Wednesday Weather: Forecasters Talk of Derecho Conditions

"Potential for a significant severe weather event," National Weather Service said.

Thunderstorms heading to the area Wednesday afternoon into Thursday have the potential to produce "a significant weather event," the National Weather Service (NWS) reported. 

Some national meteorologists -- including Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather -- are talking about weather systems that may have the potential to spawn a derecho.

The NWS expects showers and thunderstorms to develop during Wednesday afternoon and evening in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, the Tidal Potomac River and adjacent counties in Central Maryland, Northern Virginia and DC -- including the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford and King George.

"Some of these storms will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts and large hail. Localized flash flooding is also possible," the NWS said.

Thursday's thunderstorms are also expected to be capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, the NWS said.  Heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding.  Strong wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles-per-hour may be possible behind a cold front Thursday night, the NWS said.

The Fredericksburg region won't soon forget last year's June 29 derecho, which ripped through the Fredericksburg region about 10:30 p.m. with winds from 60 to 80 miles-per-hour.  At least 2.5 million people in Virginia lost power in what Gov. Bob McDonnell called "the largest non-hurricane power outage in Virginia history."

Sosnowski, replying to comments about possible fear-mongering by uttering the word "derecho" in his forecast, said: "It is our duty to warn people of potential dangerous weather conditions. The weather pattern favors multiple Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) spanning late Tuesday to Thursday afternoon. Of these there is a 'chance' one morphs into a derecho. Because forecasting the exact starting point of an MCS is difficult and exactly where the complexes will turn to the right of the flow, we can't say dead on which locations will be hit the hardest."

According to The Weather Channel, a MCS is, in layman's terms, "a decent-sized and well-organized area of multiple thunderstorms."

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