- Lightning spruces up a forest fire. (National Weather Service / Phoenix Gazette)
Though people who live close to D.C. might not have known it, weather was happening in a big way Tuesday night in the 'burbs. Flicking tongues of electricity licked St. Mary's County all over, setting at least two house fires and taking out a car.
The flames first began to crackle around 9 p.m. from a shed on Three Notch Road. A passerby noticed the grievously wounded structure and called it in, eliciting a response from 20 firefighters who got the blaze under control in 15 minutes. There was no sprinkler system, according to Maryland's fire marshal's office, and the homeowner incurred damage of about $5,000 as the shed and its contents burned to the ground.
Its death-lust for sheds all stirred up, the storm launched a second barrage at tiny Grayhound Lane at 9:32 p.m. Another spray of lightning went out and another shed burst into flames. "The shed, all of the contents and a vehicle were destroyed as a result of the fire," says the fire marshal's report.
So it's established: Lightning hates sheds. What else did D.C. proper miss out on Tuesday night?
Pushy winds toppled 20 to 30 trees near Clarkes Landing Road in Hollywood, also in St. Mary's County, and sheered the tops off of several pine trees about 20 feet from the ground. These weren't matchsticks, either; the trees' average diameter was about 10 inches. For more on what happened that wild night, check out this listing of storm reports.