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Thanksgiving weather defies prediction

What kind of weather can D.C. area residents expect on Thanksgiving?

WASHINGTON — Some may wonder why Thanksgiving falls on a different date every year. Federal law proclaimed it a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. That means Thanksgiving 2022 will occur on November 24, when D.C.’s average high/low temperatures are 55°/39°.

Washingtonians had near average temperatures on Thanksgiving last year with a high/low of 59°/34° on November 25. However, D.C.’s warmest Thanksgiving was November 22, 2007, with a record high temperature of 77°. By comparison, Washingtonians had a very cold Thanksgiving in 2018 when the high/low was only 42°/29° on November 22.

Longtime Washingtonians may remember the last time the nation’s capital experienced a snowy Thanksgiving was 33 years ago. That Thanksgiving, on November 23, 1989, had a two-day snow total of 3.5”. November 1989 finished 1.6° colder than average and was followed by D.C.’s coldest December since 1917. In fact, 1989 remains the only time Washingtonians had both a snowy Thanksgiving and a snowy Christmas.

Daily snowfall records were set at all three D.C. area airports on November 15, 2018. However, accumulating November snowfall in the nation’s capital has become exceedingly rare in recent years, with only one such occurrence since 2000. When NOAA updated its climate averages to reflect the 30-year period of 1991-2020, D.C.’s November snowfall average dropped from 0.5” to 0.1”.

There will be days with snow flurries that don’t accumulate. However, without any precipitation to measure, there isn’t any quantifiable metric for how often that type of weather event occurs in Washington.

Washington, D.C.’s Five Coldest Thanksgiving’s by High Temperature

 (Source: NOAA)

  • 30°: November 27, 1930
  • 33°: November 28, 1901
  • 33°: November 26, 1903
  • 35°: November 23, 1989
  • 35°: November 28, 1996

Washington, D.C.’s Five Warmest Thanksgiving’s by High Temperature

(Source: NOAA)

  • 77°: November 22, 2007
  • 75°: November 22, 1979
  • 75°: November 20, 1941
  • 75°: November 30, 1933
  • 73°: November 24, 1927


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