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DC Weather: Record warmth overspreads the DMV, cold front overnight

Record warmth expected Thursday. (7News)
Record warmth expected Thursday. (7News)
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There's only a week left of meteorological winter, and as of now, this winter will go down in the top five warmest on record for Washington, D.C.

This Thursday is officially the warmest so far for 2023. Reagan National Airport just hit 81 degrees at 3pm. After a southwest wind shift temperatures jumped from 68 at 2pm to 81 degrees at 3pm.

Above-average temperatures and very little snow have allowed for spring flowers to bloom early, and people to be outside more often than usual.


Temperatures on Thursday are expected to climb 30 degrees above the normal for this time of year. Thursday's forecast high of 80 will likely break the 149-year-old record set in 1874.

Seeing 80 degrees in February is rare. There have only been three previous occurrences on record, which date back to 1872.

February in 1930, 1948 and 2018 saw one day with a high temperature of 80 degrees or higher. The all-time warmest February temperature on record is 84, which occurred in 1930.

What happened to Winter? Why has it been so warm?

One reason is simply our changing climate. Winter is the fastest warming season. Since 1970, the seasonal average temperature has increased by 2.5 degrees.

The other big reason for this season's milder weather is due to La Nina. It is when the sea surface temperatures are cooler than average around the tropical pacific and as a result, the jet stream or storm track dives through the Pacific Northwest into the nation's midsection and back north into the Mid-Atlantic. We have been in a La Nina pattern since 2020, but this year the jet or storm track has been more north through Pennsylvania. As a result, we have had more milder days and rain versus snow.

Looking ahead, a strong cold front will approach from the west and slide through Friday morning. The coldest air settles in Saturday with highs only in the low 40s. First Alert Weather is on COLD ALERT Saturday. Wind chills will be in the 20s and 30s all day. A weather maker will also track south of the region and will be bringing clouds and a chance for snow flurries Saturday.

Temperatures moderate back into the upper 50s by Sunday afternoon.

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