After we hit 70 and 80 just over a week ago, many thought we had turned the corner and spring was here to stay. Now, all I hear is complaints about how cold it is. How cold has it been relative to average?
Over the last five days we’ve had temperature departures of -8, -8, -10, -11, and -11 (March 23-28) at Reagan National Airport (DCA). Interestingly, prior to this cold snap, March was running about 2 degrees above average. Now the March temperature departure is just 0.1 degree above average. Given cold temperatures forecast through Thursday, the month is almost certain to end up in negative territory relative to average for the third time in the last four months.
Interestingly, prior to today, DCA had recorded four consecutive freezes (quite a feat considering we had none the entire month of March last year). Today, it appears it just missed, only dipping to 34. Yesterday commenter JerryFloyd1 asked what the record was for the most consecutive days with lows at or below freezing during astronomical spring. I asked CWG’s Ian Livingston to look it up in his climate database and this is what he found:
*Since 1942 (since the station has been located at Reagan National), there have been six instances of at least four consecutive days with lows at or below 32, the most recent in 2001. The longest streak was five days in 1971.
*Prior to 1942 (when the station was located in the District), there were many more instances of at least 4 or 5 day stretches at or below 32. In fact, there were five stretches with at least six days and, in 1887, seven straight days with freezing minimum temperatures from March 27 to April 2.