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Washington Monument Struck by Lightning

Kevin Ambrose @ 6:00 AM

The Washington Monument was struck by lightning during the storm Friday night (below.)

After years of storm chasing Washington, D.C., I finally saw the Washington Monument struck by lightning -- and I got the photo to prove it!! I took the shot from the Jefferson Memorial, looking across the Tidal Basin. It was an absolutely impressive sight, to say the least. It is interesting that the monument was struck from the side, but there is an illuminated streamer coming off from the top of the monument. The storms briefly dropped heavy rain over the area, but were not severe in D.C. The photo was a timed exposure, 8 seconds at F6.3 with a digital Olympus camera.

On the topic of lightning safety, I was under cover of the Jefferson Memorial while photographing Friday night. At the time of the photo, the lightning had seemed quite distant (many miles away) and a light rain had just started to fall. I had started photographing the distant lightning illuminating the clouds behind the Monument while I was waiting for the storm to approach. Suddenly, the Washington Monument was struck without any other bolts having hit the nearby area (within a mile or so.) It was proof that lightning can strike well before the storm arrives and people should take cover when thunder is heard.

For the forecast, highs today will be in the mid 80s with lower humidity. Highs on Sunday will be in the low 80s and on the Fourth highs will be in the mid-to-upper 80s. The skies should be partly cloudy for the weekend, and mostly clear for the Fourth, perfect for viewing the fireworks.


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