Temperatures soared in Washington Tuesday, reaching the mid-90s, but with a very high humidity and dew point making it feel well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As Washingtonians broiled in the August “dog-day” heat, conditions arose in the atmosphere for strong thunderstorms to quickly materialize.
Washingtonians were caught off-guard by the sudden storms, which struck at the beginning of the evening rush hour. Satellite images show that no storm front approached the city - the storms suddenly exploded overhead as the conditions grew ripe for their rapid intensification.
Watch the storms explode in the last couple frames... https://t.co/zMK2vbRVNH— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) August 20, 2019
The Washington Post noted that in less than an hour, more than 1 inch of rain fell on the city, with some places expected to receive as much as 3 inches. A flood warning was issued alongside the severe thunderstorm warning, and downtown Metro stations were inundated with the rushing water.
The storm updrafts were so powerful that they produced large hail, with ice balls up to 2.5 inches thick falling just blocks from the US Capitol building.
Yep! This is from Mount Pleasant, just a few minutes ago. Hail portion of the storm lasted maybe a minute or two. pic.twitter.com/z7oC8bijg9— Emma Llanso (@ellanso) August 20, 2019
Wind gusts of nearly 60 miles per hour were reported at Andrews Air Force Base southeast of the city, but things got pretty dicey in town as well.
Eventually, the slow-moving storms released their pent-up energy and slid eastward, toward the Chesapeake Bay. With the sun setting in the west, locals snapped up pictures of the beautiful rainbows that tailed the storm.
Great rainbow at Shady Grove metro! pic.twitter.com/wGW8dWnC90— Testudo Dave (@TestudoDave) August 20, 2019
According to the Post, the wild weather may not yet be over: muggy conditions are expected to last the rest of the week, meaning the conditions for Tuesday’s deluge could potentially be replicated in the days to come.