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Weatherwise -- May-June 2015

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June 25, 2006: Washington, D.C., Storm Fells Tree on $20 Bill

In 1996, the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing began issuing redesigned currency incorporating enhanced security features—such as watermarks, microprinting and color-changing ink—designed to thwart counterfeiters, such as watermarks, microprinting, and color-changing ink. In addition to these high-tech elements, the new $20 bill featured a redesigned image on the back of the bill, showing the north side of the White House, flanked by two large elm trees. (Previous series of the $20 bill, dating back to 1928, featured a south view of the White House.) Visitors who pass in front of the White House today, however, will notice that the view they see in front of them does not quite match that on the back of the $20 they may be carrying in their wallet or purse. The reason is that one of the trees depicted on the bill is no longer there. It was uprooted and fell over during a thunder-storm that developed in the midst of a period of prolonged heavy rain in June 2006—one of the wettest months on record for Washington, D.C.

Contributing Editor Sean Potter is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM), Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM), and science writer with an interest in weather history.

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