Here’s one more thing Pope Francis can note in his sermon when he celebrates Mass in Washington on September 28: By then, if current weather patterns hold up, the climate-change-fighting pontiff can point out that DC might be busting through its record for most days in which the temperature tops 90 degrees.
Today is the 18th day so far this year in which the mercury has passed 90 degrees at Washington Reagan National Airport. As of the composition of this sentence, it is 94 degrees, with a heat index that makes the air feel one degree warmer.
By comparison, Washington had 24 days at 90 degrees or higher in all of 2014, according to historical weather data. Although last year was cooler than average for the eastern United States, it still went down as the hottest year on record since the federal government first started tracking weather in 1880.
Last month, with seven days at or above 90 degrees, and an average temperature of 73.2 degrees, was the hottest May in Washington on record, and a record-hot June could be within grasp. (The average temperature for the month is 73.9 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.) Forecasts for Tuesday project temperatures reaching the high 90s, if not a full 100 degrees, with brutal humidity to match.
The hottest year in Washington’s recorded-weather history was 2010, when thermometers hit 90 degrees 67 times. This year is on pace to beat that mark: through June 22 of 2010, DC had only recorded 16 days above 90.