The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

On first full day after equinox, summer seemed gone

On the first full day of fall in Washington DC, the weather seemed suited to the occasion.
On the first full day of fall in Washington DC, the weather seemed suited to the occasion. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Call it coincidence, but Friday, Washington’s first full day since the autumn equinox, was a superbly autumnal sort of day.

Consultation with the thermometer scarcely seemed needed to pronounce Friday almost fully autumnal in so many ways, including its invigorating coolness.

But Friday’s 70-degree official high temperature ratified the readings of our internal gauges.

Summer did not seem to inflict its worst on us this year. But even at its best summer could not be asked to provide a day so capable of elevating our mood as Friday.

So seldom does the occurrence of one of the seasonal landmarks, the equinoxes or the solstices, seem to suggest that nature had thrown a meteorological switch.

Before Friday, only one day all month had a high in the 70s. That was the 7th, with 79. On Thursday the mercury reached 83.

Then came the equinox at a few minutes after 9 p.m., and on Friday we awoke to a day such as we had not seen all summer, a day that seemed to summon the most sluggish to action and activity.

In breezy conditions that flooded us with air of atypical freshness, humidity seemed to be consigned to history, not to Friday.

The equinox separates our six months when sunlight predominates from the six when darkness prevails. In almost every day this month before the equinox, we could detect the signs of summer.

But Friday, the first full day after the equinox, was different. The 70-degree high was cooler than any day since May 8, with its 58. The 56-degree morning low was coolest since May 11.

It seemed obvious that summer was gone.