Cold weather on Po­tomac gives ac­tivists right plat­form

The Washington Post Sunday - - WEATHER - BY MARTIN WEIL weilm@wash­

Dozens of peo­ple who took a dip in the Po­tomac River on Satur­day to spot­light global warm­ing and sup­port win­ter cold seemed to be hav­ing things their way in tem­per­a­ture terms, at least for a day.

Satur­day’s low tem­per­a­ture in Washington was the low­est in more than 11 months. The day’s av­er­age tem­per­a­ture at Rea­gan Na­tional Air­port was also the low­est in more than 11 months. It was a de­ci­sively cold win­ter day.

As of Satur­day evening, the high at the air­port was 28 de­grees, at 3:37 p.m. The low was 17 de­grees at 7:36 a.m.

The 17-de­gree read­ing was the low­est at the air­port since Feb. 7.

A few hours af­ter the mer­cury fell to 17 on Satur­day morn­ing, the Ch­e­sa­peake Cli­mate Ac­tion Net­work was con­duct­ing a “po­lar bear plunge.”

This was an im­mer­sion in the Po­tomac, in swim gear, at the Na­tional Har­bor devel­op­ment in Prince Ge­orge’s County.

Spon­sors billed the plunge as an ef­fort in­tended to call at­ten­tion to cli­mate change. One of the event’s slo­gans was “Keep Win­ter Cold!”

Na­ture has suc­ceeded fairly well this win­ter in liv­ing up to the ac­tivists’ slo­gan.

As com­puted by the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice, the av­er­age tem­per­a­ture this month un­til Satur­day was 34.7 de­grees, just a tri­fle be­low nor­mal. The av­er­age for Satur­day was 23 de­grees, 12 de­grees be­low nor­mal. That will re­duce the av­er­age for the month.

De­cem­ber’s av­er­age tem­per­a­ture was 34.6 de­grees, about the same as for Jan­uary. But it made for a par­tic­u­larly cold De­cem­ber, which was 4.9 de­grees be­low the av­er­age for the month in Washington.

“ The area is re­ally pay­ing its cold weather dues,” read one com­ment on The Washington Post’s Cap­i­tal Weather Gang blog.

“Formeit wasn’t that bad,” said en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist Greg Drury. “Ev­ery­body else was freak­ing out.”

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