Crocus caucus, right-wing robins cast vernal vote on Election Day

March 03, 1992|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Staff Writer

The robins were casting their votes by first light today.

Bring on spring, they seemed to be whistling.

The crocuses are emerging, too, trying to stand up and be counted.

It's Election Day, and the early returns are decisive: Out with ice on the windshield and winter wardrobes. In with longer, sunnier days and shirt-sleeves.

However, weather pundits, analyzing these early returns, aren't promising that happy days are here again. Not yet.

But they are saying it will be pleasantly warm through the weekend, if a bit wet.

In central and eastern Maryland, temperatures are expected to reach the high 50s or low 60s. Lows will be in the upper 30s and low 40s.

"This week is a good example of what's been happening all winter long," said Dick Diener, a National Weather Service forecaster at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

March is definitely coming in like a lamb.

The whole winter has been rather sheepish, continuing a trend of mild temperatures. Last year was the second-warmest on record in central Maryland.

The average temperature in Baltimore during January was 40.7 degrees, compared with a normal average of 35.5. The average during February was 42.9 degrees, compared with a normal 37.3.

Since 1951, records show, an average of 21.7 inches of snow has fallen at BWI each winter. The weather service has recorded 2.2 inches of snow at BWI this winter.

"This is warmer than we should be," said Mr. Diener. But don't get your hopes up, he cautioned. March has typically been the snowiest month of the year.

A weather "event" heading our way -- a low-pressure system forming over the Southwest -- will bring rain into Maryland by Thursday night.

The rain should last into early Saturday, Mr. Diener said.

First it will move across Texas and along the Gulf of Mexico Coast, picking up lots of warm, moist air before it heads up the Eastern Seaboard.

"It will be a fairly extensive, soaking rain type of thing," he said. "This will be a spring rain type of thing."

As it has happened all winter, Mr. Diener said, cold weather will be incarcerated well to the north.

"In this particular system, [the] majority of the cold air will be held way back up in central Canada. The upper-air mechanics that would cause the cold air to come southward are not there."

Foul weather systems and cold air masses have been keeping their distance all winter, Mr. Diener said. A marriage of the two would mean snow or ice as offspring.

"We just not getting that coupling," Mr. Diener said. "We're just not getting that cold air trigger."

But remember, the polls haven't closed; the jury is out. The robins may want to whistle in spring, but the fat lady has yet to sing the swan song of winter.

Or, as Mr. Diener said, his crystal ball starts getting fuzzy beyond this weekend.

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