Just after 3 p.m. on Tuesday the temperature at Reagan National Airport read 90 degrees, and that made it 19 days in a row that the nation’s capital has baked in the 90s — part of a prolonged heat wave that could soon break records.
The D.C. region is no stranger to midsummer heat and sticky humidity, but the current streak of 90-degree daytime highs has gone on for long enough that some parts of the region could be eyeing new records before the week is out.
The sticky weather will move back into the region on Thursday.
The current record streak for days with 90 degrees or higher is 21 days at Reagan National Airport, the de facto weather reporting station for Washington, D.C.
That means the record would be broken on Wednesday afternoon if current trends hold true.
Storm Team4’s latest forecast has daily high temperatures in the 90s through the weekend.
WTOP meteorologist Matt Ritter said the heat wave might not even stop there.
“Looking at the large scale weather pattern across the country, it is reasonable to expect this heat wave could last 30 days,” Ritter said, with the caveat that afternoon thunderstorms the region frequently sees this time of year are capable of bringing temperatures down enough to break the streak.
But even if it might seem dazzlingly hot lately, this wave’s persistence is much more notable than the heat itself. The average high for July 14 at Reagan is 89 degrees, which means the region has stayed within a few degrees of normal despite added humidity making it seem hotter.
According to Ritter, the D.C. region hasn’t come close to shattering record highs yet, all of which are in the upper 90s to low 100s.
“Of all these days in the heat wave, only two dates in particular have been what many would consider to be very hot: July 3 and July 6, when the high temperatures were 97 and 96, respectively,” said Ritter.
“So while the number of days in this heat wave so far has been impressive, the heat itself has not been ‘brutal.’ A 90-degree day in Washington in the summer is not all that unusual in itself.”
While temperatures will be within a few degrees of normal today, humidity levels will be somewhat low by mid-July standards (both values will climb as the week progresses). Mostly sunny skies are expected. pic.twitter.com/wnJ4NU609x
— NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) July 14, 2020
Wednesday: Hazy and hot. A bit more humid. Highs in the upper 80s to low 90s.
Thursday: Hazy, hot, and humid again. Scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Highs in the low 90s.
Friday: Hot and humid. Scattered afternoon storms. Highs in the upper 80s to low 90s.