Torrential downpours could lead to flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

MARYLAND — The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch on the Fourth of July for several counties in central Maryland as well as the District of Columbia and northern Virginia. A watch means conditions could develop that lead to flash flooding.

Torrential rainfall is possible as slow-moving showers and thunderstorms arrive after 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, officials advised. More than 2 inches of rain could fall in the downpours, which could lead to a rapid rise in water level, or flash flooding, in small streams and areas that have poor drainage.

There is an isolated threat of scattered thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts.

Afternoon storms will diminish early Thursday evening, according to the flash flood watch.

The flash flood watch applies to Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore City. It took effect just before 11:30 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.

Here is the forecast for the Baltimore-Washington metro, from the National Weather Service:

Thursday: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 2 and 8 p.m., including some that may bring gusty winds and heavy rain. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 91 and heat indices as high as 100, and a low around 74 degrees. Southeast wind around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70% during the day and 60% at night. New rainfall could total a tenth to a quarter of an inch, with higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Friday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 11 a.m. Patchy fog before 8 a.m. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 87 and low around 74. Southeast wind 3 to 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 90 and low around 73 degrees. There's a 70% chance of rain, with showers and thunderstorms likely during the day. At night, the chance of precipitation drops to 50%.

Sunday: Showers likely in the morning, with thunderstorms also possible after 8 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86 and low near 68. Chance of precipitation is 60% during the day and 40% at night.