Weather in Washington, D.C.: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature

Frozen Reflecting Pool
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Washington, D.C., weather is mild compared to many parts of the United States. The capital region has four distinct seasons, although the weather can be unpredictable and varies from year to year. Fortunately, the nastiest weather in the D.C. area is usually relatively brief.

Although D.C. is located in the center of the Mid-Atlantic region, it is considered to be in the humid subtropical climate zone that is typical of the South. The suburban areas of Maryland and Virginia surrounding the city have climates that are influenced by elevation and proximity to water. The eastern regions near the Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay tend to have a more humid subtropical climate while the western communities with its higher elevations have a continental climate with cooler temperatures.

 The city and central parts of the region waver with weather in between. Most months, the city averages around three inches of rain.

In the winter, the Washington, D.C., area gets an occasional snowstorm. The temperatures often fluctuate above freezing in the winter so we can get lots of rain or freezing rain during the colder months. Springtime is beautiful when the flowers blossom. The weather is wonderful in the spring, and this is the busiest time of year for the tourist attractions. During the summer months, Washington, D.C., can get hot, humid and uncomfortable. Late July and most of August are a good time to stay indoors in the air conditioning.

Fall is the best time of the year for outdoor recreation. The vibrant colors of the fall foliage and the cool temperatures make this a great time to walk, hike, bike, picnic and enjoy other outdoor activities.

Fast Climate Facts

  • Hottest Month: July, 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius)
  • Coldest Month: January, 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius)
  • Wettest Month: May, 4.3 inches

Spring in Washington, D.C.

Spring is a pleasant time to visit D.C., as high temperatures usually average around 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius). The cherry blossoms erupt in April, which draws large crowds to the National Mall. Still, weather during this season can be unpredictable, so despite the spring blooms and sunny days, you should also be prepared for cool nights and occasional wind and rain.

What to pack: Make sure to bring a jacket for the evenings. While it can be tempting to fully embrace spring, you should still generally pack warmer clothing.

Average Temperatures by Month

March: 55 F (13 C) / 33 F (0 C), 3.9 inches

April: 66 F (19 C) / 42 F (6 C), 3.3 inches

May: 76 F (24 C) / 52 F (11 C), 4.3 inches

Summer in Washington, D.C.

D.C. is built atop a swamp, and you'll believe it in the summer. Even though high temperatures are usually in the 80s Fahrenheit, humidity hovers around a muggy 60 percent. Summer is an excellent season for staying indoors at one of the city's many museums. July is also the city's second wettest month—thunderstorms can pop up quickly, especially in the late afternoons.

What to pack: Pack clothing that keeps you cool, such as lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen that will wick moisture away and dry quickly. Avoid polyester or synthetics.

Average Temperatures by Month

June: 84 F (29 C) / 62 F (17 C), 3.6 inches

July: 89 F (32 F) / 67 F (19 C), 4.2 inches

August: 87 F (31 C) / 65 F (18 C), 3.9 inches

Fall in Washington, D.C.

Fall in Washington, D.C., is lovely, with temperatures not unlike the spring. This is also the driest season of the year, so you don't have to worry about rain spoiling your trip. Unlike summer, D.C. is also less crowded during the fall as kids head back to school.

What to pack: Pack for temperatures ranging from the mid-30s Fahrenheit in late fall all the way up to the 80s Fahrenheit in September. By November, you'll need a winter coat and jacket. Don't forget comfortable shoes!

Average Temperatures by Month

September: 80 F (27 C) / 57 F (14 C), 4.1 inches

October: 69 F (21 C) / 44 F (7 C), 3.4 inches

November: 58 F (14 C) / 36 F (2 C), 3.3 inches

Winter in Washington, D.C.

Despite its geography, D.C. winters can be freezing and unpredictable, with snow and ice storms occurring throughout the season. January is usually the coldest month and is often grey, with rain or snow. On average, Washington, D.C., accumulates around 17 inches of snow per season, with most of it falling January or February. January is also the coldest month with average low temperatures regularly below freezing.

What to pack: Pack warm winter clothes such as heavy sweaters, as well as boots and a waterproof coat that will keep you dry. Winters can be damp, so staying both dry and warm is crucial.

Average Temperatures by Month

December: 48 F (9 C) / 28 F (-2 C), 3.8 inches

January: 43 F (6 C) / 24 F (-4 C), 3.6 inches

February: 47 F (8 C) / 26 F (-3 C), 2.8 inches