Severe Thunderstorm Warning in Effect This Afternoon

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning that is in effect until 4 p.m. today (Thursday).

Winds of up to 60 miles per hour and hail damage trees, may cause large branches to fall, and result in widespread power outages.

NWS encourages residents to move into an inside room on the lowest floor possible.

The warning covers most of Northern Virginia.

Photo via NWS/Twitter

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Severe Thunderstorm Warning In Effect Until 4:15 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. today (Thursday).

The National Weather Service issued the alert after a severe thunderstorm watch alert was sent earlier today. The watch is in effect until 8 p.m.

Damaging winds with wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour are possible.

Residents are encouraged to move to an interior room or to the lowest floor of a building.

Here’s more from the alert:

At 311 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Countryside to near Warrenton, moving southeast at40 mph.

HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

Photo via NWS

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch in Effect Through Tonight

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for the county until 8 p.m. today (Thursday).

The National Weather Service issued the alert around 1 p.m. today.

Lightning and scattered wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour is possible.

Most of the rain is expected to hit the area this afternoon.

Locally damaging winds and large hail are also expected, according to the NWS.

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National Weather Service: Five-Minute Tornado Classified As ‘Weak’

The tornado that touched down Friday night in Reston was classified by the National Weather Service as weak.

The tornado was rated “EF0,” which is the weakest classification for a tornado. Peak winds reached 70 miles per hour and the tornado’s path was up to 100 yards wide, according to NWS.

Cleanup was underway on Saturday and no injuries were reported.

According to a damage assessment and report released Saturday afternoon, NWS stated that the tornado, which touched down at 9 p.m., lasted five minutes and left a four-mile path of uprooted trees.

It began near Fox Mill Road and Pinecrest Road and made its way down to Center Harbor Road and Wiehle Avenue.

NWS charted the complete path in its assessment:

FIRST EVIDENCE OF DAMAGE WAS NEAR FOX MILL ROAD AND PINECREST ROAD WHERE SEVERAL TREES WERE DOWNED AT APPROXIMATELY 855 PM EDT. ISOLATED TREE DAMAGE FROM THIS POINT TO NEAR THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY COMPLEX ON SUNRISE VALLEY DRIVE WAS NOTED, WITH SEVERAL TREES TOPPED ALONG GLADE DRIVE NEAR ROSEDOWN DRIVE.

AFTER PASSING ACROSS THE DULLES TOLL ROAD (ROUTE 267), MINOR TREE DAMAGE WAS NOTED BETWEEN SUNSET HILLS ROAD AND BARON CAMERON AVENUE. THE TORNADO TRACKED ACROSS RESTON HOSPITAL CENTER, WITH NO VISIBLE SIGNS OF DAMAGE, BUT DAMAGE WAS NOTED JUST NORTH OF THE HOSPITAL ON TOWN CENTER DRIVE NEAR TOWN CENTER PARKWAY, WHERE A TREE WAS TOPPED, FENCING BLOWN DOWN, AND SHINGLES BLOWN OFF SEVERAL TOWNHOUSES.

AFTER CROSSING BARON CAMERON AVENUE, THE TORNADO PASSED JUST EAST OF TRADER JOE’S GROCERY STORE DESTROYING AN OUTDOOR SHED THERE. NEARBY, A TALL, TWO-FOOT DIAMETER TREE CRASHED THROUGH THE UPPER FLOOR OF A TOWNHOUSE ON QUIETREE DRIVE IN RESTON, THAT LED LOCAL OFFICIALS TO CONDEMN THE PROPERTY. SEVERAL LARGE TREES WERE EITHER UPROOTED OR TOPPED ALONG BENNINGTON WOODS ROAD BETWEEN CROSSWIND DRIVE AND RESTON PARKWAY.

