Weekend gives chance for a little summer fun

Days are filled with sun, temperatures in high 70s

November 03, 2003|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Sandals, cutoff shorts, spaghetti-strap blouses, sunbathing, brunch outdoors, barbecue sizzling in the park, boats crowding the harbor.

Area residents expect to see these sights in June and July. But in November? Well, yes. Temperatures soared under sunny skies into the high 70s yesterday and Saturday, causing people to pull out their summer gear for one more round of warm weather, which forecasters say is expected to last through Wednesday.

On the Fells Point waterfront yesterday morning, city dwellers sipped coffee with their legs dangling over the water and couples shared kisses as a clarinetist's languid notes sounded in the distance.

"This is probably the nicest weekend of the year," said Fells Point resident Trish White, eating a pastry outside Bonaparte Bread and Cafe.

"And it happened in November, which is great," said her friend and neighbor Sue Wrbican.

The women said they met during February's 28-inch snow but added that they were enjoying yesterday a lot more than that weekend.

"I'm from Syracuse [N.Y.] and this is better than summer there," White said.

A short way down Thames Street, Larry and Tanya Durkin lounged on their 39-foot sailboat, The Nepenthe. They said they would spend the day relaxing and reading the newspaper before sailing back to their marina in Jones Creek.

"How could you not enjoy today?" asked Larry Durkin. "Yikes, talk about Indian summer."

Not so unusual

Baltimore's current wave of 70-degree days is not particularly unusual. Average highs in late October and early November are about 65 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

In 1950, one could have enjoyed an 87-degree day Nov. 1 and an 84-degree day Nov. 2. On the downside, however, one could have frozen at 32 degrees on Nov. 2, 1923.

People disagree on the definition of Indian summer, with some saying it has to come after the year's first freeze, while the dictionary says it's any spell of unseasonable warmth in autumn.

But this miniature heat wave qualifies on either count, and area residents said they were enjoying it with the full awareness that temperatures might not climb so high again for at least four months.

"Who knows when we're going to have another weekend like this?" said Donna Moran of Owings Mills, who was playing with her 2-year-old son, Cory, at Oregon Ridge Park.

Moran said she wasn't planning on going to the park yesterday, but "it was just too nice a day to stay inside."

Cars jammed the parking lot at Oregon Ridge, where teen-agers played an impromptu game of soccer, families crowded around smoking barbecue pits and older couples peered at the rich gold-and-red canopy that covered the park's nature trails.

The unusually warm weather also greeted bow hunters, who were allowed yesterday to hunt deer for the first time on Sunday in some counties across the state.

Time for suntan lotion

On a county government-organized tour of Carroll County farms Saturday, Hampstead farmer Wilson Lippy said he was considering handing out suntan lotion. He hauled his paddle boat out of storage and allowed several children a brief trip around the farm pond.

"What is the notch above Indian summer?" Lippy asked. "We are there with this weather."

Though crowd figures weren't available yesterday, Ocean City streets seemed busier than usual for a November weekend, said Cass Demetrakis, a public information officer for the city.

Meanwhile, students at the Johns Hopkins University spent yesterday afternoon the same way they had spent Saturday afternoon - sunning themselves on the main campus lawn facing Charles Street.

Back at the Fells Point pier, Maria Yadarola, an Argentinean in Baltimore for a medical research fellowship at Hopkins, was sharing an animated conversation with fellow countrywoman Cecilia Patino.

"We were just talking about how nice it is here," Yadarola said.

"I'm surprised by this weather in November," Patino added. "Actually, I'm amazed."

Sun staff writer Mary Gail Hare contributed to this article.

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