What's the Weather Like in D.C.?

What's the Weather Like in D.C.?

As my time in the nation's capital comes to a close, I feel it's appropriate to talk about something that most people use to start a conversation: the weather. Washington D.C. is a city that isn't very consistent with its weather (albeit much more consistent than my hometown of Cincinnati). Seriously, I'm not exaggerating when I say it went from 80 degrees one day to 35 degrees the next. Or when I say I've experience all four seasons in the matter of two hours.


D.C. certainly does pose a constantly-changing meteorological area for this guy from the Ohio Valley. I feel like I've experienced all of the seasons here in the District, and what better way to check the weather than to see how it is at the Washington Monument? That was always my go-to.

 

Snowfall

 

 

At my first LEAD Colloquium session, my instructor told our class, "It doesn't really snow more than once in this city, it just rains. If it snows, everyone loses their minds and they shut down the city." Funny he said that because three days later, I woke up for the first day of my internship to see a nice blanket of snow covering the ground.


Now being from the Midwest, I admit, it was only a slight dusting. However, with two roommates who are from Mexico, and a couple of friends from Florida, my first thought was how today would be the day that so many people will see snow for the first time in their life. Now that's one heck of a way to start off a semester in Washington D.C., if I do say so myself.

 

 

However, the city did actually shut down another day. Back in March, the city got a warning that a huge snow storm was on its way. The question soon became "Does that mean I'll get off work tomorrow?" For a great deal of TWC students, including myself, the answer was yes. Naturally, the best way to celebrate getting the day off was to have a snowball fight out in front of the building at 11pm that got so large that the cops got called. That was certainly not an experience I will forget in the years to come.


One thing I will say: while it did snow enough to shut down the city, it really only snowed those two days. So, for those of you from Minnesota and Canada preparing to show off your snow-trudging skills and watch a bunch of silly Southerners think it's cold, you're out of luck for the most part. You can show them how to make the perfect snowball though. And then throw it right in their face.

 

Rain and Wind Never Goes Away

 

 

True to the expectations I had after my first day in D.C., this city is incredibly windy. Over the semester, I have heard stories of multiple TWC'ers losing things from hats to ID badges because the wind blew them onto the tracks of the Metro. I myself have been the rescuer of two hats flying off the heads of random people passing me on the street.


However, to truly experience Washington's winds, you must travel to the wide-open prairie that is the National Mall. That place would burn worse than when Cleveland let the Cuyahoga River burn back in '69. And yes, you read that right, Cleveland set a RIVER, a BODY OF WATER, on fire. Anyway, the lack of trees, buildings, and objects taller than a few inches makes the Mall a very windy location. Perfect for kites, but probably not the best place for your wedding photos.


In regards to rain, the sky does its fair share of crying on the residents of the capital. Surprisingly, it seems to rain a good amount, but not very hard when it does. While there will be occasional downpours that pound the earth, it's more frequent for the rain in Washington to be more like a soft sprinkle.


One last thing that I learned is that people in Washington prefer umbrellas over raincoats. Perhaps I've always been fond of the privacy a coat gives me, and the fact that the wind of the city would make an umbrella more of a hassle than it's worth. However, I've seen many different styles of umbrellas on the rainy days in D.C., from the oversized rainbow stripes to the clear dome-like ones that completely cover your head.


Humidity and Heat

 

 

This is one I haven't experienced much of yet, but it is something most Washingtonians tell me is their least favorite part of the weather here. Apparently, summers have insanely hot days that are filled with a humidity that would allow a goldfish to survive out of its bowl for the day. I have my doubts about this. Not until I see the steam coming off the road when it turns 85-degrees after a thunderstorm will I know that this city is as humid as Cincinnati.


I do understand the misery of people in the District though. You see, everyone dresses very professionally in this city. What might be felt as "a bit muggy" to someone in a t-shirt could be like a sauna in a suit. You hear that professional people? Loosen up and maybe you won't be so hot and bothered.

 

The Perfect Day

 

 

Washington also has its fair share of absolutely gorgeous days weather-wise. I can't tell you how many days I looked out the window and said "Yeah, no. This paper that is due tonight can wait, I'm going outside today." I will also admit that I have kidnapped other people from the clutches of TWC's basement computer lab to come with me to the Mall just to get a gyro from a food truck (true story). To this day, that was the best gyro and fries I have ever had in my life and it probably will stay that way.


The one negative of nice days is that it causes the tourists to come in droves to every outdoor monument and memorial in the city. Also, side note, this picture (above) is hands-down my favorite photo of the Washington Monument out of the many that I took.


If you're planning on coming to D.C. soon, now you should have a bit of a perspective of what to expect from the weather on your visit. One other thing: the weather actually stays fairly consistent here. There's no rapid change in a matter of an hour, something I am not used to. You hear that, Cincinnatians? You don't have to bring your raincoat with you when see it's going to be nice out, it'll actually stay sunny out! Crazy, I know.


Stay Classy Washington,
Zach


Read Zach's previous blog posts

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