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150,000 left without power on Thursday after damaging storms, tornado hit northeastern US

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
May 24, 2019, 5:57:58 PM EDT

A round of severe thunderstorms swept across the northeastern United States Thursday and Thursday night, including a tornado just outside of Washington, D.C.

After a refreshing break from steamy air at midweek, warmer and more humid air fueled damaging thunderstorms across the region on Thursday.

A line of thunderstorms, which produced widespread wind damage across the Ohio Valley and also the violent tornadoes in Missouri late Wednesday night, marched eastward across the mid-Atlantic states Thursday morning into Thursday afternoon. Widespread wind damage occurred across parts of northern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York state during the morning hours. The line of storms began to lose intensity when crossing central Pennsylvania and the Appalachians during the midday.

This line re-intensified on Thursday afternoon sweeping through Baltimore and Washington, D.C. One storm was particularly strong, prompting a tornado warning to be issued for downtown Washington, D.C. A tornado has not been confirmed.

Another storm that tracked near Baltimore spun up a tornado near Columbia, Maryland, which was confirmed to be an EF1 by the National Weather Service on Thursday evening.

A wind gust of 68 mph was clocked at Reagan National Airport as the storms blew through. These winds were strong enough to bring down large tree limbs, and in some cases, even blow over entire trees. Widespread tree damage was reported near the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(Twitter/James Willinghan)

A shelf cloud on the leading edge of a severe thunderstorm moving into Columbia, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Arlington County PD)

This road in Arlington, Virginia, is projected to be closed for eight to 12 hours due to damage caused by severe storms on Thursday.


Ominous storm clouds over Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon.


Storm clouds rolling into the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Howard County Fire & EMS)

A tree that crashed into a house in Columbia, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon amid severe storms.


A tree blocking traffic in Falls Church, Virginia, in the wake of severe thunderstorms.

(Photo/Arlington County PD)

Power lines blocking a road in Arlington, Virginia.


A large tree that fell near a house in Falls Church, Virginia, during severe thunderstorms on Thursday.


A large tree was uprooted in Washington, D.C. near the Jefferson Memorial on Thursday afternoon amid severe storms.


A large tree branch fell on a house in Falls Church, Virginia. The storms also kicked out the power in the area.


A shelf cloud moving into Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon on the leading edge of a tornado-warned thunderstorm.

(Photo/Arlington Country PD)

A large tree that fell onto a parked car in Arlington, Virginia, during severe storms on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Garrett Talkington)

A lightning strike seen in Butler County, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 2019.

(Photo/Millville Elementary School)

A lightning strike was caught on a webcam near Millville Elementary School in Millville, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 2019.

Over 150,000 were without power late Thursday afternoon in Maryland and northern Virginia in the wake of the damaging storms. This number had dropped to under 100,000 on Thursday evening.

Another round of severe thunderstorms redeveloped across New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia on Thursday evening, bringing isolated wind damage, brief, heavy downpours and numerous lightning strikes.

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Trees with a weakened root structure from recent rainfall were most susceptible to being downed by thunderstorm winds, even if gusts are below 58 mph -- the lowest wind gust for a storm to be considered severe.

The storms brought times of reduced visibility for those getting a jump start on holiday travel.

Download the free AccuWeather app to keep up to date on the latest forecast heading into Memorial Day. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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