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Residents take advantage of warm weather

November 30, 1999|By ERIN JULIUS

When David Whipp heard that Saturday would bring sunny and warm weather, he just had to take advantage and get in a round of golf.

Whipp, of Frederick, Md., drove to the Frederick Golf Club, but couldn't find a parking spot. He came out to Hagerstown to walk Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run, the city's municipal golf course, with Edmundo Sierra.

Sierra, of Hagerstown, took up golf in August, and it's been warm enough this winter for him to golf nearly every weekend since he started.

In Hagerstown, Saturday's high of 66 degrees tied record highs for the date set in 1950 and 1988, according to www.i4weather.net, a Web site maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

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Record high temperatures also were recorded Saturday in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and other cities in the Northeast.

Temperatures were expected to drop Saturday night and remain mild, but cooler, today.

Black Rock Golf Course was packed from the moment it opened at 8 a.m., said Donnie Branch, an assistant at the golf pro shop.

"It's exceptional to see play like that on a January day," he said.

The golf course at Beaver Creek Country Club is open every day unless snow covers the ground, but Saturday was the busiest day of the winter, said Neil Kennedy, an assistant golf professional.

Men wearing khaki shorts and polo shirts walked through the nine holes at Hagerstown's municipal course.

Ron Bond, the course's golf shop attendant, expected about 60 people would golf Saturday. On an average winter day, three or four people golf, Bond said.

At City Park in Hagerstown, cars filled the parking lots.

Families packed the playground, and couples strolled hand-in-hand along the walking path.

Julie Hodge, her 13-month-old daughter, Sarah, and their terrier watched geese and ducks circle the lake.

"I wanted to come out because it's just so darn nice," Hodge said.

They drove from Martinsburg, W.Va., because Hodge didn't know of another park in the area. She found directions to City Park on the Internet, Hodge said.

After their jaunt through the park, Hodge planned to celebrate the warm weather with a trip to an ice cream parlor.

People should enjoy the warm weather while it lasts because eventually, a cold spell will settle over the area, said John Feerick, a meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

Temperatures have been well above average for about a month, but colder air should filter in later this week, Feerick said.

By the end of January into February, Feerick said he expects average, or even below-average, temperatures in the area.

Fluffy white stuff should fall out of the sky at some point this winter, Feerick said.

"A whole winter without snow would be a spectacular feat," he said.

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