(Natural News) Intense flashes of lightning struck Washington on Thursday night, July 23, after thunderstorm cell mergers coalesced over the city. The day marked the fourth day in a row of strong summer storms in some locations, abetted by the hot and humid conditions.
Earlier, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Washington, Arlington and Alexandria, predicting that penny-sized hail would fall in the areas.
Extreme weather display
The Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array recorded about 126,500 instances of lightning discharge from 8 to 10 p.m. Chris Vagasky, a lightning expert for the Vaisala Group that operates the National Lightning Detection Network, said that there were about 3,000 lightning flashes within eight miles of National Park from 8:21 to 8:55 p.m.
Several eyewitnesses stormed social media to describe the jarring bolts of lightning.
Thunderstorm cell mergers contributed to the extreme weather conditions produced that night in the city. These are the result of a localized transient multi-cell cluster merging with another cluster coming from the west and the southwest.
Experts say that the merging of separate masses of cloud water and ice may have supercharged the cloud system.
Lightning forms when wind updrafts and downdrafts take place in the atmosphere, creating a charging mechanism that separates electric charges in clouds. That’s because these strong opposite wind currents cause water droplets, hail and other particles to collide and shed electrons to the bottom of the clouds.
Experts said that many of the detectable electrical sources during the two-hour period were contained high within the cloud system, suggesting huge concentrations of lofted water and ice in cloud updrafts. They hypothesized that the combination of water and ice within a turbulent updraft initiated the electrical charge.
These updrafts were very strong, as shown by an analysis of a small pocket of very unstable air feeding into the storm cluster. Its values are found to be between 3,000 to 3,500 Joules per kilogram. It takes about 1,000 Joules per kilogram to initiate a typical thunderstorm, which means the air currents during the thunderstorm were indeed beyond the normal range. (Related: Weather control technology now using lasers to cause rainstorms and lightning.)
Furthermore, the storm released torrential rains that fall at a rate of over three inches an hour in some areas. Reagan National Airport collected 1.79 inches of rainwater in just 30 minutes between 9 and 10 p.m. The National Weather Service received more than half-dozen reports of flooding, situated mainly in Arlington, Alexandria, the District and Oxon Hill, as well as Prince William County.
As a result, many cars were left stranded in some roadways, while the Nationals home opener against the Yankees was forced to halt mid-game.
Meanwhile, the weather service received several reports of downed trees in the eastern part of the District and adjacent areas of Prince George’s County.
Violent thunderstorms: a sign from the sky
The violent thunderstorms were described as a sign from the sky, as several protests continued in the nation’s capital. Events were interrupted while reports of flooding, felled trees and strong winds came in.
In June, for example, rioters defaced several historic monuments in the city, including a statue meant to honor the victims of communism. One inscription read “BLM,” which stands for the initials of the Black Lives Movement.
Across the United States, protestors from the Black Live Movement looted and damaged stores. They also vandalized the Seattle Police Department headquarters and injured cops by throwing rocks and shooting fireworks.
A member of the police was caught saying, “These are criminal acts, not peaceful protests.”
Meanwhile, earlier in New York, a bright beam of lightning struck behind the Statue of Liberty.