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Published: Thursday, 1/12/2006

Here comes the sun, but it won't be around long

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tolerable weather yesterday makes the job of working on the foundation of the Word of Truth Christian Center in Bowling Green a little easier for Jamie Waltz of Adrian, Michigan. Tolerable weather yesterday makes the job of working on the foundation of the Word of Truth Christian Center in Bowling Green a little easier for Jamie Waltz of Adrian, Michigan.
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Don't be startled by the novelty of sunshine.

Bask in the warmth and think of April. It won't be hard.

January's pall lifts today, revealing sun and blue sky. The forecast high of about 53 is normal for April 1, but 22 degrees warmer than an average Jan. 12.

The sunniness isn't too startling, from a meteorologist's perspective. He sees it as a variation on what has caused warmth and clouds to follow a snowy, cold late fall and early winter.

"We just managed to get into [drier air] for a period of time before the next system comes plowing in," said Dave Bowers, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pa.

Sun or gloom, the recent spell of mild weather has meant more people spend their days outside, said Scott Carpenter, spokesman for Toledo Area Metroparks. He's able to predict the day's weather by how full he finds the Wildwood Preserve Metropark parking lot when he arrives in the morning.

"We have programs year round, so when it's warm, it's a bonus for the people who come," Mr. Carpenter said.

Absent are cross-country skiers, ice skaters, and sledders.

The noticeable change is in the number of walkers. "Our fair-weather walkers are out," he said. "Our diehards are here no matter what."

Even with a high yesterday of 46, Toledo's ice rink at Ottawa Park was open, despite a thin film of water over the surface. Thank the compressors that circulate refrigerant under the rink and occasional passes by a Zamboni.

Today likely will be a challenge, said Steve White, a To-ledo city recreation supervisor. The compressors can keep the ice chilled so long as there's not too much sunlight, he said.

"If it's overcast, we'll be fine," Mr. White said.

December brought more than 20 inches of snow and, for most of the month, average daily temperatures as much as 17 degrees below normal.

"We were tapping air from the Pole and Siberia," Mr. Bowers said. "That ribbon of jet stream stayed persistent for three solid weeks. Since, it's like somebody turned off the spigot."

The jet stream now flows directly across the continent from the Pacific Ocean, cutting off cold air and raising daily temperatures above average. Combine warm air from the Pacific with the winter sun hanging low in the sky, and "you end up with these cloudy, gloomy days," Mr. Bowers said.

Rain and highs in the 40s tomorrow will be followed by snow showers into Saturday, which will have a windy high of about 34.

"People will think it's a rude change," Mr. Bowers said. "People will wake up [Saturday] and say, 'Hey, it's winter after all.'‚óŹ"

Sunday will be in the upper 30s, with a mix of clouds and sunshine, he said.

Blade staff writers Erica Blake and Tom Henry contributed to this report.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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