Chance of meatballs

April 17, 2007

As spring rain pounded the pavement over the weekend, followed yesterday by mid-April winds blowing high and gusty across the Chesapeake, it seemed like only last week that we were bemoaning winter's frosty bite.

Come to think of it, it was only last week, give or take a couple of days.

Easter weekend saw hearth fires burning, and Opening Day games on baseball diamonds large and small from the Rockies to New England were snowed out. Chocolate eggs hidden in the bushes didn't melt, they froze, and spring break holidays called for earflaps, not flip-flops.

So we bundled up and prayed for spring - real spring. For as has been said before, there is a great deal of difference between the first day of spring and the first spring day. A real spring day would pack a bit of sunshine, maybe some rain, certainly a healthy breeze.

And Mother Nature, in her own inimitable way, obliged. With a vengeance. Over the weekend, parts of Maryland got close to 3 inches of rain, and yesterday winds of up to 50 miles an hour downed power lines and threatened shallow-rooted trees. A handful of schools closed early because of power outages - a consolation prize of sorts for students who had harbored great hopes for their first April snow day.

To the south, high winds overturned mobile homes in the Carolinas and flooded parts of West Virginia. Farther north, New York City logged - as in water-logged - more than 7 inches of rain in Central Park, the second-wettest day there since 1869, according to The New York Times.

Runners in yesterday's Boston Marathon battled not just fatigue, cramps and Heartbreak Hill but also slick streets and daunting headwinds. New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency as heavy winds and torrential rain caused serious flooding and washed away roads; Maine fared not much better.

What next?

We are reminded of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, an illustrated children's book by Judi Barrett that recounts the travails of the town of Chewandswallow, where it rains hamburgers, and ketchup, and pancakes. Actually, that's sounding pretty good right now. But on the whole we'll take the musical option: "It isn't raining rain, you know, it's raining vi-o-lets."

Even better would be what's at least forecast for the rest of the week - nothing too dramatic; some sun, some clouds, warmish. You know, like last January.

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