Jun 22, 2023

Friday's temperature was like many others, but not monotonous

Fridays in all seasons may have a vibe of their own, but the uniqueness of Washington’s Friday may have been its lack of uniqueness, its similarity to every earlier day this month.

Friday bestowed upon us a bright summer day with a high of 88 degrees. That was one degree below average, in a month when it often seems, contrary to statistics, that every day is above average.

This month, not a day has been above average; two matched the average. Except for Aug. 3, every day this month had a high in the 80s, making Friday, with its 88 much like them.

A high below average may be one ingredient for comfort. Humidity is not to be neglected. Humidity did not seem particularly intrusive Friday, not in that characteristic Washington-in-August way.

The failure of humidity to reach the stickiness of peak swelter showed up in the heat index, often regarded as an indicator of how things actually feel. On Friday the index and the actual temperature, as measured each hour, seemed almost identical.

So although experience may have made us August skeptics, Friday’s heat and humidity did not mock our residual hopes for comfort. It also gave Friday thermal and physiological similarities to the 10 days of August that came before.

But the qualities of summer days may depend on considerations even beyond the constant threat of sultriness. Summer has an aesthetic and psychic dimension, created from its ability to provide a visual counterpart to days known for length and laziness, luxury and dreams.

Friday offered an aggregation of summer clouds suited to many purposes. Some, billowing, cottony and snowy white, perhaps suggested the wool at a summer farm fair. Others, gray-bellied, seemed on their way to produce a summer shower. Between them appeared broad seas of brilliant blue.