Chilly Christmas in DC area follows record breaking cold


D.C. area kids waking up Sunday morning may want to bundle up to avoid a Blue Christmas as chilly temperatures continue. 

D.C. area kids will want to bundle up and avoid a blue Christmas as chilly temperatures continue throughout the evening.

It’s still a few degrees warmer than Christmas Eve — which brought record-breaking low temperatures to the D.C. region Saturday. Here’s what you need to know.

The sun has set and temperatures have entered the low 30s. While temperatures didn’t break records, Merrill said this has been the coldest Christmas since 2000 when the low temperature dipped to 16 degrees at Reagan National Airport.

The wind wasn’t anywhere near as significant as Friday when Merrill said gusts peaked around 60 mph at Baltimore/Washington International Airport.

Temperatures will reach the lower 30s Sunday afternoon before dropping into the low 20s on Sunday night.

After a chilly weekend, Tuesday kicks off a warming trend with temperatures higher than average.

Holiday weather tips

Keeping homes warm during frigid temperatures can be difficult. Here are some ways Merrill suggests to keep the heat inside:

  • Put a towel at the base of doors that enter to the outdoors to keep the draft outside. This can be especially helpful for older homes that may have poor insulation.
  • Limit the number of times people go in and out of the house.

“When dry, Arctic air enters your house, the humidity drops and dries your skin even more,” he said.

He also reminded D.C. area residents that the temperature is low enough to freeze windshield wiper fluid.

“Stop by the nearest gas station and use the squeegee to clean your windshield because the fluid could be so frozen that it won’t thaw out even during a short trip across town or across states,” he said.

Good news for those traveling on Christmas, the roads won’t be as icy as Saturday.

“Black ice should only be spotty today because runoff from Friday’s heavy rain has either already occurred or that water has frozen in streams and creeks or just under the surface,” Merrill said.

But Merrill said travelers driving on roads west of Interstate 81 could see some snow blowing across the road and some icy patches. That area has been experiencing snow showers since the cold front moved through Friday.

“The snow has been light and fluffy, so even the smallest breeze will cause blowing across the roadway,” Merrill said.

Record breaking lows amid outages

Saturday’s high temperature of 22 degrees at Reagan National broke the prior record from 1983 for the coldest Christmas Eve on record of 23 degrees. And the average temperature was 16 degrees, breaking the former average high on Christmas Eve by one-half of a degree in 1983.

The record low for Sunday is 3 degrees set in 1983 and the average low is 33.

The cold temperatures came as thousands were without power after high winds on Friday — some remained without power through Christmas day. Outages have since dwindled as officials at BGE expect to have service restored before Monday morning.


SUNDAY/CHRISTMAS: Cold. WIND: W 6-12 mph, diminishing. Temperatures reaching the lower 30s.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and calm. Low in the 20s.

MONDAY: Sunny and calm. Highs in the mid 30s.

TUESDAY: Cloudy early, then clearing. Highs around 40.


Current weather


WTOP’s Chad Merill contributed to this report.

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