Friday in many ways replicated conditions that may almost be routine for summer in Washington: steamy 90-degree heat, an afternoon influx of ominous clouds, sudden deluges, strong winds and periods of waterlogged inconvenience.
Friday provided what we may have come to recognize as almost a summertime norm. But on Friday many may have looked with new wariness and heightened respect at the release of pent-up atmospheric energies often inherent in our summertime evenings.
That new hesitancy may have been a consequence of the tragedy that visited on Thursday. On Thursday, conditions not much different from Friday’s led to three deaths after a lightning strike near the White House.
But on Friday it appeared that we had reverted to one of our standard rainy, windy, stormy, summertime evenings: one that crackled with lightning and was perhaps fearsome but fortunately not tragic.
Before Friday afternoon’s storms appeared, the mercury in Washington reached 94 degrees. It was our fourth consecutive 90-degree day.
The string started Tuesday, the second day of the month, and it meant we in Washington had entered August in a typical Washington way: with a heat wave.
The day’s ample heat and the day’s plentiful humidity became, as they often do, ingredients for storms that in spots produced rainy torrents. Water backed up on low-lying roads and streets, blocking traffic and requiring cars that made it through to throw up waves worthy of a seagoing vessel.