Sculpture Garden on a summer day. May 28. (gypsybug via Flickr)

Cool, rainy weather beat spring down, and now it’s gone.

Usually spring eases the transition from winter’s brutal cold to summer’s unforgiving heat. But this year, it was prematurely suppressed by a long spell of gloom in its prime. Then, as soon as it was over, summer burst onto the scene, and now there’s no turning back.

Spring effectively ended May 23 when the rains left town. In response, temperatures surged, and every day since has reached at least 80.

We define the start of summer in D.C. as the point at which we no longer see potential for two or more straight days with highs below 70 degrees and the forecast calls for the majority of days to reach at least 80 in the weeks to come.

We’re there.

In 2015, the end of spring and start of summer came around May 8, more than two weeks earlier than this year.

This spring may have been long but because of its lack of sustained dry, mild weather can only be considered a disappointment.

Sure, it arrived early with considerable promise. Remember those 80-degree days to start March and the cherry blossoms that bloomed a week early?


Cherry blossoms, March 26. (Kevin Wolf via Flickr)

But then April brought quite the chill in its opening stanza, with multiple freezing nights and even some wet snowflakes.

Spring’s best moments probably came in April’s second half, which featured a blissful 10-day stretch with mostly dry conditions and highs averaging in the 70s.

However, spring’s closing phase, from April 27 to May 23, was a huge letdown. It started with a record 15 straight days with measurable rain. By the time it was over, at least a trace of rain had fallen on 23 of those 27 days. The span included eight days with highs only in the 50s and not a single day in the 80s.


Rain on April 30. (Kevin Wolf via Flickr)

Summer’s arrival on May 24 was as abrupt as it gets, like a switch was hit. In the week prior (May 17 to 23), the average high was a lowly 67 degrees. But then it spiked to 85 degrees (May 24 to 30), and humidity ramped up.

We see no real signs of sustained springlike weather in the next couple of weeks. Yes, the pattern will change to a somewhat cooler one for a time next week. We may have a couple of those magnificent sunny days in the 70s that we missed in May. But the majority of days should still be near or above 80 degrees.


European-model temperature forecasts for next 15 days (WeatherBell.com)

For some, the arrival of warm weather was surely appreciated, timed perfectly to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

Pools are warming up, and you can finally attend happy hour without a coat.

We may as well now enjoy the warmth. We’re stuck with it.

Read more:

June outlook: Summer arrives, and it’s going to start off a little hotter than normal

D.C. summer outlook 2016: Hotter than normal, with heat intensifying each month

Cutting-edge research suggests below-normal risk of ‘hot days’ through mid-July

Yearning for the summer sun? These outlooks predict it will be a scorcher in D.C.