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Lightning (via Breno Machado/Unsplash)

Fairfax County is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and Flood Watch as storms are expected in the region this evening.

The National Weather Service issued the watches this afternoon. They both expire at 10 p.m.

Rainfall could cause flash flooding in the area, according to the Flood Watch.

“Strong to severe thunderstorms will move across the region late this afternoon through the evening hours,” the Flood Watch says. “Heavy rain will accompany a number of these storms which may drop 1 to 2 inches of rainfall in an hour.”

A Hazardous Weather Outlook for the area also says the primary threats are wind gusts and large hail, with the possibility of an isolated tornado.

The full Flood Watch is below.

Event: Flood Watch

* WHAT…Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible.

* WHERE…Portions of DC, Maryland and northern Virginia, including the following areas: in DC, District of Columbia. In Maryland, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Central and Southeast Howard, Central and Southeast Montgomery, Charles, Northern Baltimore, Northwest Howard, Northwest Montgomery, Prince Georges, Southern Baltimore and St. Marys. In northern Virginia, Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria, Fairfax, King George, Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park and Stafford.

* WHEN…Until Midnight EDT tonight.

* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks.

– Strong to severe thunderstorms will move across the region late this afternoon through the evening hours. Heavy rain will accompany a number of these storms which may drop 1 to 2
inches of rainfall in an hour. Additionally, some regions could see repeat thunderstorm activity leading to an enhanced threat for flooding.
Instructions: You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Photo via Breno Machado/Unsplash


A Groveton home was struck by lightning Thursday, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said.

No one was at the home in the 6800 block of Duke Drive at the time of the lightning strike but one neighbor happened to catch a video of it on a doorbell camera, the department said in a press release. The fire started on the exterior wall of a second-floor bedroom.

Firefighters arrived around 7 p.m. and saw smoke coming from the front of the two-story, single family home. They quickly extinguished the fire and contained it between the first and second floor, the release said.

The fire caused approximately $25,000 in damage but no occupants were displaced.

Video via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

Lightning (via Breno Machado/Unsplash)

(Updated at 7:20 a.m.) A transformer blowing out? A meteor? Or just really loud thunder?

A big boom was reported across a wide swath of Fairfax County from Reston and Herndon to McLean around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving many residents confused regarding the possible source.

The sound was likely caused by loud thunder that accompanied a storm that was crossing the area at the time. 

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported that it dispatched units to the 13000 block of Woodland Park Road in Reston at approximately 10:59 a.m. after a building there was struck by lightning.

One McLean resident told FFXnow by email that she heard “a loud boom/explosion that did not sound like thunder” around about 10:35 a.m.

“We are on Brook Rd between Rt 7 and Old Dominion Dr.,” Diane Van Tuyl wrote. “My friend in Great Falls on Towlston Rd also heard it. She felt rumbling and some shaking.”

Other residents took to social media to share their bafflement regarding the possible source of the sound, which one user compared to a concussion grenade:

Last week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said a similar boom heard through the greater Shenandoah County region was a fireball

This time, meteorologists with the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang say they’re reasonably confident it was a particularly powerful lightning strike that happened during atmospheric conditions that allowed it to be heard from miles away.

Photo via Breno Machado/Unsplash


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