In the Washington region on Friday, people heard the thunder and saw the rainbows, and although it was the day of the winter solstice, they felt the warmth.

It took neither a weatherperson nor the solstice (5:23 p.m.) to let Washington know that colder days are ahead. To within journalistic and meteorological certainty, it is unlikely that Friday’s high temperature of 67 degrees (22 above normal) will be typical of coming days and weeks.

But with the solstice, the period of daylight will start to increase, even as days grow colder. It will be hard to notice for a while. The Time and Date website says Saturday will be ONE SECOND longer than Friday. But it’s a start.


As if the warm weather Friday were not enough, thunder, reminiscent of warmer days and seasons, pealed overhead.

This sign of spring and summer could not be seen or heard everywhere in the area. But in the Germantown area of Montgomery County, David Holtzman not only heard thunder, but, he said, he “saw lightning.”

Meanwhile, Friday and its warmth might have seemed just right for a visit to the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. But someone climbed part way up the tree. Even after he came down, authorities said the tree lights would stay off until damage could be assessed.

But overhead was the moon, big, bright and close to full.