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Warmer temperatures expected to continue

January 25, 2002

Warmer temperatures expected to continue



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Smithsburg apple farmer Donald Harding is one person who doesn't look forward to the warm spells we've experienced in the area this winter.

He said a couple of weeks of especially warm weather could confuse the buds on his 70 acre- orchard.

Unseasonably warm weather can force his apple trees to bloom too soon and increase the risk they'll be killed by frost, Harding said.

Harding said his crops are doing well for now but if the weather remains unseasonably warm he might become concerned.

Thursday was the third consecutive day this week the mercury climbed to 50 degrees or higher, said meteorologist Michelle Margraf of the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

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The warm temperatures are the result of "cold air kept up in Canada because the jet stream is further north than normal for the winter," said Margraf.

A high of 57 was recorded in Hagerstown Thursday. The highest temperatures in the area were recorded in Martinsburg, W.Va., where the mercury climbed to 61 degrees. Clear Spring was a close second at 60 degrees.

The high in Waynesboro, Pa. was listed at 55 degrees. Smithsburg recorded a high of 56 degrees and Williamsport, 53 degrees.

The temperature climbed to 56 degrees in Boonsboro Thursday, which isn't unusual, said Barbara Snook, the weather observer there.

"We've had mild winters before," she said.

Snook said some bulbs are pushing up in her yard as a result of the mile weather.

"Usually everything's dead this time of year but I'm seeing some green," she said.

As far as Snook's concerned the warm weather can stick around.

"As long as the sun's shining, I like it," she said.

The warm weather and .48 inches of rain that fell through the day Thursday melted the remains of Saturday's snow and are expected to continue into next week.

Temperatures through Tuesday are predicted to be in the 50s with lows in the 20s and 30s, said Margraf.

There is a chance of rain next Tuesday night but no signs of snow within the next seven days, she said.

Thursday's slow, steady rain gave her flowers a much needed drink, said Snook.

"It was a good rain," she said.

Harding said the recent snow and rain has been good for his apple trees.

"So far so good," he said.

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