Is this January?

Is this January?

Local temperatures reach into the 70s

It's the middle of the afternoon on Jan. 7 and Peter Deede, a financial planner from Falls Church is looking down the outdoor driving range of the Herndon Centennial Golf Course, lining up his hips before he lets out a swing with his nine iron.

The only sign of the cold weather typically associated with winter is his light-weight blue jacket, which Deede wears partially unzipped.

"It's refreshingly weird," he said of the recent record-breaking warmth that has swept through Northern Virginia and much of the East Coast since the beginning of 2007. "This is the ski season, but I'm out here hitting golf balls."

While Sunday was overcast with high temperatures at Dulles International Airport topping out at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, Saturday saw sunny skies and record-breaking temperatures of 71 degrees, shattering a previous record of 66 degrees set in 1998, according to the National Weather Service. Saturday's temperature was approximately 70 percent higher than the normal value for this time of year.

The average daily high at Dulles Airport since the start of 2007 has been 59 degrees — 17 degrees higher than normal temperatures for the same period.

FOR MANASSAS resident and engineer Yum Bui, who moved to Northern Virginia from Oregon last month, any break from the freezing temperatures, ice and snow typically associated with winter is welcome. Last Sunday, Bui, dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt was playing a few sets of tennis with his friend Lu Gao at Bready Park's outdoor courts in Herndon.

"It's been beautiful since I've been here," Bui said. "Anytime where you can come and play outdoor tennis in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of January is great."

While the temperatures might be welcomed by summer-style sports enthusiasts, others may disagree, Gao said.

"For anyone who likes to play tennis, the weather is going to be a good thing," he said, "but for the people who like to ski, it's probably not so good."

A LACK OF CHANGE in seasons, despite the more welcoming temperatures is something that has bothered Herndon resident and student Amy Dolinger, who was resting in Bready Park after biking the W&OD Trail last Sunday.

"Even for here, this is pretty unusual for this time of year," Dolinger said. "Obviously you get to be outdoors a little more when it's warmer, but I also enjoy winter activities."

Despite being able to go camping with friends last weekend and having more opportunities to ride her bike, Dollinger said that she still retains the wish for snow that she has had since before Christmas.

She may get it chance sooner than she thinks. The National Weather Service is predicting evening temperatures to dip below 30 degrees in the coming weeks, with at least a slight chance of snow on those evenings.

Deede said that he expects the temperatures to equalize with those regularly representative of January.

"This is fine for a short while, but we do enjoy the change of seasons," Deede said. "I would guess that in a few days it will start to even out a bit."

"But I still think we're in for a weak winter."