Warm spell in city breaks 1965 record New Year's Eve high soars to 73

January 01, 1993|By Edward L. Heard Jr. | Edward L. Heard Jr.,Staff Writer Ed Brandt contributed to this article.

Jack Frost took the day off yesterday and the thermometer rose to 73 degrees in Baltimore, breaking a record that had stood since New Year's Eve 1965.

The city's new record high was reached at 3 p.m. at the Custom House on S. Gay Street. Just an hour earlier, the 27-year-old old record at BWI toppled when the mercury hit 72 degrees.

The unseasonably warm weather -- which exceeded the 1965 record of 70 degrees -- was the result of a strong southwest flow of mild air from the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern states, according to Ken Shaver, a forecaster at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Thin clouds that allowed sporadic bursts of sunshine also contributed to the warm weather.

"But this is the end of the mild weather," Mr. Shaver said. "People should have washed their cars and done all the things you can't do in colder weather."

The weather is expected to return to normal later tonight, when a northwest cold front from Canada brings back chilling temperatures in the low 20s and 30s to the area. Today's expected high is 45 degrees, with predicted highs in the low to mid-40s for Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Shaver said. He said he does not expect any snowfall in the near future.

Just last week, on Christmas morning, the temperature had dropped to 15 degrees in the city and on Monday area residents awoke to an ice storm. But the cold and ice seemed to be distant memories yesterday as folks basked in the kind of weather that )) only a polar bear could hate.

The last day of the year was a treat for Mark Adler of Canton, who spent the day sailing his boat, Pandora, around the Inner Harbor with his dog Beachcomber.

"The weather was great," said the 35-year-old boater as he sat along the harbor's border and watched other boats pass. "It's never like this. Usually, I come down here shivering this time of year."

Mr. Adler was not out sailing on the final day of 1991, when the temperature peaked at only 43 degrees.

On Dec. 31, 1965, the last record-setting day, children strapped on their new Christmas roller skates and raced on Baltimore Street at Market Place. And ice-cream vendors peddled their goods to perspiring patrons.

At the Country Club of Maryland on Stevenson Lane in Baltimore County yesterday, golfers crowded to get in a round.

More than 150 golfers had played or were playing the course by 3 p.m. Barry Caudill, assistant pro at the club, said only 25 to 30 golfers come out on a normal winter day.

Mr. Shaver said inconsistency is somewhat characteristic of the winter season. For example, yesterday's high in Dallas was 78 degrees, compared with 32 degrees on Wednesday.

"[Baltimore] just had a pleasant late year surprise," Mr. Shaver said. "I hope people enjoyed it while it lasted."

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