Near-record warmth sticking around

Jimmy LaRoue

If Duke of Gloucester had a pool, it likely would have been put to good use Friday.

The 91 degree high, a degree shy of the record of 92 set in 1957, gave most people touring and walking DoG good reason to stick close to the shaded sidewalks or sit under one of the trees lining the Palace Green.

On five of the last seven days, temperatures reached into the upper 80s at Williamsburg Jamestown Airport, according to Weather Underground.

And, on just four of the first 21 days of April the high was below 70 degrees. Only once did it fall below 60 — Apr. 7 — and on nine of those days, it scorched into the 80s.

If you're thinking it's been a warmer-than-normal 2017, you're right.

Of the 111 days of 2017 through Friday, just three daily high temperatures have been at or below freezing. In each of the first four months, temperatures have reached 70 degrees at least once.

In February, when you might typically be thinking of snow, there was a stretch of 12 days in which the temperature reached 60 degrees on all but one day. That one day, it was 55. On seven of those days, high temperatures reached at least 70 degrees, and on two of them, the high maxed out at 80.

"We really did not get the cold shot out of eastern Canada that we have received in past years," said Mike Rusnak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Wakefield office. "If you don't get the cold shot, it's generally at or above normal, at least around here anyway."

This year has seen its share of fluctuating temperatures.

On 11 occasions so far in 2017, temperatures from one day to the next have risen or fallen by at least 15 degrees, with the biggest changes coming twice in February, which Rusnak said was unusually warm. Every month this year has seen consecutive days in which the temperature fluctuation has been at least 15 degrees either way.

On Feb. 12, the high temperature reached 82 degrees before dropping 25 degrees the following day; the temperature got up to 80 degrees on Feb. 24 and 25, with a 25 degree drop to 55 degrees on the 26th.

On three consecutive days in January — the 10th through 12th, temperatures rose from a high of 42 to 73 degrees, and was down again to a high of 44 two days later.

It was even more extreme in February. On Feb. 8, high temperatures reached 78 degrees, dropping 34 degrees in two days, to 59 on Feb. 9 and 44 on Feb. 10, rising 25 degrees to 69 degrees on Feb. 11 and to 82 degrees the day after that. On the 13th, it dropped 25 degrees in a single day to 57.

"You had quick weather moving systems in the spring, which is why it was so warm one day, cold the next — cold for a couple days and then it warmed back up," Rusnak said. "Everything kind of moved real quick, a fast jet stream over the past couple of months."

But temperatures are likely to stay more consistent — consistently warm that is.

The recent warm temperatures are no anomaly, and Rusnak said they're likely to continue through July as the Williamsburg area will likely skip spring and head into more of a summer pattern.

"You can expect it to be a bit above normal, temperature-wise," Rusnak said. "So I think this trend will probably end up continuing above normal."

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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