje

montgomery county storms
A number of trees and power line are down in Montgomery County, Maryland.
(Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue/Pete Piringer)

Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue/Pete Piringer

Shelf cloud
Shelf cloud captured during storms in D.C. on July 29, 2023
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WTOP/Dave Dildine

tree down montgomery county
A tree down in Montgomery County, Maryland.
(Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue/Pete Piringer)

Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue/Pete Piringer

Trees down in Glover Park after the Saturday storms. (Courtesy Stephanie Sienkowski)
Trees down in Glover Park after the Saturday storms.
(Courtesy Stephanie Sienkowski)

Courtesy Stephanie Sienkowski

Listen live for the latest weather updates on the 8s on WTOP. 

The sweltering temperatures from the three-day heat wave in the D.C. region Saturday has been compounded by evening thunderstorms. Here’s what you need to know.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued until 9 p.m. across the region. There was also a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that moved across the region from 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Already there are reports of trees down and power outages in the region, including in Loudoun and Montgomery counties, plus the District.

WTOP reporter Dave Dildine says “this is one of the stronger summer storms we have experienced in D.C. in a couple of years at least.”

“I am seeing some significant damage in parts of Northwest D.C. Countless trees are down, manhole covers displaced and open pits disabling cars,” Dildine said. “Numerous major roads, like Fox Hall Road, are blocked. People are walking around with a stunned expression around Palisades.”

The latest wind gust reports from within the storm, as of 6:07 p.m., are traveling at 58 mph at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School in Arlington, VA, according to WTOP meteorologist Chad Merrill.

The NWS also tweeted at 6:05 p.m. that strong winds are following behind the line of storms, with wind gusts reaching 35 to 45 mph.

“This will be dangerous for those outside since there is a lot of debris hanging around,” NWS said.

A heat advisory is still in effect until 8 p.m. on Saturday, with residents urged by local leaders to stay cool and hydrated.

A cold front should move into the region on Saturday night, finally offering relief from the heat. WTOP meteorologist Steve Prinzivalli says that northwesterly winds will bring cooler and less humid weather for the second half of the weekend.

“The weekend will start with more oppressive heat, humidity, and nasty thunderstorms before quieter and refreshing weather returns by Sunday,” Prinzivalli said.

Where to beat the heat and stay cool

D.C. is urging residents to stay cool and hydrated, check on older adults and other vulnerable neighbors, keep pets indoors and wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.

The District has activated its Hot Weather Emergency through Sunday. D.C. spray parks and recreation centers have extended hours through Sunday, and cooling centers throughout the District will be available for those seeking relief from the heat.

Christopher Rodriguez, director of the District’s homeland security agency, said that Mayor Muriel Bowser’s declaration of a hot weather emergency this week allows the city to open cooling centers and other facilities so residents can beat the heat.

He urged residents to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, and to avoid strenuous activities outdoors whenever possible. A list of the District’s cooling centers can be found online.

“Do not underestimate the impact that this heat emergency is going to have on you. I know there’s a lot of people out there who want to go out for their runs, or want to spend a lot of time outside,” Rodriguez said.

“Limit your time outdoors, and make sure you stay hydrated. Because you’re dealing with triple-digit temperatures and the potential for a heat index of up to 110 degrees, you can very quickly feel those impacts.”

Additionally, D.C. Public Schools have canceled all outdoor activities through Sunday.

In Virginia

In Virginia, Fairfax County has activated its Heat Plan for Thursday and Friday. The county said its cooling centers will have supplies available, including bottled water, sunscreen, insect repellent and body wipes.

With the heat advisory, Loudoun County has designated some libraries, community centers and recreation centers to serve as cooling centers.

The City of Alexandria is offering cooling centers at its libraries and recreation centers. The Potomac Yard Park Interactive Fountain operates from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Prince William County has designated all its public libraries as cooling centers, and encourages residents to monitor the county’s Emergency Information Page in case any other cooling resources are announced.

In Maryland

In Maryland, Montgomery County has declared a heat emergency alert. In addition to cooling centers that are being made available to residents, passengers on Montgomery County Ride On buses will have access to free bottled water during service hours.

Anne Arundel County offers cooling centers in public libraries, some district police station lobbies and senior centers.

Calvert County has issued a Severe Heat Alert and has designated libraries and community centers as cooling centers.

In Charles County, cooling centers are available at the Capital Clubhouse, the Richard R. Clark Senior Center, Nanjemoy Community Center and the Waldorf Senior & Recreational Center, as well as public libraries.

Prince George’s County offers cooling centers at some senior centers, community centers, recreation complexes and ice rinks. Residents are asked to check in at the facility’s front desk when they arrive.

Howard County has issued a Heat Alert and offers cooling centers at community centers, senior centers and libraries during their normal hours of operation. The county advises anybody who needs shelter or other assistance to call the Grassroots hotline at 410-531-6677.

Parts of the U.S., particularly the Southwest, have been battling blazing temperatures this month, and health experts urged people to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

Forecast:

SATURDAY NIGHT: Breezy early this evening and then calm but clear. Lows: 70 downtown to the mid 60s in the suburbs.

SUNDAY: Sunny and less humid. Highs: low to mid-80s.

MONDAY: Mostly sunny and less humid. Highs: Low to mid-80s.

TUESDAY: Sunny. Highs: Mid-80s. Winds: Northeast 5-10 mph.

Current weather:

Outages

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino, Ivy Lyons and Tadiwos Abedje contributed to this report.

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