We just had several days of rain and thunderstorms in Washington, DC. The humidity gets so high during the summer that the rain just bursts in a thunderstorm like it’s releasing all this pressure.
It’s also the opposite of where I grew up, which was in Los Angeles. If you’ve never been there, Los Angeles doesn’t get much rain. In fact, I gave my father a hard time when he drove up to where I was stationed in Washington State because he couldn’t figure out why his windshield wipers were smearing. He’d had so little experience with rain that he didn’t realize they’d dry rotted!
The rain in Washington, DC, comes first with clouds that roll in, gray deepening to almost black. They might be like that all day, but there’s a point somewhere late in the day that the humidity seems like it’s reached a peak.
At that point, the winds start kicking up, always ahead of the storm. The leafy green trees sway back and forth. Screech! Thin branches scratch the windows.
And, as the storm starts to advance, it gets darker outside. Sometimes the middle of the day can look like evening.
The first drops of rain splatter the windows. But the asphalt outside isn’t wet yet, and the cars don’t have on their windshield wipers (or lights, for that matter. We have a lot of drivers who will drive in heavy rainstorms without lights).
I look away for a while, then look back and it’s raining so hard that the drops are hitting the ground and bouncing up. My area is all hilly, so the rain runs in streams down the sidewalks. Washington, DC, is a city of stone, so there’s not many places for all this water to go, except to flood.
Soon after the rain starts, thunder rumbles across the sky like someone hurling around one of those metal trash cans. Sometimes there’s a bright flash of light from the lightning, but most often, the show is somewhere else.
Then the clouds march off, and the sun peaks out. An hour later, it’s like it didn’t even rain.