Spring continues to give area the cold shoulder Below-average temperatures expected for 10 days

March 31, 1996|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN STAFF

So the groundhog saw his shadow and we got another six weeks of winter. Fine.

But this is ridiculous.

Last week brought back heavy jackets, wind chill indexes and a sprinkling of snow to the greater Baltimore area, all conspiring to suppress the promised spring.

It ain't over yet.

For the next 10 days, the National Weather Service expects further cold and below-average temperatures -- a prediction represented by an electric blue puddle covering the mid-Atlantic region on a map posted by the service on the World Wide Web.

"Most people have had enough of the winter, enough of snow and are looking forward to sustained sunlight and warm weather," said Dr. Mark Ehrenreich, director of consultation psychiatry at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore.

"Get out of the household; be active," he suggested. "Get the psychotherapy of everyday life. Do the things that make you feel better."

Yesterday, with temperatures in the upper 50s, many people around the region did just that.

They took advantage of the hint of spring, professing less anger at the winter than relief it appeared to be waning.

"This is the worst [winter] I've seen since my oldest daughter was seven years old," and that was 13 years ago, said Denise Banks, a nursing home aide who lives in Pimlico. Ms. Banks took her grandson, Kenny, to ride his bicycle yesterday at Druid Hill Reservoir for the first time this spring. "I baked. I cooked for my family. We couldn't get out at all."

Like Ms. Banks, many abandoned their homes yesterday to get outside.

An intramural softball team of Towson State University students practiced on a campus field for the first time. It showed. The hand-eye coordination of hitters and fielders was raw, at best. And the whole notion of hitting the cutoff man existed purely in theory.

"Don't worry," freshman Dean Iacovetti, 18, playing in left field, said to a visitor as a modestly talented teammate took his cuts. "He's not hitting it out here."

Early afternoon found Eric Chou, a third-year medical student at the Johns Hopkins University, pacing in front of the greens at the Pine Ridge Golf Course in Baltimore County.

"I was actually not too psyched about [playing golf yesterday] because I thought the weather would still be bad," said Mr. Chou. As a native of Chicago, he did not let this winter, with its unusually heavy snows, rattle him. But he said it did get to his roommates and neighbors.

The course's driving range was packed with people. Shanked and sliced golf balls flecked the range's lawn like whitecaps on the Chesapeake Bay, and a pair of deer nibbled along the edges. a copy of a photograph of young Griffin Stulman, all of 11 months old, showing him wearing a jester's cap and a startled expression as he sat on a yard covered in snow. The fax bore the legend: "I'm ready for spring!"

"We're dying to take him camping," said Griffin's mother, Diane Stulman of Owings Mills. "I would have thought by now that we would have been in Maryland's parks."

Maryland state climatologist Alan Robock of College Park said he, too, longed for the end of winter. He wants, he said, to "sit on my front porch in the morning and read the paper outside, and to fire up my grill. That spring-like feeling hasn't really arrived yet."

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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