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read outside library Beth Blake of Maumee takes a break from the Juvenile Justice Center to read outside the downtown library.
Beth Blake of Maumee takes a break from the Juvenile Justice Center to read outside the downtown library.
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Published: Tuesday, 3/20/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

91-year-old record falls as mercury rises to 81

Toledo area headed for warmest March

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Good news, it's the first day of spring.

Better news, it's been feeling like spring for weeks.

And the record books are starting to reflect it.

The temperature at Toledo Express Airport hit 81 degrees Monday afternoon, breaking a 91-year-old record. According to the National Weather Service, the new record high occurred at 4:22 p.m. The previous high for the same date was 78 degrees set in 1921.

The Toledo area also broke a record Monday for consecutive 60-degree-or-higher days in March with nine. The old record of eight such days was set in 1945.

To Toledoans like Scott Eberflus and his stepson Michael Phillips, Monday's records meant great fishing weather. The pair perched along the riverfront near downtown, fishing rods in position.

"I wish it could be like this every day," Mr. Phillips, 28, said.

Jeanette Parks of Toledo pulls out a catfish while fishing in the Maumee River on Monday. Several anglers took advantage of the unusual warmth to try their luck. Jeanette Parks of Toledo pulls out a catfish while fishing in the Maumee River on Monday. Several anglers took advantage of the unusual warmth to try their luck.
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Mr. Eberflus had just reeled in a 15-pound catfish from the Maumee River. He said he's been fishing for two weeks. Not bad for March.

With temperatures expected to reach again into the low 80s Tuesday and Wednesday, northwest Ohio is on track to break more weather records, including the warmest March ever.

"It's going to be above normal for a good chunk of this week," said Brian Mitchell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland. "Our trend gets things back closer to normal, but overall the outlook for the next two weeks is averaging above normal, and that's going to give us a good run at setting a record this month."

The warmest March on record was in 1945, when the average daily mean temperature was 47.7 degrees. Through Monday, the average daily mean temperature for the month was 47.6, with more temperatures expected in the 80s this week.

None of the toddlers climbing on playground equipment at Walbridge Park cared too much about records Monday. They were having fun.

"We went to the zoo this morning," said Nina Williamson, who was at the park with her 18-month-old son, Shawn Speiker, Jr.

Shawn will likely have to wait until next winter to play in snow.

"We bought snow boots and a snowsuit for him, and he never wore them," she said.

Flowers are in full bloom outside of Government Center. Farmers may be able to plant  their crops soon. Flowers are in full bloom outside of Government Center. Farmers may be able to plant their crops soon.
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Amanda Houston was chasing her 4-year-old son, Joshua Brooks, around the playground.

"It feels wonderful out here today," she said. "Every time I go outside, I keep expecting it to be cold and it's not."

The unseasonable temperatures may allow some farmers to plant their crops earlier this year, said Alan Sundermeier, the Ohio State University Extension educator for Wood County.

"It all depends on the soil conditions," he said. "We can have warm weather, but it's too wet to do field work. But [warm temperatures] will allow the soil to dry quicker."

Without more rain, Mr. Sundermeier said it will take a week to 10 days for most Wood County fields to dry out enough to plant. If that happens, farmers could begin getting their crops in by the first week of April.

That's a few weeks earlier than normal and much earlier than last year, when frequent rain kept most farmers out of their fields until around the first of June.

Planting earlier can be beneficial, as it gives crops a better chance to rack up more days where temperatures hit the sweet spot for plant growth, and can help push yields higher.

Still, for sensitive garden plants such as tomatoes and peppers, it's too early to think about planting.

"Long-term averages say we could still get killing frosts into the first of May," Mr. Sundermeier said.

Mr. Mitchell, of the weather service, wouldn't rule out the possibility of a bit of white stuff before summer arrives.

"I've been telling people it's not out of the question, but it doesn't look likely at this point," he said. "We've had April snows before. You hate to rule it out at this point because all it would take is a little shift in the pattern."

He said the more immediate forecast calls for a cooling trend over the weekend that could put highs in the lower 60s.

"People are going to think it feels cool because we've been close to 80 for the better part of two weeks," Mr. Mitchell said.

Staff Writers Tyrel Linkhorn and David Patch contributed to this report.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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