Mild start to 2005 has region basking in record temperatures

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Flip-flops and shorts gave way to more modest - and heavier - attire yesterday, but who could really complain about the weather after a record-warmth opening day for 2005?

The highs Saturday of 67 degrees at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and 68 at Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia were record-breakers, according to the National Weather Service. And despite a 20-degree dip yesterday, the year's mild beginning is expected to resume.

"We're looking at mild weather all the way through next weekend," said Steve Rogowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va., tempering the balmy outlook with a chance of rain.

"However, there will certainly be some dry periods in there to enjoy the warmer temperatures," he said.

Rogowski said the warmer temperatures arise from a convergence of warm-air and cold-air fronts over Maryland. He said the two fronts are expected to linger, thanks to favorable winds and a benevolent phase of the earth's weather cycle, which in turn is dictated in part by the warming strength of the sun's rays.

Rogowski said daytime temperatures through the weekend are expected to range from the upper 40s to 60.

"It just so happens that this weather pattern is setting up across the Mid-Atlantic, and we are seeing the benefits," he said. "There is cool-season weather occurring at this time but at different locations. As a result of this weather pattern it is cooler in the West."

While Maryland enjoys pleasant weather this month, other parts of the nation have not been so lucky. Rain was scattered from Texas through the Ohio Valley to the Great Lakes yesterday, with snow in parts of New England.

In the West, rain was scattered across parts of California, with snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Saturday's temperatures topped the New Year's Day records of 64 degrees in the Baltimore area and 65 degrees in Washington - both set in 1985.

The Associated Press and the New York Times News Service contributed to this article.

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