In Cen­tre­ville, a storm’s bite strips off bark

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY MARTINWEIL martin.weil@wash­

Heat is al­most manda­tory in Wash­ing­ton in sum­mer­time, as is hu­mid­ity. Com­bin­ing the en­er­gies of the two may brew up an­other sea­sonal hall­mark: thun­der­storms.

Sum­mer storms may cover so small an area that most of us nei­ther see nor hear them. But on Fri­day, Jen John­son of Cen­tre­ville, in west­ern Fair­fax County, was in the right place at the right time.

She was at home about 6 p.m. when she heard the thun­der­clap and saw the light­ning.

“I’ve heard loud thun­der,” she said, but this sound was “un­like any­thing I’ve heard be­fore,” The light­ning flash was in­tense, and im­me­di­ate. It had to be close, she knew, and af­ter go­ing out­side, she saw how close.

Half a block away, a tree still stood. But much of its bark had been stripped off, in the way a ba­nana is peeled.

The heat and hu­mid­ity so typ­i­cal of Wash­ing­ton in this sea­son re­mained here Satur­day, with the mer­cury reach­ing the 90s for the third straight day.

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