A LARGE, 100-FOOT TALL TREE FELL AND SMASHED THE FRONT END OF AN UNOCCUPIED VEHICLE PARKED ALONG CENTER HARBOR ROAD, MIDWAY BETWEEN RESTON PARKWAY AND NORTH VILLAGE ROAD. MINOR TREE DAMAGE ALONG A NARROW PATH WAS NOTED IN NEIGHBORHOODS LOCATED BETWEEN NORTH VILLAGE ROAD AND RESTON PARKWAY BETWEEN CENTER HARBOR ROAD AND WIEHLE AVENUE. NO SUBSTANTIAL STORM DAMAGE WAS NOTED NORTH OF WIEHLE AVENUE, WHERE IT APPEARS THE TORNADO WEAKENED AT 900 PM EDT.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Cleanup Underway After Tornado Touches Down in Reston

 

The calm after the storm has descended after a tornado touched down briefly Friday night.

Local fire and rescue personnel spent much of the night clearing a tree that had fallen on a parked pickup truck on Center Harbor Road in Reston. Crews used chainsaws to cut up the tree to open the road. The truck’s owner was not inside the truck at the time.

Scattered downed trees still rested on roads and sidewalks early Saturday morning, including several near Lake Anne Village Center. A house near Quietree and Crosswind Drives was condemned after a tree fell through the roof.

Although the National Weather Service confirmed the tornado touched down, the service has not yet determined the severity of the storm. It will make an announcement after a storm survey during daylight hours today (Saturday).

Restonians reported whistling winds and punctuated bangs that suggest the tornado moved from Bennett Road to the Wiehle Avenue and Lakeport Recreation Area.

Send photos of the damage to [email protected] and tell us how the storm impacted you.

Here’s more from social media a day after the storm:

Photos by Fatimah Waseem. This story will be updated.

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BREAKING: Tornado Touches Down in Reston

(Updated at 10:45 p.m.) There are numerous reports of trees down and emergency activity around Reston following a tornado touchdown Friday night.

Around 10:20 p.m. the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado had touched down, after reporting extensive tree damage in the area.

“911 call center reports… multiple trees down in the Reston area with ones reported on Center Harbor Road and Baron Cameron Road,” said a storm damage report from the weather service. Emergency activity has also been reported along the Reston Parkway and Wiehle Avenue.

“Tree damage near intersection of Quietree Drive and Crosswind Drive,” NWS further reported. “One house condemned with tree falling through roof.”

The weather service will determine the tornado’s intensity via a storm survey during daylight hours on Saturday.

One large fallen tree crushed a pickup truck on Center Harbor Road. NBC 4’s Darcy Spencer reported that the truck’s owner was taking shelter inside his home as the storm roared past.

On Reston Now’s Facebook page residents shared their harrowing experiences and damage reports.

“I’m just off Bennett Road and I am pretty sure we had a tornado go through our backyard (or very close to it) around 8:45/8:50,” said one reader. “It was, literally, as the warning was going out. Spoke with several neighbors who heard it as well and took shelter in the basement. Tons of debris on our street and quite a bit on Bennett.”

“We heard a huge amount of wind and then several large big bangs… several large branches fell onto our house and were swept into the backyard,” said another resident. “The force of the large branches was so strong the drywall inside is busted in two places on the other side of this scar… So thankful our family is safe.”

The original Tornado Warning from NWS:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR… SOUTHEASTERN LOUDOUN COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHWESTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…

* UNTIL 915 PM EDT.

* AT 853 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER RESTON, MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

HAZARD…TORNADO.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED ROTATION.

IMPACT…FOR THOSE IN THE DIRECT PATH OF A TORNADO TOUCHDOWN,  FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT  SHELTER. DAMAGE TO ROOFS, SIDING, AND WINDOWS MAY OCCUR.  MOBILE HOMES MAY BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. TREE DAMAGE IS  LIKELY.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… RESTON, HERNDON, LOWES ISLAND, ASHBURN, STERLING, CHANTILLY, GREAT FALLS, COUNTRYSIDE AND STERLING PARK.

