If you haven’t needed your warm, furry jacket much this winter, you’re not alone because D.C. is in record territory for warm weather this January.
Reagan National Airport, the District’s official weather reporting station, has seen an average temperature of 45.1 degrees. This ranks as the third warmest on record, behind 1950 and 1932.
The highest temperature was 69 degrees on Jan. 3, but the coldest temperature was barely below freezing at 29 degrees on both Jan. 15 and 16.
The mild Pacific pattern is responsible for the warmth. Instead of the jet stream pushing south from Alaska into the East, the string of storms that slammed California has flooded the Eastern U.S. with warm readings for most of the month.
This pattern is typical during a La Nina winter, a cooling of the equatorial Pacific that leads to global weather pattern changes. La Nina results in a variable Pacific jet stream, but it’s usually an enhanced jet stream, meaning the mild ocean air invades the U.S.
After a brief cold blast this weekend, La Nina will flex its muscle through much of the rest of February. D.C. is expected to set a few record highs going into the second and third week of the month. Snow will likely get put on the back burner, at least through the first two-thirds of February.