The plastic Santas were on display behind the "DECK THE HALLS SALE" sign outside Frank's Nursery & Crafts in Severna Park, and from where they stood one could see the bank thermometer next door: 82 degrees at 1:35 p.m. As the woman in the post office said, "Crazy weather."
Folks were talking about it yesterday in the post office and on the street. People were leaving work early because they could hear their golf clubs beckoning.
All because the 1973 record temperatures of 77 degrees at Baltimore-Washington Airport, 80 degrees downtown were shattered yesterday by noon: 79 at BWI, 82 downtown.
It wasn't the ozone hole, El Nino, sunspots or anything mysterious, said Fred Davis, the meteorologist in charge at BWI.
"It's almost the same reason we get warm weather in August and September," he said. "High pressure over Bermuda is allowing southwest air in from the gulf."
It wouldn't last, he said. The temperature peaked at noon and a cold front heading this way was poised to drop temperatures into the low 60s today. Back to normal, back to preparing for Thanksgiving, shopping plastic Santas and other usual November activities. And to finding something else to talk about.
Yesterday, folks were talking quite a bit about the weather, said Debbie Silvers, a clerk at the Severna Park Post Office.
"Just about how unusually warm it is for this time of year. How they want to play hooky. That's about the only suggestion I've heard. I wouldn't mind doing that myself."
A customer at the next window said something about "this crazy weather," then Helene Emery of Severna Park stepped up to Ms. Silvers' station and mentioned that she'd just packed away the summer clothes. She'd procrastinated for weeks and finally gotten around to it over the weekend.
"It's great weather, though," she said.
The folks who run the Severna Park Golf Center had already drained and shut off the fountain in the middle of the miniature golf course, putting it to bed for the winter. But when the weather turned warm on Friday, they ran water back into it and let it flow all weekend.
The center is "normally open, but it's normally very slow" this time of year, said the president and owner, George Reich. "We were phenomenally busy yesterday."
Customers played hundreds of rounds of miniature golf, crowded the par-three course and drove thousands of balls at the driving range. And they talked about the weather.
"I like that last weekend we had," said a man at the service window, picking up a bucket of balls and heading for the driving range.
"I understand it's a record," said his companion.
"Pneumonia weather," said another man.
People were talking about it at the Eisenhower Golf Course in Crownsville, where things were busy for a mid-November afternoon.
"Well, if you don't know somebody, what's the best thing to talk about?" said the head pro, Bill Molloy. "You can talk about the weather or NAFTA."
"It's a noncontroversial topic," said the assistant pro, Bruce Moffat, referring to the weather. "It's either cold or it's not."
And how warm was it? Warm enough to find Jonathan Kagan, a clerk for Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Robert Heller Jr. wearing not a suit and tie but shorts and a polo shirt.
He pulled into Eisenhower Golf Course about 2:30, having found he could not work amid the combined distraction of the weather and the fact that he learned yesterday morning he had passed the Maryland Bar Examination.
In early afternoon, said Mr. Kagan, "The judge said 'Take the day off.' . . . It's quite a happy day, so it doesn't matter if I play well or not."