Much as the fragile beauty of Washington’s cherry blossoms may symbolize the temporary quality of nature’s gifts, Friday’s reign as this year’s warmest day was also fleeting. It was only 48 hours before Sunday took the title.
On Friday, with the blooms at or near their peak and visitors thronging into the city to see them, the mercury did its part, yielding an 82-degree reading at Reagan National Airport.
That made Friday by far the warmest day of 2014. Combined with such signs of spring’s benevolence as the flowering of the trees, it seemed to be welcome reassurance that winter had finally been shown the door.
Then came Sunday, which was even warmer than Friday. The day’s high of 85 degrees at the airport made Sunday not only the warmest day of the year, but the warmest Washington day since early October.
But it appears that nature still has surprises in store, and not necessarily pleasant ones.
Peering into the possibilities presented by the days to come, National Weather Service forecasters pointed ominously toward Tuesday.
In a posted discussion of the forecast, a meteorologist deployed this phrase: “the winter that refuses to end.” This is a lament that has been on the lips of many throughout the Washington area in past weeks.
“The big story Tuesday will be the change in temperatures in the metro areas,” read the discussion.
On Tuesday morning, it was predicted, temperatures would be near 70 degrees. But by the afternoon rush, they would be “only in the 40s.”
On the slopes of the mountains on the western edge of the Washington region, there could be a brief window through which snow might fall, according to the discussion.
And a forecaster added: “I cannot even rule out a few snowflakes . . . further east.”
But that chill prospect could scarcely dim the glories of the last day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, with its highs in the 80s at all three airports in the region.
The 85 in Washington was five degrees below the all-time record for the date. The top temperature at Dulles International Airport was 83, demonstrating that the warmth was widespread and not the exclusive property of any single neighborhood or section.