Arlington, VA

A Tornado Watch has been issued for Arlington and the D.C. region as severe storms threaten dangerous conditions amid tonight’s Halloween festivities.

The Tornado Watch is in effect until midnight.

Forecasters warn that a line of storms packing rain and gusty winds will reach Arlington around 9 p.m. Trick-or-treaters and Halloween partiers should seek shelter ahead of the storms.

The National Weather Service issued a special statement about the storm threat:

…DAMAGING LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY TO MOVE EAST ACROSS THE AREA BETWEEN MID AFTERNOON AND MIDNIGHT…

A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED TO MOVE EAST ACROSS THE REGION. THESE STORMS WILL BRING THE POSSIBILITY OF DAMAGING WIND  GUSTS AND ISOLATED TORNADOES. PLEASE BE SHELTERED WHEN THESE  THUNDERSTORMS PASS THROUGH YOUR AREA.

THE MOST LIKELY TIMING OF THE LINE RANGES FROM MID TO LATE AFTERNOON FOR THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS, TO THE EVENING FOR THE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON METROS, TO BETWEEN 9PM AND MIDNIGHT FOR AREAS EAST OF I-95 TO THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. THE STORMS WILL LIKELY LAST AN HOUR OR LESS IN MOST AREAS.

STAY INFORMED. FOR MORE EXACT TIMING FOR YOUR LOCATION, CONSULT THE FORECAST FOR YOUR COMMUNITY AT OUR WEBSITE WEATHER.GOV OR OUR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER FEEDS FOR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON.

More via social media:

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Update at 2:50 p.m. — The Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been cancelled by the National Weather Service.

Update at 2:30 p.m. — A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Arlington.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… NORTHERN PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… THE NORTHEASTERN CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… * UNTIL 315 PM EDT. * AT 225 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER HUNTINGTON, MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH. HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS AND QUARTER SIZE HAIL. 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… REMAIN ALERT FOR A POSSIBLE TORNADO! TORNADOES CAN DEVELOP QUICKLY FROM SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. IF YOU SPOT A TORNADO GO AT ONCE INTO THE BASEMENT OR SMALL CENTRAL ROOM IN A STURDY STRUCTURE. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A BUILDING. TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER, CONTACT YOUR NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. THEY WILL SEND YOUR REPORT TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA. && TORNADO…POSSIBLE HAIL…1.00IN WIND…60MPH

Earlier: A Tornado Watch has been issued for Arlington and much of the D.C. region.

The watch, which is in effect until 9 p.m. tonight, was issued ahead of the arrival of a line of storms packing heavy rain and strong winds.

More from the National Weather Service on Twitter:

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) Arlington and the D.C. region is now under a Tornado Watch.

The watch is in effect until midnight tonight. Forecasters say the storms approaching the area may spawn isolated tornadoes.

The region is also under a Flash Flood Watch, with heavy rain expected this afternoon and evening. The expected stormy weather has prompted airlines to allow travelers at Reagan National Airport to change their flights without additional fees.

More from the National Weather Service:

MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. SOME OF THE STORMS WILL LIKELY BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND ISOLATED TORNADOES.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY THROUGH MOST OF TONIGHT FOR THE ENTIRE OUTLOOK AREA.

GALE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE WATERS TONIGHT.

With flooding and power outages possible, Arlington County Police are reminding motorists to take extra precautions on the roads.

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Morning Notes

Woman Injured When Scooter’s Brakes Fail — “An Arlington, Virginia, woman says she had to jump off of an electric scooter moving 15 mph to avoid oncoming traffic because the rented scooter’s brakes weren’t working.” [NBC 4]

Could Goody’s Challenge Sign Rules? — Goody’s restaurant in Clarendon painted over its outdoor mural after running afoul of Arlington’s sign ordinance, but one attorney says a 2015 Supreme Court ruling may point to an avenue to challenge the county’s regulations. [Reason]

Refugees Get Car from Arlington Diocese — “A Catholic family fleeing religious persecution in their native Pakistan [received] a car Monday in Arlington.” [WUSA 9]

Tornado Drill Today in Va. — Updated at 8:55 a.m. — Virginia is conducting its annual statewide tornado drill today at 9:45 a.m. [Virginia DEM, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Arlington County is now under a Tornado Watch in addition to the earlier Flash Flood Watch.

