The Weather Service received more than 50 reports of damaging winds (mostly downed trees), hail and flash flooding, mainly concentrated in two zones: 1) from near Columbia into Baltimore, where winds gusted to 57 mph near Fells Point, and 2) along Interstate 66 in Virginia into the District and then close to Route 50 in Maryland.
Hailstones reached the size of half dollars in Fairfax County and golf balls east of Columbia.
In the zones of heavy storminess, 1 to 3 inches of rainfall were common, with locally higher amounts. Several streams overtopped their banks in Fairfax County. Reagan National Airport picked up 1.83 inches of rain, while Dulles had 1.02 inches, a record for the date.
How I photographed the Washington Monument lightning strike
When the Washington Monument was hit by lightning, I was shooting photos inside of the Jefferson Memorial. There was a blinding flash of lightning above the Washington Monument, and I heard the exploding boom of thunder a couple seconds later. I thought to myself, lightning probably hit behind the monument? That happens a lot.
I often run two cameras when shooting lightning. One camera I set with a high f-stop, and the other I set with a lower f-stop. I never can guess the brightness of a lightning flash, so I figure one of the cameras will expose the flash well with either a high or low f-stop.
I checked both of my cameras, and they confirmed the lightning flash struck the tip of the Washington Monument. I captured a direct strike to the monument. I have not photographed a lightning strike at the Washington Monument since July of 2005.
The monument is routinely struck by lightning but it is challenging to capture the bolts on camera. Last June, a photographer captured a bolt hitting the Monument from Arlington. A Capital Weather Gang analysis published shortly thereafter determined that lightning strikes on the monument happen up to a couple times per year on average, but there is a good deal of variability year to year.
I have included photos from both cameras that intercepted Monday night’s lightning, and I have also included photos of the storm while it was approaching D.C.
It was a photogenic storm from the start to finish, but most of the time during the storm I had to take cover inside the Jefferson Memorial due to the blinding rain and strong winds.
Jason Samenow contributed to this report.