Storm reports and photos via social media:

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Weather Alert: Tornado Watch In Effect Until Midnight

Adding to expected rain and a flood watch, a tornado watch has been issued from now until midnight.

The National Weather Service issued the alert at 12:49 p.m. today. The watch covers Maryland, the District, ad 34 counties in Virginia, including Fairfax County and Arlington.

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Weather Alert: Wind Advisory In Effect Today

The work week will begin with a windy start. The National Weather service has issued a wind advisory, which is in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for today (April 15).

Winds between 45 to 55 miles per hour are anticipated, which could make driving difficult, according to NWS.

Although today will be chilly, highs in the upper 60s and low 70s are expected for the rest of the week.

Here’s more from the alert:

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 8 AM this morning to 8 PM EDT this evening.

* TIMING…From 8 AM this morning until 8 PM this evening. The strongest winds are likely from late morning and through the afternoon hours.

* WINDS…West 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

* IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are expected.

Photo via NWS

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National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a warning indicating critical fire weather conditions for Fairfax County and the D.C.-area today (April 3).

The Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon-8 p.m.

More from NWS:

…RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES FOR NORTHERN VIRGINIA… EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA AND NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MARYLAND…

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a Red Flag Warning for strong winds and low humidities, which is in effect from noon today to 8 PM EDT this evening.

* WINDS…West 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

* IMPACTS…Gusty winds and very dry air will create conditions that may promote the rapid spread of wildfires. Prescribed burns may get out of control. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

* HUMIDITY…20 to 25 percent.

* FUEL MOISTURE… Less than 8 percent.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Reston is expected to hit a high of 65 degrees today with sunny weather and winds around 17 miles per hour, forecasters say.

A combination of strong winds (15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph), low relative humidity and warm temperatures may help fires spread rapidly, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wrote in a post. The fire department is using the Red Flag Warning as an opportunity to remind residents that improperly discard cigarettes are a fire hazard.

File photo 

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Police: Flooding Closes Hunter Mill, Fox Mill Roads

Two roads in the Reston area are closed due to flooding, according to tweets from the Fairfax County Police Department.

Hunter Mill Road between Hunting Crest Lane and Mount Sunapee Road closed shortly before 4 p.m. today.

Fox Mill Road between Folkstone Drive and Thoroughbred Road in Herndon closed around 2 p.m.

Police advise locals to avoid the area and use alternate routes.

A Flood Watch is in effect for Fairfax County and surrounding areas until midnight, according to the National Weather Service.

More from NWS:

* Until midnight EDT tonight

* A widespread soaking rain around 2 inches is expected. Isolated amounts of around 3 inches are possible. The steadiest rain is expected through 6 pm this evening, with residual runoff possibly persisting through late this evening.

* These rainfall amounts may cause small streams and creeks to go out of their banks, as well as cause flooding of low-lying, urban and poor drainage areas.

Images via Google Maps 

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Locals May See Return of Snow, Wintry Mix Friday

Just like last week, locals can expect snow and wintry weather as the weekend arrives.

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants locals to stay alert to possible snow and a wintry mix starting Friday (March 8) and continuing through Sunday (March 10).

Crews have already done spot pre-treatments of areas prone to freezing today (March 7), according to VDOT. Crews will begin staging along roads early Friday morning.

For Reston, the National Weather Service expects a slight chance of snow before 10 a.m., followed by rain and more snow totaling about less than half of an inch for tomorrow. Rain is likely for Saturday and Sunday, NWS says.

Photo by @MrErrett/Twitter

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Locals Asked to Sign Up for Statewide Tornado Drill This Month

Fairfax County wants locals to sign up for the upcoming statewide tornado drill.

The annual drill is meant to help prepare residents for tornadoes, which can strike quickly and cause extensive damage. Virginia has averaged 24 tornadoes per year over the last 10 years, according to the county.

After locals sign up to participate, the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios at 9:45 a.m. on March 19.

