There are plenty of statistics and figures, but you probably know it already: this has been an unbelievably wet and rainy September for the DMV. Which is particularly painful, since September is often the light at the end of the never ending heat and humidity tunnel that is July-August in the DMV. Weeks of overcast skies have been shown to affect human’s circadian rhythms and moods.
So how did we get here? As the Capital Weather Gang explains, “[the] major cause…is a strong, persistent high-pressure zone that has been parked over the Northeast. The clockwise flow around it has continuously funneled moisture off the Atlantic Ocean into the region.”
Just what has that zone caused? It’s a year for the record books.
In all, 20.13 inches of rain fell between June and August, the sixth-most on record and the most since 1942. And thanks to warm nights and a steady supply of 90-degree days, the summer also ranked as the ninth-hottest on record.
August, in keeping with the summer’s warm and wet theme, was 2.9 degrees warmer than normal, while rainfall was 2.29 inches above the norm. August’s average temperature of 81.0 degrees outdid July by 0.3 degrees, even though July is usually the hottest month of the summer. This August tied with 2012 and 1983 as the sixth-hottest on record. Hot and rainy is always a humid and slightly miserable combo.
Which brings us to September. A picture perfect month, instead we’ve seen a record number of gloomy, cloudy days and seemingly constant torrential rain. The final rain storms in D.C. (including the night of our Evening of Appreciation) increased Washington’s rainfall total to 49.89 inches so far this year, which ranks as third most on record. While third most doesn’t sound impressive, it’s actually the rainiest September in recent memory – since the top two spots are held by 1886 and 1889, which had received 50.43 and 50.61 inches, respectively.
To really seal the deal, Seattle and London have gained their reputations as rainy cities because of the number of cloudy, damp days they pile up. Their rain typically falls gently, compared with that in Washington. Yet this past month, Washington not only outranked Seattle in rainfall but also in the number of gloomy, overcast days. In September, Washington has seen 13 cloudy days while Seattle has notched six.