WASHINGTON — A major shift in the weather pattern has allowed colder-than-average temperatures to envelop the DMV for the upcoming week with highs in the 30s and lows in the teens and 20s. This will be D.C.’s coldest weather so far this winter. It also coincides with the coldest time of the year in the nation’s capital based on climatology.
Highs this week will only be in the low to mid-30s. High temperatures at or below freezing are relatively rare in the nation’s capital with the last being on December 24, 2022 (22 degrees). Not since D.C.’s high of 32 degrees on January 30, 2022, has a January daily high temperature remained at or below freezing.
The nation’s capital averaged just over four days with subfreezing January high temperatures from 2010 – 2019. There were as many as seven such days in both January 2014 and January 2018, compared to no subfreezing highs in January 2020, 2021 or 2023. D.C.’s coldest January day over the last decade was January 22, 2014, with a high/low of only 19 degrees/9 degrees. That was also the last time the nation’s capital had a high temperature in the teens.
Although temperatures this week won’t be that cold, the combination of below average temperatures and gusty winds will make this week’s cold feel more extreme. That underscores the importance of dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors to prevent cold-related health issues such as hypothermia.
Another danger when temperatures are above freezing during the day but fall below freezing at night is something known as “black ice.” When temperatures on a surface, such as a road or a sidewalk, are below freezing any rain or melted snow is at risk of freezing. Although these surfaces may look wet from a distance, they’re actually icy and very slippery – especially when approached at speed.
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