PM Update was sorely tempted to play hooky today, but no true weather geek can escape the alluring sound of records crashing. The window is open, and the sweatshirt is off here at Afternoon Blog Central, where the temperature has zoomed to summer-like levels, and the local shopping center is advertising a "Beach Party" promotion.
What a difference a month makes. Exactly 4 weeks ago, we were contemplating a major snowstorm for the Washington DC area. Now we've jumped ahead to temperatures which are typical of the average in late May.
Strong southwesterly breezes were aided by the bright near-equinox sun as the 78° temperature broke a 42-year-old record in Washington DC this afternoon. Dulles at least tied its record of 77° from 1986. The record readings were part of a surge of warm air which brought 60+ temperatures well up into the Hudson Valley and southern New England ahead of a low pressure area racing northeastward from the Great Lakes to Quebec.
Temperature chart at 3pm today from Unisys
The best part of the early-season heat wave was the humidity, or rather the lack of it. Dewpoints were in the upper 30s throughout the region (37° was a very popular number at 4pm), so afternoon relative humidities were in the 20s.
With the passage of a "cold" front, temperatures will pull back from record territory tomorrow, but a very pleasant weekend is on tap for the area. The air behind the front is of Pacific origin, so 70+ temperatures are likely again before the weekend is out.
CapitalWeather.com chart from NWS data, photo © Kevin Ambrose
Tonight and Tomorrow
Tonight, temperatures will fall to lows near 50 in the city to mid 40s in the 'burbs under scattered clouds. Tomorrow should be partly cloudy in the morning with clouds increasing during the afternoon and highs in the upper 60s.