August 8, 2002
It was an unusual thunderstorm. None had been forecast for the evening of Aug. 1, and this one was spawned without warning in the Maryland suburbs north of the District. It also moved due south, a peculiar track considering most blow in from the west and southwest.
The storm moved down the Potomac from the District as if Zeus had hitched a ride on a speedboat and hurled his lightening bolts, port and starboard, at the Maryland and Virginia shorelines. The storm cell also spun off "micro bursts," localized eruptions of wind and lightening. Several hit in the Mount Vernon area, toppling trees onto houses and power lines in Waynewood and Stratford Landing, before the storm thundered down river.
Zeus did his worst work on Mason Neck, just north of Gunston Hall. A micro burst raged ashore at Carlos Perdomo’s riverfront home, snapping hefty hardwood trees as if they were spindly pines. He lost almost 40 trees on the waterfront section of his 20-acre property.
"My little bit of paradise has almost been destroyed," said Perdomo. "I can’t believe it. I can’t believe the damage." Perdomo had just converted a garage into a party room, but a fallen oak tree changed the party room into a pile of rubble. Monday, while a crew worked to salvage furniture in the remains of the building, the head of a local tree service company hovered close to Perdomo, anticipating work.
Adrienne Morrone lives at Hallowing Point at the end of the road on Mason Neck and she recalls her problems last Thursday. "I was driving home after work during the storm and a tree fell and blocked Gunston Road," said Morrone. "I waited in my car for 30 minutes before I gave up and went back to Route One for dinner." She was able to get home later, but was without power until the next day.
JUST UP THE ROAD, ranger James Short said there was extensive tree damage in Pohick Park. "We have closed the picnic areas and trails until we can clean up the mess," said Short. "We expect to open the picnic areas this weekend, but we need more time to clear the trails."
Short said that no campers were injured during the storm and the storm did not damage any park structures.