On The Weather Channel’s national temperature map, no city shown is hotter than Washington, D.C. at the noon hour (eastern time).
It’s 92 degrees, the map says (Reagan National Airport – D.C.’s official observing station – is actually reporting 93).
It would appear D.C. should challenge its record high today of 97, set in 1944.
Interestingly, Dulles International Airport (near Sterling, Va.) is reporting a temperature substantially cooler of just 84 (9 degrees cooler than Reagan National). It has some work to do to achieve its record of 94 from 2007.
BWI Airport, meanwhile, reports in at 93. While Baltimore is not shown on The Weather Channel’s map, its swelter matches D.C. To best its record of 97 (from 1954) today, it will need to warm another five degrees (four degrees to tie).
As the heat index in Washington exceeds 95 degrees, the District has activated its heat emergency plan that entails the operation of cooling centers among other services to keep people safe. Link: D.C.’s 2014 Heat Emergency Plan
This is not the first time D.C. has been at the epicenter of the nation’s heat. Here are just a few previous examples we’ve documented:
Why does this happen? Occasionally, D.C. sits near the center of so-called heat domes – or sprawling areas of high pressure at high altitudes under which the air compresses and heats up. In addition, when winds blow over the mountains from a westerly direction (like today), the air further compresses via a process known as down-sloping.