The combination of wind shear, mild temperatures, moisture air, and high instability have allowed for widespread severe storms from the eastern Ohio Valley through portions for the Mid-Atlantic Monday afternoon. We have received numerous reports showing the beautiful structures of the storms associated with a strong squall line of thunderstorms originating in Ohio and ending up in the nation’s capital. Over 138 wind and 110 hail reports have been recorded by the Storm Prediction Center. There were even tow tornadoes reported on the Florida Peninsula, one of which have been confirmed as an EF-0 tornado, as well as another four in the Central Plains.
The long-track line of strong to severe thunderstorms developed early Monday morning in the Midwest near Chicago. As the day progressed, they ended up in the eastern Ohio Valley and eventually ended up in the Mid-Atlantic region Monday evening. In Medina, Ohio, a strong thunderstorm was able to produce this stunning shelf cloud. There have been various reports of damage from wind and/or hail in the Buckeye State.
— John Kassell | JohnKassellWx.com (@JPKassell) May 14, 2018
The meteorologists at the National Weather Service Office in Cleveland were treated by the sights of this amazing shelf cloud as well.
An additional thunderstorm moved through Chicago during the evening hours. Frequent lightning made for the rare sight of the three tallest buildings in the city being struck at the same time.
Monday afternoon, these storms tracked from the eastern Ohio Valley through the central Appalachians Mountains and eventually ended up in the Mid-Atlantic region just in time for the evening commute. It was a wild time for commuters at Dulles Airport west of Washington, DC as a Tornado Warning was issued in the 6pm hour. The FAA issued a ground stop at the airport as commuters were ordered to evacuate to the train tunnel underground.
Severe storms then made their way inside the beltway of Washington, DC. The residents of Reston were greeted by this view of a shelf cloud to the west of town. Cynthia Adler, who captured the below photo, states that they were “safely hunkered down in the basement” once the Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued.
Tall trees were no match for the strong winds in Reston, VA. Winds likely exceeded 60 mph with the thunderstorm that passed through at around 6:30pm. Unfortunately, the tree landed on a portion of a house.
Shelf clouds were of abundance from these severe storms. They were also seen in a city like Manassas Park, Virginia.
A possible derecho occurred in the Mid-Atlantic. A derecho has a strict definition, and only happens once or twice a year. According to the Storm Prediction Center, a derecho “is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. Derechos are associated with bands of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as bow echoes, squall lines, or quasi-linear convective systems.” The below video shows the shelf cloud and strong winds moving into Tysons, VA.
— Reed Meyer (@ReedMeyer) May 14, 2018
Here’s a radar/satellite loop of this possible derecho as it moves from the eastern Ohio River Valley to the Mid-Atlantic:
Here is a roughly 12 hour combined radar/satellite loop from today. You can see the initially weak storm form up into a line across PA/OH, with mainly hail early on. The storms then became a wind damage maker in VA/MD. pic.twitter.com/CmWXbwfKmf
— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) May 15, 2018
Strong winds knock down a tree branch onto this car and through the front windshield on Route 7 in Vienna, VA.
Severe storms in the #dc area today which lead to this tree branch coming through a drivers windshield on rte7 in Vienna va @David_Culver @nbcwashington @dougkammerer @amelia_draper @JimCantore pic.twitter.com/jMnmFhhH6E
— NBCPhotog (@bforte22) May 14, 2018
The backside of the storms made for this amazing sunset over Carlisle, PA. The sunset lit up these depth-defying, mammatus clouds.
Over 150,000 customers were without power in the Mid-Atlantic region during the peak of the storms Monday evening.
Severe weather was also dealt with in the Front Range of Colorado as scattered supercell thunderstorms developed. The combination of small hail and heavy rain made for a river of hail in Alameda, CO. This reminds us of the familiar sights of snow from not too long ago.
Video credit: Brian Turley
Farther east near Limon, CO, an ominous shelf cloud with a turquoise glow filled the skies associated with a supercell thunderstorm. The strong winds whipped up the spinning wind turbines in the open landscape.
— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) May 14, 2018
As days of tropical downpours persist in Florida, yet another shelf cloud was produced by a severe thunderstorm near Miami, allowing for this breathtaking view.
To the north, there were two tornadoes reported, one of which was confirmed by the National Weather Service office in Miami. That tornado was determined to be an EF-0 tornado with minimal damage in a portion of Palm Beach County. The tornado was estimated to be 50 yards wide and was on the ground for 1.5 miles, packing winds of up to 75-80 mph. It was on the ground for a total of four minutes.
A total of four tornado reports were recorded in the Plains, all of which were in southern Kansas. The same thunderstorm may have produced the same tornado(s) that was reported. The below photo on the left shows a tornado touching down from a massive supercell thunderstorm in Geuda Springs, KS. The right photo illustrates the beauty of the same supercell thunderstorm from a different perspective over Arkansas City, KS.