Born along the edge of a warm, humid air mass and fed by unseasonably cool air just to the north, a scattered group of storm cells formed one year ago today along the eastern side of the Shenandoah Mountains. They gathered strength, organized into a single front and barreled into the Washington area around 4 p.m.

The storm of June 14, 1989, was one that few who lived through it are likely to forget.

"Every time a storm comes I'm scared to death it's going to happen again," said Robert Creswell of Sunnyside Road in Silver Spring. A tree limb went through Creswell's house "like a bullet," from the roof to the first floor. It caused $30,000 worth of damage.

Today, the houses have been repaired but some of the bills remain. In less than 15 minutes, the thunderstorm, and a second one the next day, caused more than $30 million in damage to houses, cars and trees. In Northwest Washington and lower Montgomery County, the areas hardest hit both days, nearly all of the Potomac Electric Power Co.'s electric system was damaged.

Huge, 200-year-old trees were snapped in two or torn from their roots. Streets once shaded by a canopy of leaves now are bare and sunny.

"That was the sad part. A lot of older trees that really created an atmosphere of the neighborhood were destroyed," said Cecelia Perry, spokeswoman for the District's Office of Emergency Preparedness. "It will take years for that to grow back."

Some local governments still have not recouped the millions of dollars they doled out for cleanup and repair. Montgomery County, which was initially turned down for federal aid, has received $1.47 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency but is locked in disagreement over an additional $500,000.

"I'm still doing the paperwork," said Kathleen Henning, the county's program coordinator for emergency management. "We want to make sure that the same procedures {for other jurisdictions} are being applied to us."

The District, however, received all of the money for which it was eligible, $3.7 million. Private insurance companies paid millions of dollars for claims. Geico, for example, paid $4.2 million for damage done to houses and cars.

Several towns in Montgomery, which depleted their emergency funds, are just now receiving money from the federal government.

The village of Chevy Chase still has $150,000 in outstanding claims for cleanup and reforestation, said Patricia S. Baptiste, chairman of the board of managers, who said the town has spent $500,000. She said the village this week will plant more than 150 trees as part of its program.

Somerset Mayor Walter J. Behr said that FEMA this week delivered the town's final payment of $11,000, which will bring the total aid package to $89,000; the damage totaled $128,000 for the town.

The storm was the worst in Pepco's 93-year history in terms of the number of customers affected and damage to the electric distribution system. About 172,000 customers lost electricity during the back-to-back storms, some for as long as five days.

Restoration of power was hampered by the second storm and severe damage to the electricity system. The storm cost Pepco $8 million, all but $1 million of which was covered by insurance, said spokeswoman Nancy Moses.

"We had to rebuild the whole electric distribution system" for the area hit by the storms, said Moses. The utility company planted 400 poles, replaced 400,000 feet of wire and 6,500 insulators, among other repairs.

The massive, fast-moving thunderstorms came just as the rush hour was beginning to get under way. It was a hot, humid day and children and joggers were out. Suddenly, the sky darkened into blackness and the winds picked up to more than 70 miles an hour. More than an inch of rain fell on the region.

In human terms, the destruction was minimal. Michael J. O'Grady, 36, who lives in the 3300 block of Military Road NW, fractured a vertebra when a tree in his front yard fell on him as he returned from a jog. He was hospitalized for five days and in a back brace for four months.

"I got within 20 feet of the front door and all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw from above some green and brown and I was just swatted like a fly," said O'Grady, who was hit by the top branches of a 90-foot oak tree. "It was like being hit by baseball bats."

But the material damage was staggering. Elizabeth Hundt could see the sky from the wide dining room doors of her house in Somerset, and she knew it "was no ordinary thunderstorm."

Hundt rushed her three children into the basement. Minutes later, when Hundt emerged from her shelter, she saw pure destruction.

A tree had smashed into the side of the house, flattening a bedroom and family room where Hundt had been only minutes before. Her car was totaled by falling debris. Massive, 100-year-old trees lay twisted in Hundt's front yard. In total, the storm caused $225,000 in damage to Hundt's Somerset house in southern Montgomery County.

"It has left an incredible mark upon all of us," Hundt said. "It was terrifying."

Staff writer Sue Anne Pressley contributed to this report.