I live in Washington, D.C., where it’s currently summer in February. All three regional airports have broken temperature records today, with DCA’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit being the earliest 80-degree day for the calendar year in recorded history.
You can’t beat the heat by heading north, either. Record highs occurred across the New York City area earlier today—even before the hottest time of day—with Central Park setting an all-time record high for the month at 76 degrees Fahrenheit (also a record high for December and January). The average high temperature for the day historically: 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
People are walking around in shorts, and not just those really intense people who like shorts for all seasons.
Those who had planned to escape the cold with a trip to a winter destination like Florida are only a few degrees warmer right now, although Orlando also approached a record high, hitting 86 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday. Tampa Bay hit a record high on Tuesday, with forecasters predicting records could keep falling all week.
A historically strong high pressure heat dome off the Southeast coast is driving the phenomenon.
January 2018 was the fifth warmest January on record globally—with the only warmer Januaries being 2016, 2017, 2007, and 2015—and even though six more weeks of winter were predicted on Groundhog’s Day just a couple weeks ago, well, we forgive you for being confused, groundhog. It’s been a whiplash kind of season. Elsewhere in the country, Denver’s temperature dropped 72 degrees in 40 hours this week. San Francisco started the month with record highs, only to plummet to record lows earlier this week.
At the end of 2017, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory was experiencing some of the most extreme cold weather on the planet. Now, it’s breaking high temperature records multiple days in a row.
The warm breezes and stifling humidity slow everything down, and it feels a bit like walking through the eye of a storm. Our bodies have been transported three months into the future, but our minds are stuck in February. It feels good, but also confusing. And it reeks of climate change.
Starting Thursday, clouds should reappear, temperatures should drop, and we can settle back into the late winter blues with the knowledge that the warmth is coming, whether we like it or not.