WEATHER NEWS: We declare it’s summer in the D.C. area
Every year, there comes a point — usually in May or early June — when days with highs in the 70s are mostly history and 80s or higher become the norm. We’re there.
As such, we declare the end of spring and start of summer in the D.C. area. We make this pronouncement as it’s 94 degrees outside — the hottest day of the year so far.
Spring arguably ended Saturday, when we kicked off Memorial Day weekend, considered by many the unofficial start of summer irrespective of the weather. That day it hit 80 degrees, and now there’s no turning back.
For the next 10 days, highs are forecast to reach the 80s or 90s. Chances of appreciable cooling after that are slim. By June 10, our average high is 84 degrees, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is favoring a warmer-than-normal month for the area.
While some people subscribe to the meteorological (June 1) and astronomical (June 21) definitions for the start of summer, we consider it summer in Washington when the forecast calls for the majority of days to reach at least 80 degrees in the weeks to come. Once we reach this point, pools and area waterways start to warm up and our winter wardrobes can be stowed away.
This year’s onset of summery weather follows a frustrating spring — in which mother nature had a hard time making up her mind. We declared winter over March 14, when flower buds were starting to burst and the cherry blossoms were a mere week from peak bloom.
While spring came on fast with a mild March, April and May were more volatile with bouts of both anomalous warmth and conditions that were much cooler than normal.
The up-and-down weather in May reflected frequent fronts passing through the area that generated lots of clouds and ranked among the 15 wettest on record, with more than half a foot of rain.
May is known for sunny, mild weather with highs in the 70s — but they were scarce this year, with only six such days. At least trace amounts of rain fell on 18 days of the month.
While May produced some bursts of heat, including the present, they haven’t been out of the ordinary. We first hit 90 degrees May 21, five days later than average. The two 90-degree days we’ve observed so far this year is one behind normal pace.
Our declaration of the start of summer doesn’t mean we can’t have a rogue chilly day or two in the weeks ahead — that can happen if the winds come in off the ocean and/or we get socked in by clouds and rain. But most of the days ahead will feel like summer.
We’ve been making summer declaration since 2015 — this year’s date of May 28 is pretty close to average. Here are dates of our previous summer pronouncements: