Thar she blows — again, and again!

“The humble cumulus humilis never hurt a soul” — or so the saying goes of fair weather clouds. But the ominous swirling clouds that swept across the Blue Ridge Mountains into Rappahannock County Thursday afternoon, followed by even more severe storms Monday evening — labeled a “mini derecho” by National Weather Service — were entirely different monsters.

By Molly Peterson

And with talons to boot, as seen in this incredible photograph captured by Molly Peterson as Thursday’s storm swooped down onto Massies Corner.

By Kevin Adams

Monday’s round of thunderstorms unleashed torrents of rain, crackling lightning and heavy winds, which as Kevin Adams discovered sheared the bell tower off of the First Baptist Church of Washington.

Image by Rich Shoemaker

Ground zero in Monday’s mini derecho were the villages of Sperryville, Washington and Flint Hill, which experienced an astonishing 100-plus lightning bolts in a matter of minutes, as captured by this live map from Weather Underground. Rich Shoemaker, owner of Piedmont Broadband, reported “major damage” Monday, resulting in his crew working “through the night” to restore Internet service. Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, which said this area “looked like a war zone,” still had customers without power Wednesday, as did CenturyLink with phone outages.

About John McCaslin 466 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at