Spring mood blows in on warm breezes

High of 77 ties the record set in 1964

March 11, 2006|By JAMIE STIEHM | JAMIE STIEHM,SUN REPORTER

On Mount Vernon Place, a few bare feet in the park could be seen yesterday by the benches, fountains and statues as spring seemed to come to Baltimore as an early March surprise. Ben Bairs, 21, a Peabody Institute classical guitar student, whistled as he walked: "I'm so happy I made it through the winter."

Basking in the record-tying high of 77 degrees, Damian Chaupin, a resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, had shed winter layers for shorts and sandals. Studying a medical text as he waited for a friend, he said, "When you get a preview [of spring] you don't have to wear real shoes and socks."

Across the street, letter carrier Harold Arthur said delivering mail yesterday was a far cry from trudging through rain or sleet. In fact, temperate breezes made his working conditions "just right," he said.

The warm air rushed in from the southwest behind a blustery warm front, which forecasters said would be followed by a surge of cooler, drier air from the west overnight.

At Red Emma's coffee and book shop yesterday in the 800 block of St. Paul St., iced mochas and lattes were selling briskly.

Andrew Byrne, 25, working at the coffee bar, explained the brain chemistry that creates better moods this time of year: "Seratonin and melatonin levels are up."

There was good reason: the last time the mercury hit 77 degrees on March 10 was in 1964. Yesterday was also the warmest day since Nov. 16, nearly a four-month spell of fall and winter weather.

Michelle Charron, a 26-year-old nurse, joined the outdoor cafe scene at Donna's on North Charles Street after she rose early, inspired to do some spring cleaning, she said.

Joyce Johnson, Angelina Smith and Willie Johnson sat outside in the 100 block of N. Charles St. late yesterday afternoon eating sandwiches and fried chicken after work.

The three said they couldn't wait to finish work and get outside to enjoy the weather. "You couldn't ask for nicer weather," said Joyce Johnson, adding that she planning to plant tomatoes and cabbage this weekend.

Brian Carroll and David Morales said painting and power-washing the Waterloo Place Apartments on Calvert Street was a good vantage point to see others surface from the winter. "I haven't seen anybody with a frown on their face," Carroll said.

jamie.stiehm@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Frank Roylance and Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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