Is it too early for 70-degree readings in February?

The big jump in tree pollen in the last week was the first sign of early spring, and a week later, D.C. is preparing for its first 70-degree winter day. How common is this early season warmth?

The short answer — not uncommon whatsoever. The first high temperature at 70 degrees last year was on Feb. 17, but then later in the month reached 77 degrees on Feb. 23.

Just five years ago, D.C. hit 82 degrees on Feb. 21! As a matter of fact, February’s hottest recorded temperature occurred in 1930 with a high of 84 degrees.

D.C.’s top 20 warmest February temperatures and corresponding years of occurrence (Courtesy of NOAA’s Regional Climate Center).

D.C.’s first day at or above 70 degrees is typically on Feb. 19, so Mother Nature is right on cue this year. The latest arrival of the first 70-degree day was April 15, 1993. Long-time residents of the D.C. region remember this spring very well; the Superstorm of the Century brought snow in mid-March. Reagan National measured 6.6 inches of snow on March 12-13, 1993.

Allergy sufferers can attest to an early spring start this year. The National Phenology Network confirms the arrival of the first spring leaf bloom is 3 to 4 weeks early for the Chesapeake Bay region.

The National Phenology Network’s Twitter post showcasing the early spring blooms ahead of schedule from the Southeast to the Chesapeake Bay region. (Courtesy of The USA National Phenology Network Twitter account)

The tree pollen will continue to increase this week with highs reaching the 70s on Wednesday. This will be followed by rain and a transient blast of more seasonable readings to conclude the week.

Stay with WTOP for the latest weather forecast on the 8’s.

Chad Merrill

Chad Merrill is a meteorologist and digital weather content producer for WTOP. Prior to joining WTOP, Chad was a meteorologist in the private industry and television. He loves to share his passion with listeners and readers and is eager to hear from anyone who has any weather questions!

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