At last, outdoors feels like spring, with highs in 70s

April 16, 1993|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Staff Writer

Reality check, please.

We're nearly four weeks into spring, and the National Weather Service puts a bulletin on the weather wire yesterday with this startling news: "Shortly after noon EDT the temperature at Baltimore Washington International Airport reached 70 degrees."

Then the same weather guys observe that it hasn't been this warm since . . . New Year's Eve?

What planet are we on here?

Not that anyone was complaining. It was a tops-down, doors-open, coats-off kind of afternoon. The high reached 75 degrees at the airport just after 3:30 p.m. and 74 degrees downtown. Ice cream cones were spotted in Lutherville, and this year's agonizingly slow crawl toward nicer weather was almost forgotten.

But this has been one odd year.

"This is only the fifth time we have not had a 70-degree reading before April 1," said forecaster Ken Shaver, who checked back through 42 years of record books at BWI to make sure.

It was also the latest date for a 70-degree reading since 1958, when Marylanders had to wait until April 14.

The last time we had to wait until April for 70-plus weather, he said, was way back in . . . 1992. Last year, remember? In 1982, the first 70-degree day arrived April 1, and in 1969 it was April 2.

Yesterday was also the first 70-degree day this year at the Custom House in downtown Baltimore. Previous records were not available. It was the latest 70-degree day at National Airport in Washington, too, breaking the record of April 14, 1958.

So, whatever happened to global warming?

"That's what I was wondering," Mr. Shaver said. "Somebody's going to have to come up with a new twist.

"Usually by this time we'll get a couple of days at least with winds out of the west or southwest," he said.

"Get a good wind from the west or southwest and that will warm it up just about everywhere. This year it seems like it never happened. Most of the highs have been passing to the north of us, brining us winds from the east or northeast," he said. And those are cool and wet.

It was warm southwest winds that brought BWI its last 70-degree readings, too, back on New Year's Eve. That was an unexpected relief from the 15-degree high a week earlier on Christmas Day, but colder weather snapped back, with a high of 40 degrees by Jan. 2.

The forecast today again calls for highs in the low 70s, with a

chance of showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon. Then, "it looks like it's going to be back on the cool side," Mr. Shaver said.

A passing cold front will keep daytime highs in the 60s over the weekend and in the high 50s on Monday, with lows in the 30s.

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