Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DC: Dry, Cool

We're back. After a week at the beach, PM Update returns to a dry, cool DC.

It's a rare day less than a week before Memorial Day in Washington DC when you need a long-sleeve shirt (sweatshirt in the shade) and SPF45 sunscreen to mow the lawn. It would take heavy clouds and an east wind to set a record low high temperature, but this morning's official low of 46° was only 1° above the record minimum for the date. (The record low of 45° for the 23rd happens to be the highest record minimum for the month.)

Even near the peak for the day, temperatures this afternoon are struggling to reach the upper 60s with a few locations on the southern fringe of the region making it to 70. The NatCast temperatures have been adjusted a bit downward accordingly.

The real story of coolness so far this May is in the cooling degree numbers. Using a benchmark level of 65° average temperature as the reference point for requiring air conditioning, only 4 days this month have met the criterion, and they were all within the first week.

Meanwhile, although temperatures will moderate in the next couple of days, the dryness of this spring continues; through today, the monthly precipitation is about 25% below average. The nearest rain on this afternoon's weather map is in central Florida.

CapitalWeather.com chart from NWS data, photo © Kevin Ambrose

Tonight and Tomorrow

Clear skies and light winds tonight should allow temperatures to drop again to the 40s in most locations: near 50 in the city to low 40s in the colder 'burbs. Tomorrow earns a well-deserved CapitalWeather.com Nice Day seal of approval: a few scattered clouds and high temperatures making it back into the low 70s with low humidity.

For the remainder of the week and the holiday weekend outlook, scroll down to Jason's post from yesterday. And if you haven't already, make sure to check out our Summer Outlook in Matt's post immediately below.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.