Look at the Derecho That Almost Ate DC

Rebecca Greenfield

There was a big storm set to attack the East Coast heading into this weekend, and it hit Washington, D.C. — and hit hard — until it didn't. By Thursday evening the ominous impressionist-grey skies over the nation's capital had turned yesterday's-news blue, leaving behind only photo evidence and a windswept, powerless streak of a so-called "derecho" that never quite was. The derecho, as this special storm system is called, was expected to dump a bunch of rain up and down the Eastern seaboard, but unlike a regular rainstorm, there's a lot more wind involved in this thing, as a useful Mother Jones post explains: "In order for a weather event to be classified as a derecho, the wind damage zone must extend more than 240 miles and include wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour" — which, yeesh, sounds very blustery. Winds reached up to 68 miles per hour, according to the Washington Post, and a tornado reported in Maryland has taken out power for some 60,000 area residents. From Twitter freak-outs to, well, the social-media all-clear, it appears the most dramatic part of the storm passed DC in the late afternoon, whipping its way elsewhere but leaving some dramatic images — and Vines!

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Here's a before-and-after from National Journal's Brian Fung:

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The calm before the storm at the Washington Monument and White House:

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The Library of Congress looking like its about to get swallowed up:

This panorama from Foster Designs of Alexandria is insane: 

Here's a brave soul driving during the tornado warning:

And here's a Vine of the storm and winds in action — pretty intense: