Houston and Washington are battling in the World Series. But the cities can battle about weather, too. Here’s why D.C.'s weather is terrible, according to Eric Berger and Matt Lanza, who run Houston’s outstanding weather website Space City Weather. For Capital Weather Gang’s perspective on why Houston’s weather is awful, written by Jason Samenow, see: Hey Houston: Your weather is horrible and Washington’s got you beat.
Look, we understand that Houston resides within the tropics, with sultry summer days and nights. And our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico leaves the region vulnerable to hurricanes. But whereas Houston has steamy summers, we have delightful winters down here.
By contrast, the year-round weather in Washington — much like the Nationals’ bullpen — sort of stinks.
Let’s start with your summers.
June might seem like a nice month, if you like 90-mph winds, baseball-size hail and hellstorms that rage across 700 miles like the 2012 derecho.
Then there is the heat. High temperatures in July and August often soar well into the 90s up your way. And while this isn’t quite Houston hot, the humidity is not far behind. But don’t take our word for it; the Capital Weather Gang recently characterized summers in the District as “unbearable,” “punishing” and “oppressive.” We must, respectfully, agree. (Incidentally, this is also how the Nationals will characterize the Astros’ pitching staff in a few days.)
One of the most memorable hurricanes to strike the nation’s capital came in 1954, when Hurricane Hazel brought wind gusts of 100 mph to the region. Remarkably, as the storm approached Washington, the center accelerated to 60 mph. We can empathize. Our first inclination in approaching the nation’s capital is also to move as fast as possible, minimizing our exposure to hot air.
Your region also faces the threat of storm surge, as a 1933 hurricane demonstrated by pushing water levels 10 feet above tide levels along the Potomac. D.C.’s biggest hurricane threats tend to come in September and October, so good luck with summer and even early fall in the capital. Begin with derechos, enjoy “punishing” heat in the middle and finish with a tropical threat. Bless your hearts.
By the time October rolls around in Houston, we’re generally beginning to enjoy extended stretches of 70- and 80-degree days, with periodic bouts of low humidity and cool nights. We can wear sweaters if we want to — but most days, we don’t have to. This is not the case for Washington, of course.
Where to begin?
There was the Snowpocalypse of December 2009, when 20 inches of snow fell. Less than three months later, Snowmageddon dropped another 18 inches on the district. Then, just a few days later, came Snoverkill. (Y’all got some weird storm names, by the way.) And you can’t even measure snow properly? I mean, come on.
At the same time, the District seems incapable of handling snow. A few years ago, a single, solitary inch of the white stuff brought the region to a standstill. And when it’s not snowing in Washington, you complain about it not snowing, to the point that there was even a hashtag.
You’ve also got this thing called a “wedge,” where cold air can get trapped when it’s supposed to warm up. The only wedges we have in Houston are the lime wedges in our margaritas. And to top it off, besides snow, one can also find a mix of sleet, freezing rain or just plain cold rain pelting down from the sky during the winter months. No, gracias.
We’re sure Washington has its charms when it comes to meteorology. We’ve heard the cherry blossoms are nice when it’s not storming in springtime. But the problem with spring in Washington next year is it will mean spring training. And next year, that will entail painful memories of José Altuve, Gerrit Cole and the boys putting the Nationals in their place.