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Published: Wednesday, 3/14/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

March warmth likely to proceed

Residents grateful for winter break

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bhagyashri Patil pushes her daughter Gargi, 2, while her husband Sunil pushes their other daughter, Manasvi, 6, during an outing in Perrysburg's Woodlands Park.
Bhagyashri Patil pushes her daughter Gargi, 2, while her husband Sunil pushes their other daughter, Manasvi, 6, during an outing in Perrysburg's Woodlands Park.
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LUNA PIER -- One or two days of 60-degree weather in March is usually cause for break-out-the-shorts revelry in the Toledo area. But two weeks?

Yet that's where the area appears to be headed, if forecasts issued Tuesday afternoon are accurate.

Tuesday was certainly pleasant enough for Pam Hughes to spend at least part of her afternoon reading on the Luna Pier waterfront, while Allen Champion and his daughter, Kaycee, looked for interesting shells nearby on the beach.

"I love it, though it makes me kind of curious because we're supposed to be in winter, and we're not," said Ms. Hughes, who moved to Luna Pier two years ago, wondering aloud about climate change. "But I'm just grateful for it."

"Hopefully, it's a sign of early summer," said Mr. Champion of LaSalle, Mich.

If summer proves to be abnormally warm, as the Toledo-area's winter has been, he said, that's OK, too: "I don't mind the heat."

While it's too soon to say what summer will be like, the warm spell that began Sunday and is forecast to continue into early next week is consistent with long-range forecasts the National Weather Service issued in late February. The weather service predicted March to be much warmer than normal, and spring to have a higher-than-normal likelihood of unusual warmth.

"The cold air has just been bottled up north," said John Mayers, a meteorologist intern at the weather service's office in Cleveland. "The pattern just hasn't changed."

Tuesday's high temperature of 66 degrees at Toledo Express Airport -- the third day in a row for 60-plus temperatures -- was well short of the 74-degree record for the date, set in 1995. The afternoon long-range forecast didn't predict any record highs for the next seven days, either.

But the sustained warmth will be unusual. The National Weather Service office in Detroit said there is a strong chance that the Motor City's record for consecutive 60-degree days in March -- nine of them, set in 1945 -- could fall.

Mr. Mayers said he didn't know if similar information was readily available for Toledo. But in any case, he said, upcoming weather should favor those who desire an early start to spring.

"It looks like we've got a good deal right now," he said.

At Jamie Farr Park in North Toledo, Woodward High School seniors Amar Mitchell and Darius Smith shot baskets Tuesday afternoon while waiting for buddies to arrive for a pickup basketball game.

While pleased with the weather, young Mitchell said he wasn't really surprised by it, "just seeing how the winter's been," while his friend said he wouldn't mind if Toledo's skies were always so fair.

"I'm going to be out here all week, probably," young Smith said.

Conditions on Wednesday should be favorable for more playground hoops -- it may well be the nicest day this week.

Toledo-area temperatures are expected to reach into the low 70s, and with winds much lighter than they were Tuesday.

Thursday and Friday could be trickier. While low-70s highs and nighttime lows in the mid-50s are expected to last until the weekend, showers and thunderstorms are forecast to move into the Toledo area early Thursday morning, with a chance of precipitation into Saturday.

From there onward, clearer skies are expected to return, with highs near or exceeding 70 each day through Tuesday in the forecast.

Accuweather predicts the 60-plus temperatures to continue at least through March 27.

A band of thunderstorms that rolled through Toledo early Tuesday morning, causing scattered power outages overnight, left behind muddy grounds at the Detwiler Park golf course that sent Gary Tscherne of Oregon to the driving range instead of out on the links.

"It's good to get out, especially this time of year," Mr. Tscherne said. "This [weather] is exceptional. You need to take advantage of it any time you can."

"I enjoy the wintertime, too -- growing up here, playing hockey," said Doug Danyko as he walked his dogs near the Point Place lighthouse and took in the Maumee River view there. "But weather like this, this early in the year, it's beautiful."

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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