Sep 9, 2022 - News

Meteorologist Matthew Cappucci explains D.C. humidity

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Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

👋🏾 Hi, it’s Paige, back with another installment of “Hey, I’m new here,” the series where I ask a savvy, opinionated local about a Washington folkway, ritual, or quirk.

The question: Why do Washingtonians act like D.C. is the most humid place on Earth?

Cappucci’s take: The reason we hate D.C. humidity is because it's unexpected. Looking at a map of the U.S., most of us would eyeball D.C. to be halfway between Florida and Maine. Close enough, right? So we figure the humidity should be halfway between the juicy atmosphere typical of Florida and the refreshing air mass over the Northeast.

  • That’s not the case. We get the same exact air mass here in D.C. that Florida gets since it’s being swirled north by the clockwise-spinning Bermuda eye just offshore. 

It’s not unusual for dew points — a measure of how much water is in the atmosphere — to meet or exceed that observed in Key West! 

  • During the most sultry days, every cubic meter of atmosphere contains about one and a half tablespoons of water.

Paige's thought bubble: Summer is supposed to be hot, y'all.

Send me your burning questions about Washington and they may be answered in another edition.

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