This article has been updated with the final high temperature of the day.
September is a month known for beautiful blue skies and pleasant days. The average high in Washington on Sept. 12 is 81 degrees, squarely in our “nice day” range.
However, the high of 98 degrees today ranks it as the second hottest day of 2019, and it’s enough to set a record high for the date as well. The old record of 96 degrees was most recently set in 1931.
It’s the second record high this month, as a 96-degree reading Sept. 4 also set a record.
The 98-degree reading is tied for the second-hottest temperature so late in the year. In 1895, it hit 98 on Sept. 22 and 23. And during the scorching summer of 2010, the city hit 99 on Sept. 24.
Washington has now recorded 55 days this year with the temperature reaching or surpassing 90 degrees. This ties for the 10th-most 90-degree days on record since 1872. The city is now running nearly three weeks ahead of average, which is just 36 such days per summer. The average for 90-degree days in a year has been on a steady increase, and the next set of 30-year climate normals will probably see the average rise to about 39 such days per year.
If you’re getting sick of the 90s, there is good news. They’re historically on borrowed time.
September averages three such days, which is what we’ve now seen. The average highest temperature from here through the end of the warm season is 89 degrees, although a long-term average also suggests that we could pick up about one more day of 90s.
Since 2000, four years have had their last 90-degree days in October, including 2018, when Oct. 4 hit that mark. The latest 90-degree reading on record came in 1919, on Oct. 11.
Although the long range continues to argue for warmth winning out, average high temperatures fall from near 80 degrees in the middle of this month to the mid-70s by the end of the month.
Even with a warm pattern expected to continue, getting a day to be 15 or 20 degrees above normal is not a simple task. So if you’re tired of sweating, the odds are good that time is almost up.