D.C. weather: a month-by-month breakdown

“A camel would be out of place in most major Western cities. Not so on the National Mall’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where temperatures last year reached 100 degrees.” (Photo: Associated Press)


This story originally stated that a woman remarking about the area's cold weather was from Montana; she was from North Dakota.



Savor this run of weather: Temperatures in the low- to mid-70s plus plenty of sunshine. You can't even hear the humidity coming at this point. 

One of the reasons that weatherpeople are so busy in the D.C. region is that all things climatological can change really fast. One moment you have clear skies, and the next a tornado warning comes crackling over the Internet. Huge temperature swings are legendary. We do wintry mixes as well as anyone.

Amid all the tumult, May has got to be among the most reliable producers of glorious days this side of Palo Alto or Costa Rica's meseta central. Reliable enough, in fact, that you're crazy not to plan by it. A moron is a Washington-area resident who plans an out-of-town vacation in the heart of May. Anywhere you go is a step down: Go south, and you may hit some serious heat; go far enough north, and you face potential frosts and black flies; go east, and you're in Ocean City; go west, and reckon with flooded plains.

Stay here, and look what you get: According to closely guarded weather history records, the average high temperature for May 1 is 71 degrees. The average high temperature for May 31 is 80 degrees. Temperate, pleasant weather every day. 

May Weather Power Rating (scale of 1-5): 4.75

Chanting about May weather wouldn't feel so urgent if it were like this year-round. But it isn't. That's why we've produced this month-by-month dissection of Washington-area weather. Drawing on statistics as well as decades of personal climatic experience, it is a definitive rundown of the region's weather patterns and idiosyncrasies. A product this complete and correct has never been produced; feel free to agree with its commentary in the comments. Here we go. 

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