With the remnants of Hurricane Florence moving past the area, conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. Within the past half hour, a possible tornado was reported near Fredericksburg.

The Tornado Watch is in effect until 10 p.m.

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Morning Notes

Flash Flood Watch Remains, Though Rain is Subsiding — Weather watchers warn that a risk of floods remains through this afternoon, but things are set to get steadily dryer as Thursday and Friday get closer. [NWS]

Are Tolls Worth It on Virginia’s HOT Lanes? — A new study shows it’s a bit of a mixed bag for commuters, though anyone hopping on I-66 instead of Route 29 or Route 50 is probably getting their money’s worth. Researchers don’t see those arterial roads as viable alternatives, given the time savings 66 still offers during rush hour. [WTOP]

Metro Remains Less-Than-Ideal for Blind Riders — Months after a blind woman fell off a platform due to problems with Metro’s new 7000-series trains, the transit service is still scrambling to improve conditions for the visually impaired. [Washington Post]

Nearby: A Tornado Touched Down Near Thomas Jefferson High School — Officials believe a twister made a roughly one-minute-long appearance near the school, around the border of Alexandria and Annandale. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo via wolfkann

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Throughout Virginia today, TVs and weather radios broadcast a test Tornado Warning as part of the annual Statewide Tornado Drill.

Anyone watching cable TV saw programming interrupted by Emergency Alert System message. A computerized voice said the Tornado Warning was just a test, but in a real weather emergency anyone seeing the EAS message should get to a basement or other secure location.

More from Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management:

The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.

Save the date! The 2018 Statewide Tornado Drill will take place on Tornado Preparedness Day, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at 9:45 a.m. (If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, then the drill will be on  Wednesday, March 21, at 9:45 a.m.)

At approximately 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios. This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

The drill takes place annually on the first day of spring.

The Arlington Dept. of Public Safety Communications & Emergency Management also participated in the drill and live tweeted it.

https://twitter.com/ReadyArlington/status/976092550674214913

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There’s been a lot of clean-up in Arlington following last Thursday’s strong storms that produced a weak tornado.

The National Weather Service says the tornado formed adjacent to the Army Navy Country Club and lasted for six minutes on its 4.5 mile journey through Pentagon City and into Washington, D.C. The F-0 tornado had peak winds of 60-70 miles per hour.

The Army Navy Country Club property experienced quite a bit of damage, and a spokesperson issued the following statement to ARLnow on Monday:

“The tornado did interrupt some of the Club’s golf operations, as we had to close 18 of the 27 holes of golf in the Club’s Arlington location. Due to the tornado, we lost dozens of trees, several water coolers, trash cans, and benches on the course. We are fortunate that the path of the tornado did not cause any injuries or damages to the buildings.”

The last time a tornado was recorded in Arlington was on September 24, 2001, when an F-1 that originated in Fairfax County traveled northeast for 15 miles through Alexandria and Arlington, then it crossed the 14th Street Bridge into the District. It caused extensive damage and injured two people in south Arlington.

The scene was different for Thursday’s tornado in Arlington and the two others confirmed in the region that day, said Chris Strong, a warning coordination meteorologist with NWS Baltimore/Washington. Not only were the tornadoes weaker, but they also formed in a different manner.

“These weaker ones last week were basically eddies along a gust front, rather than more classic supercell thunderstorm tornadoes,” Strong says. “Those eddies produced small whirls of wind that in narrow corridors snapped some trees and caused siding and roofing damages.”

Some of that damage occurred when a portion of the facade and roof of the Macy’s at the Pentagon City mall ripped off and fell onto a car, resulting in one minor injury.

