Brighter — and perhaps warmer — days ahead
On Saturday, which was the 77th day of 2017, it was possible to sense that winter, as we had known it this year, was on the verge of ceding the city to spring.
Saturday was Washington’s first warmer-than-normal day in a week. The high temperature of 59 degrees was warmer than any day in Washington since March 10, when it was 60.
Saturday was a marked departure from last week, which could, with little exaggeration, be called harsh. On Thursday, for example, Washington was provided with a vivid example of winter’s potential to be unpleasant.
At Reagan National Airport on Thursday, the mercury could climb no higher than 33 degrees, just one above freezing.
Meanwhile, winds reached 35 mph at National, with at least one gust of 47. Snow and ice that had fallen earlier in the week remained on the streets Thursday, enhancing the wintry feel.
More snow fell at Reagan National Airport over two days last week than was measured all season until then.
It is true, of course, that none of the amounts was particularly large. March 13 brought 1.1 inches of snow, and the next day’s figure was 0.9, for a total of 2 inches.
In many years that would be trivial. But until then, the figure for the season was 1.4 inches, so little that many of us happily claimed to have had none at all.
Forecasts do not suggest that from now on all will be blue skies and warm weather. But none of the predictions seem to suggest that last week’s conditions will soon be seen again.
And on Monday, the spring equinox will occur at 6:29 a.m. For many weeks thereafter, there will be more hours of daylight than of darkness, and the power of the sun will grow inexorably in our lives.