Severe Storms Force US Government Offices to Close in Washington

Storm Threat and Tornado Watch

The US government offices in the Washington area closed early on Monday due to a severe storm threat and tornado watch that was disrupting air travel. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the Washington, D.C., area was under a tornado watch until 9 p.m. ET (0100 GMT Tuesday) with significant threats of locally destructive straight-line winds.

Storms Force

Libraries, museums, the National Zoo, pools and other municipal and federal services in the Washington area were also closing early. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said federal employees had to depart no later than 3 p.m.

The tornado watch covered Maryland, Washington and much of Pennsylvania and Virginia. The NWS said more than 29.5 million people from Alabama to western New York state had been at risk of tornadoes on Monday, but none had been reported as of 9 p.m. EDT.

Flight Disruptions and Power Outages

The severe weather also affected air travel, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered departing flights grounded at airports in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Baltimore because of thunderstorms. The FAA said it was rerouting aircraft around the storms as much as possible.

FlightAware, a flight tracking site, said more than 2,600 U.S. flights had been canceled, including 102 at Washington Reagan National Airport and 35 at Washington Dulles. Another 7,700 U.S. flights had been delayed.

Fast-moving thunderstorms and powerful winds toppled trees and knocked out power for nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in neighboring Maryland and Virginia, according to tracking website As many as 800,000 customers had lost power in the southern and mid-Atlantic states.

Coastal Flood Advisory

Though drenched with rain and pelted with some hail, the nation’s capital had escaped any twisters by the time a NWS tornado watch expired at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT). However, a coastal flood advisory remained in effect for Washington until 4 a.m. (0800 GMT).

The NWS warned of possible flooding along the Potomac River and its tributaries due to high tides and storm surge. It advised people to avoid driving through flooded roads and to move to higher ground if necessary.

The NWS also said that the storm threat would diminish overnight, but some showers and thunderstorms could linger into Tuesday morning. It expected cooler and less humid conditions for the rest of the week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *