D.C.’s summer weather has been near normal, and that’s nice

Sprinklers in the District of Columbia on August 18, 2013 (Ian Livingston)

Sprinklers in the District of Columbia on August 18, 2013 (Ian Livingston via Flickr)

Summer – by the meteorological definition – ends Saturday and, rather than rejoicing, many Washingtonians may actually shed a tear.

The current summer has been a breath of fresh air compared to the previous three (the three hottest on record), and, generally speaking, pretty pleasant.

Consider a few facts:

* We’ve had fewer than average 90+ days.  In a “normal” June through August period we have 31. This year we’ve had just 22.  If we add on spring, our 90+ count increases to a mere 26 (compared to the annual average of 36). By comparison, all three of the previous years had at least 50 90+ days. Of course, we still have September to go, which averages three 90+ days, but September promises to get off to a cooler than average start.

Related: 90 degree days in Washington, D.C.: Yearly, seasonal and monthly averages and extremes

* We’ve had just five days at 95 or higher – all of those in July.  Consider last summer we had a record-tying 28 95+ days.

* We’ve had zero days at 100 or higher.  Last summer we had 8.

* Whereas in 2012 we had the derecho, in 2011 we had Hurricane Irene, and in 2010 three violent thunderstorm episodes, 2013 has delivered little in the way of disruptive thunderstorm and tropical storm activity.  Although we had the derecho scare this year on June 13, thunderstorm damage was localized and it’s debatable as to whether that event should be considered a major severe weather outbreak.

* Rainfall, overall, was above average keeping gardeners happy. Although August has been dry, June and July were wet and it has remained pretty green.

Critics of this summer will point out July ranked 5th most humid on record (dating back to 1937), not to mention the oppressive  138 hour-streak when the temperature failed to drop below 80 between July 15 and 21.  On the other hand, July was only slightly warmer than normal overall.  And August, while perhaps a little dry for some, has been nearly flawless.

As refreshing as this summer has seemed compared to the last few, believe it or not – it still promises to finish a tad warmer than average overall, by about half a degree.  But this warmer than average outcome still makes 2013 the “coolest” summer since 2004.

So if this summer seems like it’s been pretty nice, but it’s actually slightly warmer than normal, in my mind that challenges the conventional view the typical D.C. summer is so miserable. If this summer is close to typical, I’d take it every year and run!

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