Saturday, January 12, 2013

Still Life With Robin: Weather You Like It or Not

by Peggy Robin

According to the Capital Weather Gang ( it will be a spring-like 67 degrees tomorrow. That's down a few degrees from the Gang's earlier prediction of a high of 75 for Sunday -- only four degrees below January's all-time high of 79 degrees recorded on January 26, 1950 ( For some reason this particular weather statistic was not so easy to track down, and in the process of Googling it, I meandered down a number of different side alleys and turned up a few related weather facts I hope you will find of interest.

That record high in January, 1950 is on the cool side compared to DC's all-time high temp for February: 84 degrees on February 26, 1930.

Although my initial search phrase was "hottest winter day in Washington, DC," the first results that came up were from Australia, where it's the height of summer, and they are in the middle of a wildfire-inducing heat wave. It's 116 degrees in inland parts of New South Wales today (, hotter by ten degrees than DC's hottest day ever (July 20, 1930, when it was 106 degrees. That 1930 was one hot year!)

In Australia, it's not just the heat that's making people all over the world take notice. Across the continent in Western Australia they have had a phenomenon called a "red wave" or "haboob." You have to take a look at this from several sources to believe you are not seeing a prank, someone's skillfully Photoshopped image gone viral. Here's the shot from The Atlantic Wire: Here are the Facebook photos from Perth Weather Live:

Meanwhile, back in the northern hemisphere but still far from Washington, in North China, it's been the coldest winter in four decades, with temperatures each day hovering around the 18 degree mark: A massive cold wave has also descended on Southern Asia, bringing temperatures in the 30s to normally tropical Bangladesh:

Perhaps strangest of all these recent bouts of freakish weather: Snow on the palm trees of Jerusalem. Four to eight inches of the white stuff. People are throwing snowballs at each other. (Here's where we pause for the obligatory expression of relief that the projectiles are unexpectedly harmless.) These photos have a slightly surreal look to them, too:

If it's been too long since you've seen the white stuff, and you want to be reminded of what it would look like if we had some here --or ou want to think back to what it was like when we had too much-- then take a photo-trip back to Snowmageddon, February 2010 (but you might want to save this cyber-visit until tomorrow afternoon, after you come back inside from basking in sunshine of an unseasonably warm winter's day:


Still Life With Robin is published on Saturdays on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and All Life Is Local.

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