The Washington Post

Chasing double rainbows over the Washington Monument (PHOTOS and TIMELAPSE VIDEO)

A rainbow panorama with the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool, July 8, 2014. (Kevin Ambrose)

With a big line of storms barreling out of the mountains, we decided to meet at the Lincoln Memorial for a storm chase.

As the line entered the immediate area, it began to lose intensity, but still appeared menacing upon arrival. Ultimately, it turned into a rainbow chase — a very successful one at that!

First, here’s a timelapse of the rainbow’s emergence:

A time-lapse of the double rainbow's emergence Tuesday over the Lincoln Memorial. (Kevin Ambrose/The Washington Post)

Related: Spectacular double rainbows flank fierce storms in Washington, D.C. (PHOTOS)

Now, here are some still photos of the rainbow storm in its various stages.

First came the scary-looking clouds:

A shelf cloud approaches D.C. during the mid-evening. (Ian Livingston)

Front edge of severe storms passing over the National Mall. (Ian Livingston)

While the storms turned out to be quite uneventful in the city, the rainbow that followed stole the show.

It lasted from 8:14 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. By rainbow standards, that’s a long time! Every tourist at the Lincoln Memorial grabbed their phones and began taking photos as we aimed our cameras at the full rainbow. Best yet, it was a double.

Here are a few photos of the rainbow over the Washington Monument and the striking sunset that followed.

A double rainbow over the Washington Monument reflects on the Reflecting Pool, July 8, 2014. (Kevin Ambrose)

A double rainbow cherishes its 15 minutes of fame over D.C. (Ian Livingston

Double rainbow landscape view of the Reflecting Pool. (Kevin Ambrose)

A double rainbow over the Washington Monument, July 8, 2014. (Ian Livingston)

Finally, a brilliant sunset capped off the evening.

Sunset after the storm. (Kevin Ambrose)

Post-storm sunset reflections at the Lincoln Memorial. Image created combining several exposures for tonal range. (Ian Livingston)

Here’s a timelapse of the storm, from start to finish – from the scary-looking clouds to the rainbow to the start of sunset:

Here are a few more impressive sky and rainbow views submitted to us from readers:


Double rainbow over Van Ness (Albert Ting via Facebook)


Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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