Technological advances have prompted changes in how local emergency managers warn the public about tornadoes and other weather emergencies. Some parts of the country, especially those that are more prone to tornadoes, use sirens as a warning. But sirens aren’t necessarily as effective in Arlington and the District, partially because of the dense buildings and foliage.

“Tornado sirens are not used much in this region of the country,” Strong said. “One of the reasons they work better in tornado alley is the wide open spaces with lack of trees that allows the sound to travel well.”

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Update at 11:20 p.m. — The National Weather Service confirms that an EF-0 tornado tracked through Arlington and into the District on Thursday.

Earlier: The storms that whipped through Arlington and the D.C. region yesterday brought power outages and damage, and more trees toppled today, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

But now the Capital Weather Gang believes the storms caused something else: a rare tornado in Arlington.

As CWG reported, the National Weather Service officially confirmed tornadoes in Herndon and in Southeast D.C. on Thursday. But the CWG team lists several other areas where they believe small tornadoes may have touched down, including in South Arlington near the Pentagon.

Radar indicated rotation there around 1:40 p.m., as noted on Twitter by weather enthusiast Ian Livingston.

Photographic evidence of damage near the Army Navy Country Club is consistent with tornadic activity, according to CWG. That’s also close to where one person was hurt when part of the Macy’s facade and roof at the Pentagon City mall was damaged and fell onto a car yesterday.

The National Weather Service reportedly is assessing damage near the Tidal Basin to determine if a tornado occurred there and along the H Street Corridor; the same storm caused the Arlington circulation. The Capital Weather Gang indicates the possible Arlington tornado may have been a separate occurrence from the one at the Tidal Basin, or that one tornado may have passed over the entire area in question.

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Morning Notes

Puddle at Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road (Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards)

Big Changes Coming to DCA — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has revealed updated designs of the coming changes at Reagan National Airport. Among the changes are a new commuter terminal, replacing the outdoor commuter gate 35X, and a new structure to house security checkpoints, which will be positioned before travelers enter the airport’s main terminal B/C hallway. [WTOP, WTOP]

Ethiopian Restaurant Coming to Courthouse — Chercher Ethiopian restaurant is expanding from the District to a new location at 2000 14th Street N. in Courthouse. It will be the first Virginia outpost for the acclaimed Ethiopian restaurant. Its owner says he chose Courthouse because the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor lacks Ethiopian dining options. [Washington Business Journal]

Tornado Drill Today — Yesterday was the first day of spring and today, at 9:45 a.m., Virginia is holding its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is “a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.” [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]

Va. Pols Speaking at Arlington Dems Dinner — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello and state Attorney General Mark Herring will be the headline speakers at the Arlington Democrats’ annual “Blue Victory Dinner,” formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, on April 8. The other Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “had a conflict and will not be able to make it.” [InsideNova]

School 5K to Close Streets — Roads will be closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood Saturday morning for the second annual Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K. [Arlington County, Discovery Elementary School]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

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Morning Notes

Daffodils on the edge of a patch of woods in Fairlinton

APS Considering Elementary Options — Arlington Public Schools is considering a number of options for increasing elementary school capacity in South Arlington. Among the options are moving current Patrick Henry Elementary students to a new building while moving Drew Model School Montessori students to the current Patrick Henry building. APS is also considering the construction of a new elementary school in Pentagon City. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Tornado Drill Today — At 9:45 a.m., Virginia will hold its annual springtime tornado drill. The Commonwealth experiences 15-20 tornados per year on average, usually between April and September. [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]

Local Startup Featured on MSNBC — Arlington-based moving crate startup ValueCrates was featured during a business segment on MSNBC over the weekend. [American Express]

2016 ARLnow Reader Survey — ARLnow.com is conducting our first annual reader survey. We’ve designed a survey that should take only 10 minutes to fill out, but could help ARLnow better serve the Arlington community for years to come. We would greatly appreciate your time in filling it out. [SurveyMonkey]

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