Thursday Update: Storm Prediction Center Places Portions of DC Metro Under “Enhanced Risk”

Lightning Illuminates the Sky Over Washington; photo credit, Stan Mouser

The Storm Prediction Center has placed a portion of the Washington Metropolitan Area under an “Enhanced Risk” for Severe Thunderstorms today. 

My map hasn’t changed, notice that the locations that I had under dark red match the SPC’s opinion:

We have many ingredients for some super cells to develop out ahead of a strengthening surface low pressure system and attendant cold front that will slide through the Nation’s Capital between Noon and 3PM.

  • Wind Shear (winds changing direction with height) is strong today.  
  • Enhanced lift (rising air) out ahead of the cold front, steep lapse rates (temperatures dropping rapidly with height) and strong upper level winds will overcome the lack of sunshine to produce scattered severe thunderstorms capable of producing hail, high winds, and isolated tornadoes.


The following three images are from high-resolution models (courtesy Tropical Tidbits) showing decent consensus that there will be periods of thunderstorms through the afternoon with the highest risk of rotating thunderstorms out ahead of the cold front.  The cold front will likely cross the 95 corridor between Noon and 3PM.

Latest HRRR showing future-cast radar from 4AM through 4PM  (10AM to 3PM is the window to watch closely)

Latest WRF-NMM Model showing Noon through 3PM

Latest WRF-ARW model showing 8AM through 3PM

Tornado Watches may be issued by the Storm Prediction Center later on this morning, while a widespread tornado outbreak is not anticipated, the risk does exist for a spin up tornado with any severe thunderstorm that develops later this morning through the early afternoon. Be safe out there today.  

Please closely monitor the latest advisories issued by the National Weather Service (

For those of you snow-lovers and skiers, I stand by my forecast early in the week when I said that 6″ or more of snow is likely for the ski resorts  at Snowshoe and Wisp.  While it will be a heavy, wet snow… this will be a great opportunity for some early Spring snow-boarding and skiing Friday evening through Saturday!



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