The test should come through a tone or message alert simulating what people would hear and see during an actual tornado. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also participate by broadcasting the test message.

Once the drill starts, here’s what to do: move to a safe area, crouch, face down and cover your head with your hands. Some examples of safe areas include sturdy buildings, basements and storm cellars.

If you are in a car or outdoors, cover your head and neck and try to cover your body with a blanket or coat.

Here are things not to do:

  • do not outrun a tornado in a vehicle
  • do not go underneath an overpass or bridge
  • do not stay near windows, doors and outside walls

Image via Fairfax County

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As Wintry Weather Returns, Locals Urged to Plan for Snow, Sleet

Tomorrow is the first day of March, yet wintry weather is making a comeback to the D.C. area as spring nears.

Locals in Reston and Herndon can expect 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet later tonight and tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory that will last until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

More from NWS:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Snow and sleet expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches expected.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central and southern Maryland and northern and northwest Virginia.

* WHEN…From 10 PM this evening to 10 AM EST Friday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said in a snow update this afternoon that crews are pretreated roads throughout northern Virginia and will have crews staged along roads tonight.

VDOT asks that drivers to prepare ahead for impacts to the morning rush hour and to closely monitor the weather.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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UPDATED: Power Outages Span Great Falls, Affecting Thousands

Updated at 11:45 a.m. — Most of the power was restored at 7 p.m. with some customers getting their power back around 4 p.m., Charles Penn, Sr., a spokesman for Dominion Energy, told Reston Now. 

Penn said that one outage is “particularly labor-intensive involving five broken poles” and is affecting 12 customers — power is expected to be back by 5 p.m. today (Feb. 26). 

Earlier: Nearly 2,000 customers are affected by three power outages covering a majority of Great Falls, according to a Dominion Energy power outage map.

The power outages span from east of Utterback Store Road to the Potomac River, stretching down to the Georgetown Pike in the northwest and nearly reaching Difficult Run in the southeast.

The two outages by Shady Oak, which are affecting roughly 1,500 customers, are estimated to have power restored sometime between 7 p.m. and midnight. Meanwhile, crews just got dispatched to the power outage by Leigh Mill Road, which is impacting 492 customers, according to the map.

The causes for all three outages are “pending investigation.”

Earlier today, the National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning and then replaced it with a Wind Advisory for Fairfax County. The strong winds are expected to continue for the rest of the afternoon with sustained winds whipping across the county at 25 to 35 miles per hour. Gusts may reach up to 55 mph, according to NWS.

Great Falls also has a closure caused by a fallen tree at 715 Walker Road.

Image via Dominion Energy 

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Fallen Tree Closes Walker Road in Great Falls as Winds Whip County

Updated at 8:45 a.m. — The road opened back up sometime before 10 p.m., according to FCPD. 

Earlier: A fallen tree at 715 Walker Road currently has the Great Falls road closed as strong winds threaten to create hazards across Fairfax County.

The road in Great Falls is the only one reported for the Reston area in a released list of road closures from the Fairfax County Police Department. FCPD will update the list throughout the day.

The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning that is set to last until 6 p.m. tonight (Feb. 25).

More from NWS:

HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EST THIS EVENING… The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a High Wind Warning, which is in effect until 6 PM EST
this evening. The Wind Advisory is no longer in effect.

* TIMING…Strong winds will continue through this afternoon.

* WINDS…West 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph. The strongest winds are expected this morning.

* IMPACTS…Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines. Power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

Fairfax Fire and Rescue has tips for locals who face issues caused by the sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles per high, with possible gusts up to 60 mph. The fire department wants residents to be mindful of any downed power lines or trees and to use battery powered lighting instead of candles if a power outage occurs.

“It is especially important to understand that downed lines can energize other objects, including fences, cars, trucks, buildings, bushes, trees and telephone and cable TV cables,” according to the post, adding that people should assume that any downed power lines are “live and dangerous.”

Photos via Google Maps

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