Last Thursday evening, I returned to the site of my June 29 derecho storm chase for another storm photo shoot. A line of thunderstorms were slowly moving east toward Washington and I hoped to capture some lightning photos and video with the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin.
As I walked around the Tidal Basin, I noticed that lightning flashes across the western horizon. That never happened with the derecho. Preceding the derecho, there was a featureless, black sky until transformers began to explode with colorful light over Arlington.
Read below to see videos which compare the approach of the derecho with the approach of thunderstorms on September 27.
I set up my tripod in the same location that Ian Livingston and I setup on that dreadful June 29 evening, before the derecho. The memories of our sprint in blinding rain and 70+ mph winds were still fresh in my mind. This storm would be different, it was moving much more slowly and the thunderstorms were not nearly as severe.
Distinct lightning bolts became visible in the sky over Arlington. I started my video camera and watched the light show. This was the scene that I had hoped to photograph during the derecho but instead had to wait three months to capture. It was worth the wait.
September 27, 2012: This is a video of a line of thunderstorms approaching Washington last Thursday evening. This was the scene that Ian Livingston and I had hoped to photograph the night of the derecho. Lightning occurred in the western sky for almost an hour before moderate-to-heavy rain moved into Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)
June 29, 2012: This is a video of the derecho approaching Washington. Transformers can be seen exploding over Arlington. There was very little, if any, lightning as the storm approached. A few minutes after this video was taken, Ian Livingston and I were slammed by strong wind and heavy rain before we made it to the Jefferson Memorial for cover. (Kevin Ambrose)