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Baltimore area sees 10th-warmest spring

All that whining about the cold and snow last winter has been answered by one of the warmest springs on record in the Baltimore area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday that it was also one of the warmest March-to-May periods ever across the lower 48 states and around the world.

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Spring officially ends at 8:57 tonight with the arrival of the summer solstice. But for the record-keepers, the statistical spring began March 1 and ended May 31.

That springtime averaged 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, or 3.4 degrees above the 30-year norm, according to the National Weather Service.

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That was enough to place spring 2004 in a tie with the same period in 1910 as the 10th-warmest since record-keeping began in Baltimore in 1871. The warmest was in 1945, with an average of 59.1 degrees.

May was the fourth-warmest on record here, averaging 6.9 degrees above normal.

It's also been wet. Although March was unusually dry, April and May more than made up for it. Springtime rain totaled slightly more than 13 inches at BWI, more than 2 inches above normal.

We weren't alone. Scientists at the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center said temperatures in the contiguous states averaged 2.9 degrees above normal for the same period, making it the third-warmest spring since record-keeping began in 1895.

Alaskans had their warmest May - 4.7 degrees above normal.

Globally, NOAA officials said, spring temperatures over land and water averaged 1 degree above normal, enough to make it the fourth-warmest spring in the northern hemisphere since 1880. Ocean surface temperatures were the fifth-warmest.


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