A bright sun filled the city with golden autumn light yesterday, providing a radiance that helped raise the Thanksgiving Day temperature to a record-tying level.
The 75 degrees recorded at National Airport at 2:15 p.m. matched a record for the date set in 1940.
More warm weather is expected for today, with temperatures in the 67 to 72 degree range.The record for today's date is 74, and forecasters said that it also could be matched or exceeded.
Produced in part by the blanket of well-warmed air that has lodged for days over the nation's mid-Atlantic region, yesterday's high temperature was 21 degrees above the normal high for the date.
Described by the National Weather Service as unseasonably warm, the day appeared to encourage such not-quite-traditional Thanksgiving activities as outdoor dining, sailing, and leisurely shirt-sleeved strolling.
It was the fifth successive day of bright, clear warm weather on which temperatures have risen into the 70s. Forecasters said they expect more sunshine today, at least in the morning, with clouds possibly arriving by afternoon.
Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a chance of showers, and the possibility of rain is expected to be even greater on Sunday.
Although yesterday's temperature matched a record, at least one warmer day has been recorded even later in November. On Nov. 25, 1973, the temperature reached 79.
While sections of the West staggered under heavy burdens of snow, the pattern of slow air movement and light winds responsible for Washington's golden days helped set or matched records in other eastern and southern states.
The 70 degrees recorded yesterday in Beckley, W.Va., was five degrees above the 16-year-old record for the date. The high of 75 in Chattanooga, Tenn., tied a record, as did the 74 degree reading in Greensboro, N.C. Yesterday's high of 73 degrees in Raleigh, N.C., was two degrees above the record for Nov. 22 set 19 years ago.