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WEATHER

A Short Deluge Follows a Dry Spell as Region Longs for Soaking Showers

At Arlington's Central Library, Bill Williams and daughter Maya, 6, wait out a short but heavy cloudburst Thursday before dashing to their car. The storm brought lightning-strike incidents, one involving a golfer in Montgomery.
At Arlington's Central Library, Bill Williams and daughter Maya, 6, wait out a short but heavy cloudburst Thursday before dashing to their car. The storm brought lightning-strike incidents, one involving a golfer in Montgomery. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)
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By Rick Rojas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2009

The rain that washed through May and into late June seemed as though it would never go away. But the dry spell that followed has some people asking for what would have been unthinkable just a month ago:

More. Please.

"I would like a good soaking for a couple days," said Jay Meadows, president of Meadows Farms Nurseries, a chain of regional lawn and garden stores that includes a ground maintenance company. "I think that would help everybody."

Thursday's deluge raised hopes that July precipitation totals may climb above the .26 of an inch that has fallen so far.

The storm was believed responsible for injuries to a 42-year-old golfer at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, who apparently was nearby when lightning struck on the course Thursday afternoon. He was taken to Suburban Hospital.

The unidentified man suffered injuries "consistent with a near-strike" of lightning, said a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The extent of the golfer's injuries was not immediately known.

Later in the afternoon, lightning apparently struck near a chimney on Owens Glen Way in Gaithersburg, starting an attic fire that firefighters quickly brought under control, according to Assistant Chief Scott Graham, the Montgomery fire service spokesman.

Heavy rain pelted the District on Thursday night, briefly flooding city streets and the intersection of Nannie Helen Burroughs and Minnesota avenues NE. Several cars were stranded in high water, and the road was shut down for more than an hour, D.C. police said.

The showers are expected to continue steadily through Saturday, said Jared Klein, a National Weather Service meteorologist. The seven-day forecast includes chances of afternoon showers every day.

Klein said the "abnormally dry" weather has not become a drought, but that is largely because of the earlier wet weather. Fully 5.86 inches of rain fell in June and 8.05 inches fell in May, about double the average of 2.73 inches in June and 4.23 inches in May, he said.

Without that precipitation, there certainly would be drought conditions now, he said.

Meadows said the earlier steady rain helped his business, causing plants to thrive at his nursery and grass to grow rapidly, providing work for his ground maintenance company.


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