Alexis Futrell, 2, of Toledo gives a try to fishing in the Maumee Sunday and enjoys the return of T-shirt weather.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This version of the story corrects Sunday's high temperature to 84 degrees.
People were smiling again.
After months and months of snow and cold and gray, of gloves and hats and boots, the weather Sunday shouted spring, and it seemed everyone was listening.
It was as though the warmth thawed people enough that they eagerly emerged from hibernation, shrugging off sweaters and embracing the new season.
Sunday's weather was glorious, and it was record-breaking.
Lori Atherton, 35, and her husband Brad Atherton, 41, both of Toledo, were playing Frisbee in Wildwood Metropark. They were opening the season with the toss-and-catch activity, she said.
"We'd learned that it was going to be 80 degrees, so we decided that we'd just take advantage of the fine weather and come out to the park to play Frisbee. We do it every year all throughout summer," the University of Michigan Law School communications specialist said.
Despite wind gusts, they "liked it all right," Mr. Atherton, a systems administrator in Monroe, said.
Those wind gusts were exactly what Drake Swartzentruber, who was flying a shark-shaped kite nearby, was excited about. It's the first time this year, said the 13-year-old.
"It was great!" said the Warsaw, Ind., resident who was visiting his Toledo-area grandmother. "Great wind today!"
It was a top-down day. Motorists waved from open-air convertibles, and hundreds of motorcycle riders wheeled along the streets.
Spring had apparently arrived -- this time not according to the calendar, but the thermometer.
The high temperature Sunday in Toledo topped out at 84 degrees, beating the record high of 83 degrees set in 1977. Dipping to the opposite degree, the record low is 18, chillingly set in 1989.
Sunday's warmth was not usual for this time of year. The average high for the day is 57 degrees while the average low is 36.
Mike Pigott, a metrologist with AccuWeather, a private weather forecasting service in State College, Pa., said a potent storm system moving through the Midwestern plains was bringing in summer warmth and humidity.
"It is because of this summerlike warmth and humidity that you are seeing this weather," Mr. Pigott said. "While it is quite nice right now, there will be thunderstorms as a cold front moves through the region."
Hailie Draper, 10, takes aim in an attempt to hit her brother with a ball during a game of dodge ball in the front yard of their home on Western Avenue. The high temperature Sunday topped out at 83 degrees and tied the record.
The severe weather was expected to hit last night or this morning, but the predictions didn't dampen spring-fever spirits Sunday afternoon.
At some stores featuring home and garden items, rather than snow shovels, it was pruning shears selling briskly, and locavores (those folks drawn to locally grown produce) lined up to pick out just the right packets of seeds, awash in spring colors of carrot orange, eggplant purple, and tomato red.
At Hoen's Greenhouse and Garden Center in Springfield Township, people lined up to get supplies and cool weather flowers such as pansies, owner Theresa Hoen said.
"We are relatively busy but people know this weather won't last, so they are not buying the other flowers and veggies yet," she said "But people are ready and itching to get their yards ready, so they are cleaning out the beds and getting things ready."
With relish, while standing in line at the checkout, people cradled bags of onion sets, pairs of work gloves, and bottles of sunscreen. Not a cranky conversation within earshot.
Elsewhere, beds of pickups carried just-purchased azalea bushes and ready-to-plant weeping cherry trees.
People, working to clean out flower beds, got dirt under their nails and rejoiced.
Neighbors gathered for impromptu barbecues, and some folks took advantage of the balmy weather to put away wind-battered Christmas decorations. Sun-loving dogs sprawled in the ever-greening grass, soaking up the rays.
Gleefully, people pulled sandals, sleeveless shirts, and shorts out of closets and drawers.
And along a downtown Toledo street, riffs of daffodils bloomed bright yellow, a cheery spring welcome indeed.
-- Staff writers Mike Sigov and Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.
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