Weather in Washington DC: What to Expect April 7, 2019
Every visitor wants to know: what to expect of the weather in Washington, DC. We have four seasons but only a few perfect days sprinkled about throughout the year. In the summer it is hot and humid. In the winter, it is cold and sometimes it even snows. Fall and spring tend to have the most pleasant weather in Washington, DC.
One way to quantify the weather in Washington, DC is using the “daily digit” which is published by the meteorologists in the Washington Post. Every day of the year they publish a score on a 0 to 10 scale rating how nice the weather in Washington, DC is that day. It is a somewhat subjective way of quantifying the weather but we think their scores are pretty accurate.
An analysis of the daily digit found an average score of 6.02. This means that on a completely typical day the weather in Washington, DC is neither great nor terrible. The months with the highest average daily digit are April, May, September and October . The months with the lowest digits are in December, January and July.
If you’re visiting DC during June, July and August, come prepared for heat and high humidity. The humidity is a really big deal, especially if you’re coming from a climate where you don’t have it. For example, a forecast might show a high of 85 degrees, which doesn’t seem so bad. However, when you get to DC the humidity might feel like the mid to high 90s.
In the summer, sunscreen and water are a must. Bring a good water bottle with you, something that you can refill throughout the day. You also want to pack a small umbrella, even if your favorite weather app only predicts a small chance of rain. There is a always chance of evening thunderstorms in summer.
The thing about winters in DC is that yeah they are cold but they are not bitterly cold. That said, we do occasionally get a big extended cold snap. In 2018 it was so cold for so many days in a row that the Potomac and Anacostia rivers both froze over. So, if you come during the winter pack a coat hat and gloves and plan for some indoor activities. However, don’t think that outdoor activities are completely out of the question.
Every spring, there are some beautiful days. But, it can also be unpredictable, especially the month of March. March can sometimes swing from beautiful and spring-like to cold and winter-like in a matter of hours. May tends to have the most consistently spring-like weather.
Cherry blossom bloom is heavily dependent on the weather. Colder weather in Washington, DC during February and early March means a later bloom. Warmer weather during those periods means an earlier bloom. The Washington, DC cherry blossoms are notoriously difficult to time.
If you can swing a fall trip, the weather in Washington, DC is still warm, but the humidity is starting to wind down. This makes fall a lot more pleasant than the summer months. One thing to keep in mind is that Washington DC is not a beach town but we’re only about a hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean so a hurricane or a tropical storm near the coast is always a possibility here.
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