Dec 14, 2021 - News

More D.C. winter days trend toward warmer than average

Number of winter days above normal in Washington, D.C. per year
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Axios Visuals

A national heatwave could make this the warmest December on record for many places, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports, and it fits in a trend of warmer cold seasons.

🌡 Why it matters: In our region and beyond, winters are getting warmer in line with trends from human-caused climate change. It affects everything from ecosystems to hopes for a white Christmas.

  • Last winter, there were about 45 days of above-average temperatures in D.C., according to data from Climate Central.
  • That's up from 35 days of above-average temperatures during the cold season from 50 years ago.

Driving the news: We expect highs in the mid and upper 50s this week, with Thursday's forecast predicting temperatures up to 65, according to the National Weather Service.

  • The average high at this point in the year in D.C. is 47.8°F, while the average low is 29.9°F. The meteorological winter began on Dec. 1.

The national December heatwave could smash records in several cities and states.

  • Freedman wrote last week:
“In a major pattern shift, the jet stream is poised to dive south toward the western U.S., bringing much-needed rains and mountain snows to a parched California and other western states. But to the east of this jet stream dip, or trough, a potentially record strong ridge of high pressure is projected to set up over the Central U.S.”
  • That ridge will lead to temperatures running up to 20°F to 40°F above average for this time of year in some areas, the National Weather Service says.
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