Latest heat wave could set records

Heavy rains doused the D.C. area Wednesday morning, slowing the a.m. commute and forcing about a dozen rescues. The floods come after a storm last Thursday downed trees and knocked out power to thousands.
By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Forecasts predict that Sunday's temperatures in Washington will again reach the 90s, starting a new heat wave that could run at least through the end of the month and set not one -- but two -- records.

Through Saturday, the average temperature for this month has been close to 80 degrees. Highs in the 90s through Tuesday would raise the average.

It could also make 2010 the first year in the city's recorded weather history to have three months with average temperatures of 80 or higher. Few years have had two such months.

There's also another record that could fall. Preliminary figures from the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University show 28 cities from Washington, D.C., to Caribou, Maine, set record highs for average temperature from March through August.

The records are expected to stand with the remaining days of August forecast to be hot.

Art DeGaetano of the climate center says the average temperature during spring and summer in Manhattan's Central Park is up by 5 degrees, to 67.5.

Meteorologists often consider summer to run from June 1 to Aug. 31. By this standard, this summer could be Washington's hottest since the National Weather Service records began in 1871.

Saturday fell short of starting the new spell of 90-degree temperatures by just one degree.

With an 89-degree high and two major demonstrations being held, D.C. fire and rescue personnel reported treating more than 300 people, with more than 40 taken to hospitals.

When the historic March on Washington was held Aug. 28, 1963, the high was 83.

A news account said more than 1,700 were treated, with more than 50 sent to hospitals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company