March to 89 is a record

March 31, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

After a winter that seemed more like spring much of the season, the Tri-State area appears to have launched into spring with temperatures more worthy of summer.

The high temperature on Monday was 89 degrees, a record both for March 30 and for the month of March, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

"It's not unheard of. It's just a nice, hot period," said John Billet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Billet said temperatures will remain in the 80s today and Wednesday before dropping to more normal levels by the end of the week.

Tri-State area residents took advantage of the balmy weather to wash cars, mow lawns and frolic in the sun.

Louise Rohrer and her husband, who were watching the ducks in Hagerstown City Park Monday afternoon, said they avoid the park during the winter. But with the warm weather of the last few days, she said they couldn't help but take advantage of the sunshine.


They were not the only ones.

"We were out here two days ago and you could hardly walk around because of all the children. There were hundreds of them," Rohrer said.

The scene was similar throughout Martinsburg, W.Va., on Monday.

At Rock Hill Creamery, at 313 S. Queen St., owner Gary Miller spent the day scooping cones and sundaes. The ice cream parlor, closed since December, opened for the season on Saturday.

"The whole weekend was great," Miller said. "We planned the reopening for this weekend way back in January with no idea what the weather would be like and it's been fantastic."

Barry Davidson and his 11-year-old daughter, Sara, took advantage of the weather by playing basketball on South Louisiana Avenue.

They both agreed the heat has its advantages, although they wondered what happened to spring.

For those who had to work outside on Monday, the heat was challenging. Franklin County (Pa.) Fire Chief Jeff Clopper said two firefighters who battled an apartment blaze in Guilford Township were taken to the hospital for heat-related problems. They were treated and released.

The face of another firefighter, Bill King, was flushed and covered with sweat and he was breathing hard. Working outside on a day when the temperature is well into the 80s is tough enough, but battling a fire while wearing heavy gear makes it exhausting.

"It's too hot to be doing this," the Marion, Pa., firefighter said as he took a breather sitting on the back of a company fire engine.

The sharp spike in temperatures has been tough on outdoor animals. Rhonda Replogle, of Rhonda Replogle Quarter Horses, said her horses sweated on Monday.

"They're minding it. Some of them didn't really get their winter coats off yet," she said.

Replogle, who raises about 60 horses just east of Clear Spring, said she made sure to get them extra water during the day. That went for her, too, she said.

"I've had plenty of liquids today. It's been coming out of my pores and I've been putting it back in my system," she said.

Those who got to play outdoors, though, discovered the big difference between 89 degrees in March and 89 degrees in the dead of summer. Humidity was a low 30 percent.

A cool breeze also helped cushioned them from the heat.

"It doesn't feel quite as warm," said John Banzhoff, who was preparing to hit the links at Municipal Golf Course for the first time this year.

"It helps when you're playing good, too," added his wife, Brenda.

Monday's high of 89 degrees surpassed the previous March record by 1 degree, according to Hagerstown weather records that date back to 1898. The previous mark was 88 degrees, shared by March 22 and 23 in 1907.

That news came as no surprise to several people lounging in City Park.

"I know it's hot enough," said Lanvale Street resident James Tosten, as he used his baseball cap to wipe a bead of sweat from his eyebrow.

Tosten's friend, Jessica Niswander, said her daughter enjoyed the park. Still, she said she'd rather be inside on a day like Monday.

"It's too hot for me," she said.

Tosten pondered that for a second and then disagreed.

"I wish it was like this all year round," he said.

Despite the beautiful weather, Sid and Kathy Spurlock appeared to have Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) National Historical Park to themselves Monday afternoon.

The couple, from Virginia Beach, Va., were at Harpers Ferry on their honeymoon. Kathy Spurlock, 37, formerly of Hagerstown, and Sid Spurlock, 39, got married on Saturday.

"This is nice. The only thing missing is the leaves on the trees to make it summer," Sid Spurlock said.

Debra Comerford, 27, and George Doss, 34, both of Leesburg, Va., sat in a Jeep with the top down and watched the sun sparkle on the Shenandoah River.

"We were just out driving around and saw the signs to Harpers Ferry and decided to come here," Doss said.

"I'm glad we came here. It's beautiful," Comerford said.

Staff Writers Don Aines, Clyde Ford and Amy Wallauer contributed to this story.

The Herald-Mail Articles