Jun 6, 2024 - Climate

Bad news: It's probably only getting hotter in D.C.

Illustration of a warning sign melting.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

D.C., prepare to be sweaty — our unusually hot summer is just ramping up.

Why it matters: Sure, D.C. summers are hot and swampy, but this one seems extra sticky: Expect long periods of 90-degree days and some "brutal, sauna-like conditions," the Capital Weather Gang predicts.

Other predictions: The average temperature from June through August is forecast to be about one degree above the 1991-2020 average.

  • There are 40 predicted 90-degree days for June, July, and August, compared to the average of 34.
  • The longest 90-degree day streak this summer: Eight to 10 days.
  • The number of 100-degree days: One or two.

Context: These predictions are on the heels of D.C. just seeing one of its warmest winters and springs on record.

  • May marked D.C.'s sixth warmer-than-normal month in a row, says Capital Weather Gang.

Zoom in: Summers have been getting hotter due to human-caused climate change and sprawl.

  • D.C. now has 16 more summer days above the long-term average than it did in 1970, and 10 more days above 90°F during the same period, based on data crunched by Climate Central.

Threat level: Extreme heat is a major public health threat and plays a role in droughts and wildfires.

The big picture: The ways climate change is altering the character of American summers increasingly stands out, and is one reason to take note given the hotter-than-average outlook nationwide.

  • Also likely: An extremely active hurricane season, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting 17–25 named storms of tropical storm intensity or greater, eight to 13 of which will become hurricanes, and four to seven major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.

Bright spot: Luckily, there are lots of ways you can beat the heat — local public pools and splash parks are officially open for the summer, and you can cool off on the water via kayaks, tiki cruises, or picnic boats.

  • Also helpful: Waterfront bars, like this new one in Alexandria serving pizza and slushies.

Reality check: While this summer should be warmer than last year's, it likely won't be as hot as those from 2010 to 2012, aka the three hottest on record.

  • But, with weather, it's always possible things could change: "This kind of forecasting is experimental, and errors are possible," says the Capital Weather Gang.
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