(This story was updated with information on Wednesday’s high temperatures late in the afternoon.)
The powerful Arctic cold front that has set hundreds of cold records in the eastern half of the nation has made its mark on the Washington-Baltimore region.
The mercury plummeted to 19 and 22 degrees at Dulles and Baltimore on Wednesday morning, breaking and tying record lows for the date. Dulles also set a record for its coldest high temperature during the afternoon.
Throughout the Washington-Baltimore region, temperatures dipped into the upper teens to mid-20s early in the day, while wind chills sank into the teens. It was colder here than in Nuuk, Greenland, and Anchorage.
Washington’s low of 26 (measured at Reagan National Airport) was the local warm spot (four degrees above the daily record of 22 set in 1911) but still about 15 degrees colder than normal. Average lows throughout the region range from the mid-30s to low 40s at this time of year. Even in late January, Wednesday morning’s low temperatures would be several degrees colder than normal.
Last year, Washington didn’t see a temperature as low as 26 until Dec. 11.
Dulles’s low of 19 broke the previous Nov. 13 record of 21 set in 1963, while Baltimore’s low of 22 matched the record set in 1911. Weather records at Dulles date to 1963, while they go back in Baltimore (although they were obtained in downtown Baltimore before 1950 and are now observed at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport) to 1872.
On Wednesday afternoon, temperatures only rebounded into the mid-to-upper 30s. The high of 37 at Dulles was its coldest on record for the date, a degree below the previous mark of 38 from 1996. The highs of 39 and 38 in Washington and Baltimore, while about 20 degrees below normal, were several degrees above the record coldest for the date.
The Washington and Baltimore region is witnessing these abnormally cold temperatures along with dozens of other cities in the eastern United States. The responsible front has not only unleashed historically low temperatures for this time of year but also record snowfall.
Temperatures are forecast to slowly moderate Thursday and Friday, reaching 45 and 50 for highs, before plunging again over the weekend, with highs in the upper 30s to mid-40s.
Average highs in mid-November are in the mid- to upper 50s, but this month has been anything but average, with all but three days on the cold side.