Chilly? DC won’t get above 70 for a week, including Mother’s Day

If you think unseasonably it’s chilly outside, you’re not wrong: according to meteorologists, the D.C. area probably won’t climb above 70 for a week.

Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said, if the weather pattern holds, it’ll be the longest run of sub-70 days in May in at least 20 years.

May of 2003, the second coldest May since Reagan National Airport became the climate location for D.C., only had six consecutive sub-70 days in its longest stretch. The month then ended up 6 degrees colder than average. The cool pattern lasted most of the following summer.

The National Weather Service said cooler and drier air will flow because of a Northwest wind behind Thursday’s cold front.

“We are going to be cooler than average here for quite some time to come. The big question is, ‘Can we have as long of a below-average stretch this May as we did last year? Remember Mother’s Day last year was so cold? ” said Bell.

In 2020, temperatures at Dulles International Airport on Mother’s Day weekend dropped to 33 degrees both weekend days. That was part of an eight-day stretch from May 5 to May 12 where temperatures never reached above 70.

“That was the fourth longest such stretch in the month of May in weather records that we’ve had since 1870, and this one is going to be close,” Bell said.

For Friday, Bell said rain will get here no later than noon, keeping temperatures around 60. The region should stay mostly dry Saturday but rain chances are a lot higher for Sunday afternoon.

A storm moving trough the Ohio Valley will bring thickening clouds Sunday morning with rain becoming more and more likely — hopefully after Mother’s Day brunch time, Bell said.

On Mother’s Day, temperatures will barely get above 60 degrees, with a high chance of rain. Rain is likely Sunday night, and Monday will have a risk of thunderstorms as well.

“Out of the next nine days, really only Monday as a reasonable shot of getting above 70, so we may be in rarified territory,” he said.

The longest stretch for May temperatures not reaching above 70 is 12 days. It happened in 1954 and 1917.

When were the longest cool stretches with May temperatures not reaching above 70?

  • 1917 — 12 days from May 2 to May 13
  • 1954 — 12 days from May 4 to May 15
  • 1885 — 11 days from May 12 to May 22
  • 2020, 1947, 1920, 1878 and 1875 — eight-day stretches in May


Friday: Mostly cloudy, cool. Steady showers in the afternoon. Highs in upper 50s to mid 60s.

Saturday: Sun and clouds. Cool. Scattered showers possible. Highs in the upper 50s to low 60s.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy. Cool. Afternoon showers likely. Highs in upper 50s to low 60s.

Monday: Cloudy but milder conditions. Scattered showers. Highs in the mid 60s to low 70s.


Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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