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Spring fever erupts

May 20, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Spring finally lived up to its reputation on Monday.

After weeks of cold, windy weather, the temperature cracked 90 degrees on Monday. The high reached 92 degrees, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's automated weather station.

For people hanging out in Hagerstown City Park Monday afternoon, it was a nice change - even if it was a little too hot.

"It's strange how people complain about the weather," said Elsa Ortiz, who was enjoying the sun with her 21/2-year-old son.

Ortiz said she often gets out early to City Park, which is around the corner from her home. But she said she stayed indoors on Monday until about 3 p.m. because of the heat.

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After a cooler-than-usual spring, however, she said she welcomed the warmth.

"We thought it was too hot today, but considering it's spring and it's been like fall, we love it," Ortiz said.

Others welcomed the warmth with open arms.

Tim McGraw said he took advantage of a day off from work to visit Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Hagerstown. The Cumberland, Md., resident said the heat is a nice change of pace from his home.

"It's real cool up there in that area," he said. "This is wonderful. It gets a little hot in the summer, but you can always find shade."

Penny DeVore said humidity is her only fear. "Ninety's fine as long as it's not too humid," she said. "Then you feel like you can't breathe."

Monday's weather also was ideal weather for about 100 golfers at Municipal Golf Course. Greenskeeper Allen Seacrist said the numbers have fallen off so far this spring because of rain and wind.

"We haven't had a total weekend all spring," he said. Golfers showed up in force on Monday, he said.

Washington County Hospital officials said they had no heat-related cases on Monday. But nurse Johanna Zimmerly cautioned people to take care when the temperature rises.

Zimmerly said people should drink plenty of water or Gatorade during hot weather and seek shade as much as possible.

Zimmerly said the hospital typically does not see heat-related illnesses until it has been hot two or three days in a row.

Temperatures should be "noticeably cooler" today thanks to a cold front coming in from the Great Lakes and Canada, said Alan Nierow, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

It's expected to be clear and breezy with daytime highs in the low 70s, dropping to the upper 40s at night, Nierow said.

Wednesday will be colder, with daytime highs in the low to mid 60s and nighttime lows in the upper 40s, he said.

If Monday seemed hot, it is all a matter of perspective. Last year's temperature for May 19 was a record high - 97 degrees.

Staff Writer Kerry Lynn Fraley contributed to this story.

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