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Maryland weather: Tornadoes, flash flood watches called off

A heavy band of rain moved through the Baltimore region Friday afternoon, but the threat of more severe weather overnight has been lifted.

Earlier, a tornado watch was in effect across the region through midnight, and the flash flood watch was extended until 5 a.m. Saturday. The watches indicate that conditions are ripe for tornadoes or flash flooding, and that residents should be alert as the storms approach.

But before 10 p.m., both advisories were called off.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center had called for 15 percent chances of damaging wind gusts and 2 percent chances for isolated tornadoes across Maryland.

“Severe thunderstorms with considerable potential for producing damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are likely,” the center wrote.

The rain contributed to one water rescue Friday afternoon on the Susquehanna River.

To the south, tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. The national Storm Prediction Center said 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were at a moderate risk of severe weather.

Torrential downpours, large hail and a few tornadoes were among the hazards, the National Weather Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, warned.

Radar readings appeared to show a tornado formed in western Virginia's Franklin County, south of Roanoke, though damage on the ground still must be assessed, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Hysell.

A band of heavy rain moved through the Baltimore region in the afternoon hours. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Baltimore/Washington office said they expected a lull in activity until the potentially severe storms arrived.

At Susquehanna State Park, rain factored into a water rescue. Two people were fishing on a boat when heavy rains began to fall, and they decided to head in, according to Brian Remines of the Susquehanna Hose Co. The boat struck a rock, knocking both out of the vessel. One boater got to shore, but the other was about 100 feet out, Remines said, and needed to be rescued. They refused medical attention.

Meteorologists also warned of the potential for “training” thunderstorms, a term referring to a sort of feedback loop in storm systems that can allow heavy rain to linger for hours over an isolated area. Training storms contributed to both the May 2018 and July 2016 floods that devastated Ellicott City.

High temperatures reached the mid-70s Friday afternoon, with surging humidity levels in the air.

Maryland Weather Updates »

In the system’s wake, “decent” weather is forecast Saturday, weather service meteorologists said, followed by chances for rain showers Easter Sunday. High temperatures are forecast in the lower 70s Saturday and in the mid-60s Sunday.

So far, April has been relatively dry, with about 0.6 of an inch of rain through the first half of the month at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. That is more than an inch below normal for the month to date, but Friday’s rainfall could erase that deficit.

Baltimore Sun reporter Lillian Reed, The Aegis and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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