Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official. D.C. hit a (fairly undesired) weather record recently – the 50th day this year to reach 90 degrees or higher, which is 14 days more than the annual average of 36 days. Many of our 90-degree days this summer were hot but not exceptionally hot, only hitting the lower end of the 90s. But the string of days topping 95 degrees this late in August has pushed the city’s count of days hitting at least 95 degrees to 11. That is right around the current average of 12 95-degree days per year.
So why does August seem hotter? Capital Weather Gang thinks it comes from weariness. By the time August rolls around, we’ve just lived through July: hot, humid, July. By mid-August, most people (and trees!) are tired of the heat.
Plant stress tends to increase as the summer progresses, and by August, many plants that haven’t been well watered are showing the strain. Even though this year gave us one of the most extreme downpours the city has ever witnessed unleashed 3.3 inches of rain in a single hour. Alas, that deluge is not enough for the District’s trees – especially young ones that are particularly vulnerable to heat. Trees out in the open sun exposed to hot and windy conditions can become water-deprived in just a few days.
What’s a concerned citizen to do? Grab a hose, bucket or jug and lend a hand where you can. Our Weekly Watering Alerts (which you can sign up for by completing our 25 to Stay Alive” Watering Pledge) will let you know if you should water your young trees (in the ground for three years or less) that week.
Thankfully, the worst of D.C.’s summer heat is almost behind us.
But as the Washington Post warns, “The combination of global warming caused by human activities and local warming caused by the increasing footprint of the urban heat island promise ever hotter and longer summers in the area over the coming years. Brace yourselves.”