Possible Tornado Reported Near Epicenter of August Earthquake

Tornado watch until 11 p.m.

Tornado warnings and watches were issued as strong storms moved through the area causing damage Thursday.

A storm moving up the Potomac River to D.C. produced frequent lightning.

Further south, a storm in Spotsylvania County, Va., led to a tornado warning that expired at 6:45 p.m.

The storms have had the potential to drop hail and up to 6 inches of rain in an hour, meteorologist Doug Kammerer reported.

A tornado watch for Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's, St. Mary's and Dorchester counties in Maryland, as well as D.C., is in effect until 11 p.m.

The University of Maryland sent out alerts warning of a tornado headed toward campus based on communication with Accuweather, but the National Weather Service had not issued any warning for the area at the time.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect for D.C. until midnight with high tide expected to be 1-2 feet higher than normal. Coupled with wind, that could cause flooding in low-lying areas.

The 100 block of King Street in Alexandria flooded Thursday evening, and a flash flood warning was issued for Fairfax, central Madison, west central Culpeper, eastern Rappahannock and west central Fauquier counties until 11 p.m.

About a dozen homes and the roof of an elementary school were damaged when an apparent twister cut a six-mile swath through western New Kent, according to Fire Chief Tommy Hicks. Trees were down throughout the area, including a couple that toppled onto homes, Hicks said.

He said one person was slightly injured but did not require hospital treatment.

A tornado was reported in the central Virginia county that was the epicenter of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August, the Associated Press reported.

Law enforcement reported a possible tornado after a house was damaged in Louisa County about 3:40 p.m. An historic plantation house called Sylvania that dates to 1746 had its roof ripped off, according to county spokeswoman Amanda Reidelbach. Columns also toppled.

No injuries were reported, but four funnel cloud sightings were reported in that area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Proch said the suspected tornado has moved out of the county. A Weather Service team likely will survey the damage Friday to determine whether it was a tornado.

The community continues to struggle after the August earthquake and the more than 40 aftershocks since then.

Last week the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned down Virginia's application for federal assistance for individuals whose homes or businesses were damaged in the tremor. Gov. Bob McDonnell has said uninsured property damage estimates from the quake exceed $15 million.

Other Damage:

Stafford County Fire confirmed that funnel clouds were spotted in the northern part of the county (Quantico). Wind damage was reported at a subdivision near Jefferson Davis Highway (Mary View Lane and Blossom Lane). No injuries have been reported.

A car was stuck in high water on River Road Thursday evening. Rescuers went to the scene to get the woman out of the car.

There are reports of trees down throughout the area.

Weekend forecast:

High pressure pushing in from the west has the weekend looking dry and clear. Lingering showers are possible into Friday afternoon, before cooler and drier air sweeps in by Friday evening, Kammerer said. The arrival of the dry weather could be accompanied by blustery winds.

Once the rain moves on, the weekend is shaping up to be a good one to spend outside.  Brisk morning temperatures in the 40s will give way to afternoon highs in the 60s, along with bright sunshine.

Wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible Saturday.

It could be a good time for pumpkin picking, or checking out fall foliage. Colors in the Shenandoahs, the Blue Ridge Mountains and western Maryland are nearing peak color.

Historically, the Washington metro area will not see peak leaf color until Halloween.

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