Fabulous February Surprise: Sunny skies and temperatures around 70 brought a variety of folks outdoors yesterday to enjoy unusually warm weather.


Never mind that it's mid-February. Decked out in blue shorts and sneakers, Robert C. Barlow of Hollywood on the Severn strolled along Benfield Road in Severna Park yesterday carrying a water bottle and a portable tape player, enjoying a sunny afternoon almost twice as warm as normal.

So did plenty of others in and around Severna Park: About 100 people at Chartwell Golf & Country Club teed off under a clear blue sky; dozens of midafternoon revelers pumped gas in short sleeves and drove off with their car windows open, and a 7-month-old baby whose father planned to play disk golf got her first experience with grass.

"It's a beautiful day," said Jackie A. Hale, a hydrotechnician at the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. The temperature at Baltimore-Washington International Airport about 2 p.m. was 70 degrees, well above the average 37.5 degrees for mid-February, she said.

Barlow was taking a midafternoon walk as a healing measure, he said. A lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department's Eastern District, he had back surgery two weeks ago after suffering a herniated disc putting a drunken man in the back of his police car. Now Barlow, 44, wears a back brace he describes as "an old-time corset" and walks four miles a day -- sometimes indoors on a treadmill -- to help him regain his strength.

"I knew it was going to be nice," he said, because through the drone of mindless television shows his injury has lulled him into watching, he heard the temperatures would top 65.

So he popped a "Jewel" cassette in his tape player, grabbed a bottle of water and a pair of sunglasses and headed out. "I'm in short pants," he said, heading to Severna Park Senior High School. A trip to and from the school is four miles.

Dick Moss and Tom D'Ambrogi found an antidote for work at Chartwell. They teed off about 1: 30 p.m. after working a half-day -- D'Ambrogi at his graphics business in Baltimore and Moss at a medical facility in Prince George's County.

"It's the only day we were going to have nice weather," said club member Moss, 60, of Severna Park, who invited D'Ambrogi, 41, of Annapolis, as his guest.

As they got into a golf cart that would take them to the second hole, the friends said they planned to spend about four hours playing 18 holes of golf.

"It seems about as busy as a summer day," said the club's assistant golf pro, Bob Marks, wearing a short-sleeve shirt. He said that between 120 and 200 people a day golf at the club in the summer, when days are longer.

Marks said the beauty of yesterday's weather was not lost on golfers.

"I hear a lot of comments that this is really something for February," he said.

The weather was really something for red-haired Farron Straitz, who sat on her mother's lap at Kinder Park in Severna Park, smiling through a milk mustache. "She's just experienced grass and leaves for the first time," said her mother, Alanna Straitz, 23.

Jason Straitz, 23, said that while his wife and daughter enjoyed the fresh air, he was waiting for friends to play nine holes of Disk Golf.

The game is similar to golf, except players use different-sized disks and have four chances to toss them specified distances into a metal basket on a pole.

It's the only park with such a facility in Anne Arundel County, and one of only a handful of such courses in the state, according to ZTC Jay Cuccia, chief of special facilities for the county's Department of Recreation and Parks.

Waiting for his friends to arrive, Straitz pondered the weather, looked up at the sky and said, "Love it, love it."

And some hope it won't end. "It's going to be disappointing to find out the weather's going to turn back to cold," said Barlow.

The nice weather could hold a while longer. Temperatures are expected to reach 50 degrees in the Baltimore area today, according to Hale of the weather service.

Pub Date: 2/20/97

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad