Severe storms are moving across the mid-Atlantic Wednesday afternoon packing potentially dangerous winds, hail, lightning and torrential rains.
Severe storm warnings were issued across Frederick and Carroll counties about 3 p.m., and new warnings were expected soon after in Baltimore County.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for most of Maryland at 12:45 p.m. through 9 p.m. The weather service's storm prediction center is cautioning of the potential for dangerous lightning, hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter and wind gusts up to 70 mph in some spots. At 4:53 p.m., the NWS issued a warning for parts of Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince George's and Montgomery until 6 p.m.
The heat is fueling the instability in the atmosphere as a cool front moves eastward. Thermometers downtown reached 107 degrees at the Maryland Science Center, tying the hottest temperature ever recorded downtown, in 1936. But the point of record for Baltimore is now BWI Marshall Airport, which reached 102 degrees by 2 p.m., tying a record that dates back to 1887.
Weather service forecasters upgraded a heat advisory to an excessive heat warning for Baltimore and southern Baltimore County about 1:15 p.m., meaning heat index values are now topping 110 degrees.
BWI and the two Washington-area airports had grounded flights as of 2 p.m.
Local meteorologist Eric the Red expects the storms' primary threat to be the winds and hail, with localized heavy downpours possible. He predicts the storms to arrive in the Interstate 95 corridor between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Northern parts of the state, from Frederick eastward and north of BWI, could be particularly in the line of fire, according to Eric the Red.
The storms could be slow-moving, which could help remedy drought conditions persisting across the state.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun