Goodbye summer: Autumn weather has taken hold in the D.C. area

After starting off the hottest weather of the year in September and then a steamy second week, a cold front yesterday put a real crispness in the air.

Soon, t-shirts will be replaced by sweaters, and it will be fall foliage season again.

Since we no longer expect long periods of hot weather, we are declaring the end of summer today.

Through the weekend at least, temperatures should be cooler than normal with highs in the high 80s and lows mostly in the 50s. We’ll likely see some warmer than normal conditions return next week, but the weather won’t be more sustainable at 90 degrees.

The odds of a heat wave — or at least three straight days of 90-degree weather — are very low, noted Matt Rogers, long-range forecasting specialist at the Capital Weather Gang.

Temperatures over the next 10 days are expected to be close to average, meaning highs near 80 degrees and lows near 60 degrees.

Despite the summer flag being waved, there are still plenty of warm days ahead. The last 80 degree day for the area comes on October 17 on average. Although our last 90-degree day is often in the rearview mirror at this point, it happened as late as October 11, when it hit 90 degrees in 1919. More recently, it hit 94 degrees On October 9, 2007.

Declaring the end of summer for 2023 this year is early since we started doing so about a decade ago. Some years, we’ve delayed until mid-October.

Our statement comes after a relatively tolerable summer with a few bouts of extreme heat — most notably those early this month. Otherwise, Canadian cold fronts have been frequent.

June through August was the region’s first cooler than normal period since 2017. Since May, we’ve seen just 32 days at or above 90, the fewest since 24 in 2014. Typically, we see about 40 days. 90 degree days

The 99-degree high was on the nose for high-temperature forecasts, keeping it alive for seven years — among the top 5 hottest temperatures on record — without hitting 100 degrees.

The happy conditions of fall are just beginning.

In the coming weeks, the area will move through the “sweet day season,” when pleasant temperatures, low humidity and sunshine are the norm. The first frost of autumn can reach cooler parts of the region in October, before it typically reaches urban areas in November. The first snowflakes may be months away, but this time of year it’s not.

Our announcement of the end of summer comes 3.5 months after we announced the end of the spring semester on May 31. Many of our summers in recent years have lasted nearly four months, so the season has been shortened a bit this year.

Jason Samino contributed to this report.

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