Why is the definite article used before mid-40s and 30s in this sentence from a Washington Post weather report?

Highs are mainly limited to the mid-40s, with wind chills in the 30s so bundle up.

I am confused because I don't see what is being specified and thus calls for the article, and also because the same site has other lines without the definite article. The following sentences contain a mix of usages with and without the article.

The incoming surge of colder air pushes lows into the mid- to upper 20s, with low 30s limited to downtown.

Winds finally begin to die down overnight under starry skies. Lows range from mid-20s to low 30s.

Highs get up to the more seasonable mid-50s. Overnight is clear, with lows in the upper 20s to mid-30s.

  • The refers to a range of numbers, e.g. the forties include the set of nine numbers from 40 through 49. As to why, it is just one of the many peculiarities of English. Oct 23, 2018 at 20:15

1 Answer 1


The definite article is used there because mid-40s refers to a specific temperature range.

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