Reston, VA

A ghostly rainbow formed entirely out of fog descended over Lake Fairfax on Monday as a dense fog advisory blanketed most of the region.

The fogbow was spotted by a Twitter user who was surprised by its strange appearanceThe Capital Weather Gang chimed in to offer some clues on its cloudy appearance.

Rainbows form when lights enters a water droplet. Each beam of sunlight travels at a different speed, slowing down at different rates when hitting a raindrop. Light is refracted and cast into an arc of color.

Fogbows, however, form from extremely small droplets, resulting in less refraction.

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Updated 6 p.m. — A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is now in effect until 6:30 p.m.

Earlier: A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for Reston and Herndon until 8 p.m. today (Friday). The watch covers 13 counties.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from 5 p.m. today to 4 a.m. on Saturday.

The National Weather Service says that scattered showers and thunderstorms will hit the area this evening, potentially causing heavy rain in some areas.

Storms remain in the forecast as Tropical Storm Laura makes its way to the region. The storm is expected to affect Virginia on Saturday, according to forecasters.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A wintry mix complicated the morning commute as the workweek begins.

The National Weather Service warns that a period of snow and sleet is possible after 4 a.m. on Monday.

Here’s more from the alert:

There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Monday morning commute, primarily for the western suburbs of Baltimore and Washington. A period of snow and sleet is possible Monday morning, mainly after 4 AM. Up to an inch of snow is possible through Monday morning.

If this threat does materialize during the Monday morning rush-hour, many roads could quickly turn slippery. This could lead to hazardous traveling conditions, multiple accidents, and extensive delays.

If commuting Monday morning, be aware of the POSSIBILITY of significant travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Herndon Police Department Offers Safe Trade Zone — If residents are planning to buy or sell online or need a safe place to meet for the exchange of payment and goods, the police department offers a place to do so at 387 Herndon Parkway. [Herndon Police Department]

Design Review Board Training — Reston Association’s Design Review Board met yesterday (Tuesday) at the organization’s headquarters to receive training on responsibilities, objectives of design covenants, and design guidelines. [Reston Association]

Be Wary of Black Ice This Morning — State transportation officials remind residents to drive safely due to possible slushy areas and black ice after last night’s rain. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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Reston is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 6:15 p.m. today.

The watch, which was issued by the National Weather Service, covers most of the DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston is under a several thunderstorm warning until 11:15 p.m. today (Monday).

The National Weather Service issued the alert, which says to expect wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and quarter size hail.

Here’s more from the alert:

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.

* Locations impacted include… Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, Vienna, Lowes Island, Mantua, Potomac, Oakton, Sterling, Chantilly, Tysons Corner, Wolf Trap, Great Falls, Merrifield, Countryside, Dunn Loring, Darnestown, Belleview,

Bradley Farms and Sterling Park.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Photo via NWS/Twitter

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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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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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A severe thunderstorm tornado warning is in effect for Fairfax County until 3:15 p.m. today (Friday). The National Weather Service issued the alert this afternoon.

Residents are encouraged to take shelter immediately.

The alert comes one week after a small tornado touched down in Reston. NWS classified the tornado as weak, but it left downed trees and destroyed one Reston home.

Reston Association staff worked  to clear downed trees on its properties this week. Property owners should contact insurance companies or tree removal companies to remove downed trees from their yards.

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum, who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

There was both shock and amazement on the part of many Restonians to hear last Friday evening that our community was under a tornado warning by the National Weather Service (NWS). These warnings occur all the time especially in the Midwest and earlier that day across the deep South. For us the weather is relatively mild, although the winds do seem to blow harder these days, and the rains this spring seem to have brought a lot of local flooding. The amount of snow varies from winter to winter.

About 8:30 p.m. on Friday the National Weather Service found that an approaching squall line ahead of a larger storm’s cold front distorted into an S shape across Northern Virginia. Gusts along the bow were significant until the bow broke up into a rotating storm. Doppler radar revealed a counterclockwise circulation known as a mesocyclone over Reston that developed into a cyclone.

Technically the National Weather Service recorded that on Friday, April 19, there was a tornado event in Reston beginning at 8:55 p.m. estimated time with estimated maximum wind speed of 70 mph, with a maximum path width of 100 yards and a path length of 4 miles. The NWS uses the Fujita Scale to classify tornadoes into one of six categories–EF0 (weak) to EF5 (violent). The tornado in our community was rated at the lowest ranking, EF0.

For professional weather people who deal with bad weather all the time, the tornado in our community that lasted an estimated five minutes may have seemed weak. But for those who sought refuge in their basements and heard the wind whipping around their homes and saw the trees swaying in their yards the storm was anything but weak. Fortunately, no one was killed or reported hurt. Lots of trees and branches were downed and several cars were damaged with one townhouse being severely damaged. Everyone is left to wonder if we will be as lucky if the flukes of weather send their wrath on us again.

Weather refers to what happens in the atmosphere around us with rain, snow, wind, and thunderstorms as examples. For many of us weather conditions seem to have become more severe. Only scientific recordings of weather events over a long period of time will provide evidence needed to confirm or deny our hunches. All the weather events of temperature, humidity and rainfall patterns averaged over seasons, years or longer creates our climate. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that climate is changing and that human behavior especially in releasing more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere is a leading cause. Completing the circle of what is happening in our world is that climate change is bringing about more extreme weather events.

While extreme weather, climate change and global warming may be controversial topics to some, many of us are deeply concerned. This week’s celebration of Earth Day was a global experience. Our local weather event while relatively mild reminds us that we need to be serious about the subject and serious about our response to it.

File photo

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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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After pleasant weather earlier this week, expect conditions to get wet and windy today.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch starting from noon today (Friday) until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for Fairfax County.

Isolated thunderstorms are expected to begin in the late morning today, with rain accumulations of up to a half-inch. The main storm front is expected after 4 p.m., with as much as two inches of rain possible across the county.

High winds of 11 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 30 miles per hour are also expected. Keep an eye out for hail too.

Here’s from Fairfax County Government:

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

If you encounter water on roadways, please remember — Turn Around, Don’t Drown! It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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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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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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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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