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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 08/11/2010

More heat records in reach today

By Jason Samenow

* A sizzler, then simmering: Full Forecast | NatCast | Russia roasts *

Our fine local National Weather Service Office in Sterling, Va. reports the following in its morning forecast discussion:

Two more daily climate records around the area may be broken today. First...the daily record highest minimum temperature for Aug 11 at DCA [Reagan National] is 78 in 1988. The min temp earlier this morning only fell to 80. Therefore, if the temp does not drop below the 1988 reading by midnight EST...then the highest min temp record will be broken today. Also...the daily record high temperature at IAD (Dulles Airport) for Aug 11 is 96f in 1980. The forecast high temp for today at IAD is 97.

If DCA sets the record high minimum temperature record today, it will be the sixth such daily record in 2010. The other record high mins set in 2010 are: 76 on June 21, 78 on June 24, 80 on July 7 and 8, and 81 on July 24.

If IAD sets a record high today, it will be the 6th such occurrence in 2010 (including two ties). The other record highs set in 2010 are: 89 on June 3 (tie), 97 on June 24, 101 on July 7 (tie), 99 on July 24, and 98 on July 25.

By Jason Samenow  | August 11, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Extreme Heat, Local Climate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Another sizzler, then down to simmer
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If the 80 at DCA holds it will be the first time in recorded history we have seen 4 days in one year with lows 80+ at DC.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

With a toasty 80 degree start, we should see about 23 more cooling degree days today (high humidity and possible clouds could hold max temps down a bit).

Since Dulles has already surpassed its annual cooling degree average for an entire year, I'm hoping Ian will do a "cooling degree days" feature.

"Thinking cool" is one way to cope with this heat.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 11, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Camden for the explanation last night about how tied records are handled. Personally, I don't like that methodology. It seems like a record should stand until it is actually broken, not tied.

I guess we are stuck with whole number temperatures because that's how the old ones were measured? Nowadays, a new 97.5F day could take over a record from a 98.4 day due to rounding counting it as a tie?

Posted by: spgass1 | August 11, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@Spgass, some of the OCMs do mention when a "record" is set in multiple years. But I agree the "record" should be the first occurence.

I'm confused about Moscow's record highs last week. It was reported as 99.86. Then CNN reported a new record of 102.

Withal, I'd rather be in shady D.C. than in Red Hot Square.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 11, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Jerry, I don't have cooling degree data unfortunately. Maybe it's possible to create it from the raw data but I'd have to look into that.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This website is really slow, almost painfully so. The whole WashPost site is slow, but loading the CWG pages is a long, long wait.

Posted by: ennepe68 | August 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

What's the record for the highest low ever (in DC, that is). Also, are there records for dew points? I swear my Weather Bug feature reported 78 at some point the other week (you know the one---the one with all the heat and humidity? Yeah, that one. Hrumph).

Either way, if Weather Bug was right--that's got to be close to some sort of record, right? The US only hits the 80s of dew points in places like New Orleans, or so I've heard.

And finally--can we just declare this to be the Worst Summer Ever? Because, seriously, I can't imagine it being much worse. Oh, and I might get shot for saying this in a few months, but I kind of feel like we're owed some nice big blizzards after this. Bring on the snow!

Posted by: freckleface | August 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Are airport temperature readings over the years ever adjusted for changes in airport traffic (more hot engines) and/or changes in terminals, runways, tarmac area, etc. (more pavement = more heat island)?

Posted by: csmwapo | August 11, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Is there a record for the most heat records broken in a year? If so, I'd imagine we would be solidly in the running for it this year.

Posted by: Zelmel | August 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ian, no rush re: cooling degree days. There is 30-year-average data. Definitely 1980 (2,006) was the highest total in the 30 years leading up to CY2000.

I haven't been able to determine when the NWS began using cooling degree day (or HDD) data. For weather "bugs" it's one of those topics that fascinate, esp. in periods of weather extremes.

@Freckleface, we'll know in 21 days whether this has been the worst meteorological summer ever so far hereabouts and I'd imagine CWG will let us know if and when. It certainly is one of the worst I've experienced, dating back to 1965, and the first time I've had to use an asthma inhaler, something I hope none of the rest of you are dealing with. The steriods are awful!

Finally, I was very hard on the NWS for what I still think was a tardy forecast of those awful Sunday storms of a few weeks ago. But the NWS did an efficient, timely job of forecasting last week's storms and in doing so, helped many of people, including power companies, who were much better prepared to handle last Thursday's storm. Good job!!

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | August 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse


No -- the airport temps are not adjusted for weather records-- though they may be for climate trend analysis.


Good question re: dew points. We'll check with our NWS climate contact and report back. Wouldn't be surprised if it's touched 80 or so around here, but need to confirm.


At the end of the summer, we're going to compile a list of all the heat records and post them. No doubt it will be a very long list.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

spgass1 - no problem!

ennepe68 - the cwg site is very slow for me too. I have been vocal about it-- because it even prevents me from answering your comments! I hope the Post helps us streamline before long. We just have a lot on this site that has to load. Thanks for your patience!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The highest low ever was 84 on 7/16/1983. The hourly data from 7/15/1995 shows a dew point of 80. I would think that's about our max and probably quite rare.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Correction to the post above, that daily data was for Baltimore. At DCA it shows a dew point of 82 on the same day.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | August 11, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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