On June 29th, 2012, Robert Wheeler's power suddenly went out. It became dark and hot outside and a destructive storm swept over his McLean home and through our region.
He said it sounded like a fright train coming into his house. He grabbed his bed and hung on for dear life.
The damage from the massive storm top of a Riverdale apartment building sheared off. A Poolesville barn was flattened and in Falls Church, Bob Hoover's truck lay pancaked.
It wasn't a tornado - it was a derecho, a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.
Derecho damage is typically found in one direction along a relatively straight path, and for a storm to be deemed a derecho, it must include wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour or greater along most of its length. Its wind damage must extend more than 240 miles.
If and when another derecho comes, move to the basement or interior room just like for a tornado warning, especially if you have large trees around your home.
Though many people had never heard of a derecho before, Gregg Schoor with the National Weather Service says it's not the first to hit D.C.
“In this area, it occurs every two-to-four years,” he says.
Just last week, the storm prediction center in Norman, Oklahoma deemed a set of morning storms just north of dc to be a low-end derecho.
We know they occur - but is there any way to predict them?
"It's not trying to forecast a derecho - you're trying to forecast the potential for storms to form a line - a complex - and see how far it moves,” Schoor says.
Now a year after the storm, Wheeler is still singing about it.
“Power outage blues - ain't nothing I can do,” Wheeler sings.