Toledoans bask in hint of spring

Nancy Thomas of Toledo, with her dog Jade, joins her son Tyler Thomas, 12, as he puts his Christmas-gift fishing rod to the test at International Park across from downtown.
Nancy Thomas of Toledo, with her dog Jade, joins her son Tyler Thomas, 12, as he puts his Christmas-gift fishing rod to the test at International Park across from downtown.

Springlike weather that graced greater Toledo on Saturday lured people into doing things they usually would not think of in mid-January, including fishing, pick-up basketball, and even eating ice cream outdoors.

Winter's brief respite was expected to end today, however, and heavy rain accompanying a cold front forecast to pass through northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan brought with it the threat of minor flooding along some of the region's rivers.

Tyler Thomas, 12, of Toledo, took advantage of Saturday's warm weather to try out a fishing rod that he got for Christmas.

"My grandpa caught a 24-inch pike a few years ago, so it has been my dream to catch a pike ever since," the seventh-grade student at Longfellow Elementary School said between casting minnows into the Maumee at International Park. 

He said his mother, Nancy Thomas, 33, of Toledo, a secretary for a construction company, told him a couple of days ago it was supposed to be nice out Saturday so he asked her if he could go fishing and she took him down to the park.

"Hope I get something today, because if I don't it's coming out of your paycheck," he said with a grin, half-turning to his mother, who was looking on.

The Thomases were just two of many attracted outdoors by unusually mild temperatures and, after early-morning rain, dry skies.

The mercury topped out at 58 degrees Saturday afternoon at Toledo Express Airport, 59 in Adrian, 60 in Defiance, and 61 in Findlay, Lima, and Monroe, according to the National Weather Service. The Toledo high was 26 degrees above normal for the date, though well short of the record high of 64 degrees.

In South Toledo's Highland Park, Brandon Phillips, 8, a third-grader at Oregon's Lake Elementary School, darted down a skate ramp on a scooter. He took a nasty-looking fall, but hopped right back up.

"It's a little slick out here today," Brandon said when asked if he had tried any new tricks. "I can't do the flips yet, but I will someday."

Joe Phillips, 33, of Oregon, said his son had been sick with the flu until Friday, so his parents decided to take him to the park Saturday to enjoy the warm weather.

Nearby, a group of young men played basketball.

"We are trying to get as much exercise today as we can. In a minute, I'll be playing football," said Myron Coley, 18, a recent Woodward High School graduate. "Hopefully, the weather [doesn't change by] tomorrow so we can get out here and play some more."

That wish appeared likely to go unfulfilled. The National Weather Service expected rain to return to the region late Saturday and be heavy at times overnight, with minor flooding forecast for parts of the Blanchard, Auglaize, and St. Mary's rivers south and southwest of Toledo.

With up to 1-1/2 inches of rain expected, a flood watch was posted for the rest of northwest Ohio for the risk of urban street flooding as well as rising creeks and streams.

By late today, falling temperatures were expected to cause the rain to change to snow, although without significant accumulations predicted. Throughout the coming work week, forecasters expected dry weather and daily highs within a few degrees of freezing.

A longer-range forecast from AccuWeather, Inc., a private forecasting service in State College, Pa., suggested even colder weather could develop in the Toledo area next weekend.

Warmer weather's full-time return can't happen soon enough to satisfy Lily Hinkleman, 6, of Perrysburg, who ate a strawberry ice cream at O-Deer Diner in Perrysburg in the company of her mother and younger sister.

"I miss summer," the Toth Elementary School kindergartner said. "I like it more when it's hot."

Blade staff writer David Patch contributed to this report.

Contact Mike Sigov at: or 419-724-6089.