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DC storms: Flash flood warnings overnight after fast

Sep 01, 2023Sep 01, 2023

Heavy rain, powerful wind and lightning swept through the D.C. area Monday evening, leaving damage and power outages in their wake. Fallen trees blocked roads, and golf ball-sized hail clattered to the ground in both Maryland and Virginia.

Here's 4 things to know:

⚠️ Stunning video from Carroll County, Maryland, taken from inside a car shows powerful wind knocking down multiple power lines onto a busy highway, stranding dozens of people inside their vehicles.

⚠️Tornado warnings popped up in parts of Virginia hours after the National Weather Service advised people that twisters were possible in the D.C. area. Severe weather advisories, including an overnight flash flood watch, were all over by Tuesday morning. See all severe weather alerts here.

⚠️ Never drive through standing water. Be especially careful at night, when it's harder to recognize flood dangers.

⚠️ Multiple trees and power lines came down around the region. Thousands of people were left without power overnight.

Outside the D.C. area, other parts of Maryland were left in much worse shape after Monday night's storms. In Harford County, the sheriff's office had to rescue a woman when a tree fell onto her home. The damage is also extensive in Baltimore County and along parts of the Eastern Shore.

In Carroll County, power lines fell onto Route 140 in Westminster, trapping 33 people — including 14 children — inside their cars, authorities said.

Heart-stopping video taken from inside a car shows the moment that fierce winds knocked down power poles like dominoes, sending them crashing onto the highway not far from vehicles whose drivers had nowhere to go. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Jeffrey Campbell said he was stuck in his car for hours and just got out around 11 p.m. But he had to leave his car behind, as it was still trapped by those downed poles.

In all, more than 30 power poles were broken by straight-line winds during the storms, BGE officials said. Route 140 will be closed while crews pull the posts off the road. Detours may be in place for days there.

After severe weather impacted our service area Monday evening, causing extensive damage to our system as shown here in Westminster, BGE Crews and mutual assistance personnel are actively working to restore power. We anticipate 80% of customers to be restored by 8/8 at 11 p.m. pic.twitter.com/nTlYuFUWdA

Across the region, the storms knocked out power to tens of thousands of people, although service has been restored already in many of those communities.

Crews worked overnight Monday to restore power. By the morning, a tree that took down powerlines remained strewn across Zion Drive in Fairfax County, Virginia.

As of about 6 a.m. Tuesday, BGE was still working to restore power to about 53,000 customers.

About 11,500 Dominion Virginia customers were still in the dark, down from more than 50,000 at the height of the outages.

Pepco reported just 11 customers still without power, down from 400 at 11 p.m. Monday.

Torrential but fast-moving rain fell across the region as lightning flashed and the Capitol dome stood out against a dramatic sky. Some people found piles of hailstones on sidewalks.

"It's like the Fourth of July with lightning strikes popping off in every direction," NBC4 photographer Nick Leimbach said near Leesburg about 5:30 p.m.

The flags, the trees — they are whipping. Just an absolute deluge here. We've seen a very dark front line come through. It's almost like night before the sky opened up and it started to fall, pour.

At Interstate 66 and Route 15 in Haymarket, Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey saw an intense downpour with thunder, lightning and high winds. She was set up at a Sheetz gas station full of people taking cover.

"The flags, the trees — they are whipping," Carey said. "Just an absolute deluge here. We've seen a very dark front line come through. It's almost like night before the sky opened up and it started to fall, pour."

Multiple roads were closed in Brandywine, Maryland, due to fallen trees. One tree fell at the intersection of Forum Drive and Government Center Parkway in Fairfax County, and another was down in the street in the 24000 block of River Road in Montgomery County.

Workers rushed home Monday afternoon after a tornado watch was issued for the District and parts of Maryland and Virginia, as skies began to darken and winds picked up. That tornado watch ended at 9 p.m., and tornado warnings for several counties, including Fauquier, Loudoun and Spotsylvania, also expired. Several severe thunderstorm warnings also were issued for spots around the region.

Ahead of the storms, forecasters had warned of a higher Severe Weather Outlook than we'd had in 10 years.

“You want to prepare for derecho-like damage,” Draper said, referring to the 2012 storm that brought 70 to 90 mph winds, ripped off roofs, destroyed cars, knocked out power, tore down thousands of trees and sent temperatures soaring to 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service issued tornado watches up and down the East Coast, from Alabama to New York, officials said Monday afternoon.

Flights were routed around the storms as much as possible, the FAA said.

Government offices, as well as some colleges and schools, closed early as a precaution:

At Nationals Park, gates opened at 4:30 p.m. for Monday night's Pink concert, but guests were told to stay in the concourse until the storms passed. Photos showed scores of fans crowded together under cover and a sea of empty seats in the ballpark.

Concert goers waited more than three hours before skies cleared enough for them to be safely seated.

It’s been a little more than a week since punishing storms on July 29 knocked out power for many residents and ripped huge trees from the ground.

Monday evening's storms were fast-moving, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Amelia Draper said. Although the evening rain was heavy, it moved through so quickly that flooding was not an immediate concern.

However, pockets of rain are continuing into the early overnight hours.

⚠️ A flash flood warning was issued for much of the metro area, including the District; Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax County, Virginia; and Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. That warning was expected to expire at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Remember to never drive through standing water.

Weather.gov shared the following warnings and tips:

News4's Darcy Spencer reported some standing water on some roads in Prince George's County.

The region will continue to have some pockets of heavy rain moving through the early overnight hours, with the chance for rain until about 6 to 7 a.m. Tuesday, when a cold front will finally move through. That front will lower the humidity levels, and while the severe threat is over, heavy rain is still possible.

It will still be humid out there very early Tuesday morning, but toward 8 to 10 a.m., the cold front should clear that up. The humidity levels will drop throughout the day, and it should turn out to be a fabulous Tuesday. The day should be dry with plenty of sunshine and a high of 84 degrees, about five degrees below normal.

Looking at the humidity levels these next few days, Tuesday and Wednesday should be comfortable. Our next chance for rain and storms comes on Thursday.

Here's 4 things to know:powerful wind knocking down multiple power lines onto a busy highwayTornado warningsSee all severe weather alerts here. Never drive through standing water. left without power overnight.A flash flood warning Remember to never drive through standing water.Stay with Storm Team4 for the latest forecast. Download the NBC Washington app on iOS and Android to get severe weather alerts on your phone.