Severe storm chances diminish as clouds help cool temperatures

Forecasters expect diminished chances of severe weather in the Baltimore area Thursday, with cloud cover keeping temperatures down, but some storms and showers are still expected.

Meteorologists shifted an area of concern for severe storms southward, in an area from tidewater Virginia to North Carolina's Outer Banks, instead of over Maryland, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Some scattered storms and showers are still possible, however.

Temperatures hovered around 80 degrees through early Thursday afternoon, about 10 degrees cooler than forecasters had predicted. Some rain and storms were moving into Carroll County by mid-afternoon, headed toward the Baltimore area.

That is unlike Wednesday heat, which helped fuel severe storms that brought hail and flash flooding across the region overnight.

The thunderstorms late Wednesday knocked out power to nearly 31,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers throughout the region, and about 3,000 remained without power as of about 2 p.m. Thursday.

There were several reports of flooding requiring water rescues, building fires and downed trees throughout the area. Flooding blocked a lane of Route 295, and wind uprooted a 30-foot tall tree in the Carrolltowne area of Carroll County, according to the National Weather Service. A 59 mph wind gust was reported in Glen Burnie, and a 78 mph gust was reported in Prince George's County.

A roof of a home in the first block of Bogby Court in Middle River collapsed after lightning struck the house and it caught fire, Baltimore County authorities said. No one was injured but four residents of the home were displaced.

Some light rail lines also lost power and light rail service to Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport was suspended Thursday morning, with bus bridges in place, the Maryland Transit Administration said.

Storm chances are expected in the afternoon and evening hours, some of them possible turning severe with damaging wind gusts and hail.

Overnight lows dropped to 70 degrees at BWI Marshall Airport early Thursday. Temperatures had fallen to 73 degrees by midnight, meaning Baltimore missed a possible record for the highest minimum temperature for Wednesday's date. The record appeared possible after morning lows fell to only 76 degrees early Wednesday, compared to a record of 75 degrees.

The cold front and storms were expected to usher in slightly cooler and drier air, with temperatures dropping to the 60s and lower 70s Thursday night into Friday morning and peaking in the mid-80s Friday.

Slight storm chances are expected again Friday night, and 50 percent chances are expected through Saturday, with highs in the mid-80s. Sunday could top out in the upper 70s.

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