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Record-breaking warmth across the D.C. area, and broader eastern U.S.

4:25 p.m. update: Today’s official local highs and lows are in. Reagan National hit 72 (record) off a low of 51 (record tie). Dulles reached 70 (record), with a morning low of 51 (record). BWI reached 71 (record) after starting at 54 (record) this morning.

Map of unofficial temperature records in the U.S. as of 2 p.m. December 21. (

From 3:10 p.m.: Temperature records have been smashed by today’s winter-welcoming heat wave, both in the local region as well as many places to our north and south.

Temperature Map

Temperatures: Latest D.C. area temperature map. See interactive map on our Weather Wall.

With readings still hovering around 70 late this afternoon, highs have reached at least 71 degrees in D.C., beating the old record of 68 set back in 1923.

Dulles shattered the old record of 61 set just two years ago, with a high of at least 70. BWI also destroyed its 2011 record for the date of 62, with a high of at least 70.

The apparent minimum of 51 at D.C. this morning should also tie a record for warmest ever low on the date. Dulles and Baltimore are also set to best their prior warm low records for today.

The D.C. area is just one of the many places witnessing incredible December warmth. Unusual heat stretches from the Gulf Coast up into New England.





For the D.C. area, this is about “peak warmth” at this time of year, as noted by Capital Climate:


If you didn’t get enough of today’s record warmth, there’s more ahead tonight and tomorrow. Have a look at the short-term modeling for lows overnight and highs tomorrow. Note: these maps seem a little warm overall, but not impossible.

Simulated overnight temperatures from the hi resolution NAM. (

Simulated daytime highs Sunday from the hi resolution NAM. (

And here are the numbers we’re looking to reach to surpass record high minimums and maximums for Sunday: DCA, 49/72; IAD, 49/67; BWI, 48/7. A record warmest December low of 59 may also be in play tonight in D.C.  See the forecast details from this morning.

Ian Livingston is a forecaster/photographer and information lead for the Capital Weather Gang. By day, Ian is a defense and national security researcher at a D.C. think tank.
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42° /53°
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Ian Livingston · December 21, 2013

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