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Published: Saturday, 12/27/2008

Metro Toledo area catches a breather as mercury soars

BLADE STAFF

Memories of a white Christmas melted away Saturday as the temperature soared toward the 70s, prompting plenty of people to exchange their bulky holiday sweaters for T-shirts and shorts.

At mid-day, motorists waved from open car windows, children played with baseballs instead of snowballs, and with rolled-up sleeves some area residents washed cars, raked leaves, or went fishing.

It was a top-down day, and the warm wind tousled the hair of more than a few convertible owners. A dandelion bloomed bright yellow against a fading patch of ice in a Toledo suburb.

And a sign out front of a business near Waterville wished customers a warm and happy holiday season.

So, how warm was it?

Warm enough for the record books.

Snow wasn t falling Saturday, but records tumbled all around the joggers and dog walkers and yard workers.

At Toledo Express Airport, the previous record of 60, set in 1971, was exceeded just before 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. A new record 65 degrees was recorded at 4:56 p.m.

The high was 65 at Metcalf Field and at Findlay Airport and 66 at Lima Allen County Airport. The high was 64 at Monroe s Custer Airport. Temperatures reached the upper 50s in Hillsdale and Lenawee counties.

Records were set in Akron, where a high of 63 surpassed the 1971 record of 61; in Youngstown, where the high of 63 exceeded the 1982 record of 60.

Records were tied in Cleveland, with a high of 64, and in Mansfield, with a high of 63.

It will be jacket weather again Sunday when the temperatures fall into the 30s.

A cold front is approaching, and some of those Christmas trees tossed to the curbs Saturday afternoon could roll like tumbleweed as strong winds sail into the area.

The weather service has issued a wind advisory for Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, Erie, Hancock, Seneca, Huron, and Wyandot counties in northwest Ohio.

The advisory takes effect at 11 Saturday night ends at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Monroe, Lenawee, and Hillsdale counties in Michigan are included in the wind advisory area, and Hillsdale County is under a flood watch as well.

Heavy rain, coupled with ice and snow melt, will increase the risk of flooding in low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage.

Southerly winds are expected to continue to increase as the cold front moves through the area Saturday night. Gusts up to 50 mph are possible, and a brief gust to 55 mph is possible in some areas when the front moves through, according to the weather service. Winds will slowly decrease by Sunday afternoon.

A wind advisory is issued when sustained winds are forecast to be 31 to 39 mph or gusts will range between 46 and 57 mph. Such winds can cause minor property damage. Motorists in high-profile vehicles should use caution.

A flood warning for the Tiffin River, affecting portions of Defiance, Fulton, and Williams counties has been posted by the weather service.

A combination of melting snow and ice and additional rain is expected to cause minor flooding near Stryker.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the stage was 10 feet and rising. Flood stage is 11 feet. The river is forecast to rise above flood stage early Sunday and crest near 13.2 feet about 1 a.m. Wednesday. At 13 feet, flood waters begin to affect some farm buildings near Stryker and flood some secondary roads, according to the weather service.

On Sunday there s a slight chance of showers before 9 a.m., and the temperature will fall to about 36 degrees by 1 p.m. Sunday night will be cloudy with a low of 28 degrees.



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