In the Washington area, bright skies provide a sharp look at fall’s colors
But on Friday night, thunderstorms offered a reminder of summer
In many ways, Saturday in the Washington region was the day the previous Saturday could have been, if it hadn’t been for the gray skies, rain and the chilly temperatures. But the skies were largely blue, rather than gray, and the sun was much in evidence, and it had both the appearance and the feel of fall.
In Shenandoah National Park, the fall color update, posted Friday for the week to come, told prospective park visitors what they presumably wished to hear.
“If you’re looking for gold,” the park staff reported, “you’ll find it in Shenandoah National Park this week.”
It appeared that the forested slopes of the park have not yet reached their seasonal peak.
At higher elevations, while driving toward the center of the park, almost every color on the fall palette may be seen, it was reported, “including, still, plenty of emerald green.”
As the region headed deeper into autumn, it has been casting aside many of the characteristics of the warmer weather seasons.
On Friday night, one of summer’s weather staples made its presence known. Thunderstorms rolled into the region and then out again, but not before jagged streaks of lightning coursed across the late-evening skies in a vast release of pent-up atmospheric energy.
It poured in Rockville and in the District. At Reagan National Airport, where the official measurements are compiled, a fast four-tenths of an inch fell, most of it between 7 and 8 p.m.
When the line of storminess had passed, it seemed as though the area had entered a new season, or at least a new phase of autumn.
The high temperature Friday at National fell only a single degree short of 80. By contrast, the high temperature there on Saturday was 66, which was 13 degrees less and four degrees below normal for Saturday’s date.
In addition, federal weather forecasts for the two weeks through Oct. 24, show nothing comparable to Friday’s 79. Instead, the highest reading they predict is 74 degrees on Monday. But the majority of the predicted high temperatures are in the 60s, with 61 and 60 showing up several times.
Another statistical sign that cooler weather looms shows up in the record books. On Sunday, the record high temperature for Washington is 90 degrees, a reading made Oct. 11, 1939.
Between Sunday and the end of the year, there is no day on which the mercury has reached as high as 90.