So rare as a day in ... when?

It was the perfect spring day -- except it was January.

Children tumbled in the grass. Friends sat on porches, chatting and strumming guitars. People puttered in the garden, eyeing flower buds and new shoots. Many said that they enjoyed the pleasant weather but that they found it a little strange.


"It's beautiful, but it's freaky," said Beth Graham, 32. The Bolton Hill resident had taken her Christmas tree to the city's temporary tree-recycling center set up in the parking lot of Polytechnic Institute.

"I'm from Georgia -- this is how winter is supposed to be," said her companion, Ryan Wilson, 24.


"I'm from upstate New York -- and winter is not supposed to be like this," Graham said.

Yesterday, the mercury hit 71 degrees at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, just a degree shy of the record set in 1950 and a whopping 30 degrees higher than the average high temperature for yesterday, according to Brian La Sorsa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

January is usually the coldest month in the Baltimore area, he said. Although recent average global temperatures are higher than they were a century ago, this winter's warmth cannot be directly linked to global warming, he said.

Today should be cooler, with a high around 56 degrees and rain by the evening, he said. By Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures are expected to dip into the 20s.

"My two sisters-in-law left for Florida yesterday," said Irvina Greeley, 70, as she sat on the porch of her Medfield home. "I thought, 'Ha, ha, ha. I've got the Florida weather here.'"

In a way, she's right. An area of high pressure lingering over the Southeast has been drawing warm air from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, La Sorsa explained. Once that area of high pressure weakens, cooler air will roll in.

Greeley took advantage of the weather by hanging her laundry to dry in the sun. The wind whipped two rows of white sheets and T-shirts in her backyard. While they dried, she knelt to inspect daffodil stalks peeping out of the earth.

"Even the leaves on my tree are popping out," said Greeley, pointing to the maple that she had planted with her father more than 50 years ago.


Sisters Miranda and Mya Tyler giggled and chased each other in the sun while their mother chatted with friends in front of a high-rise apartment building in lower Charles Village. "I feel like flying," said 9-year-old Miranda, her arms spread wide to the wind.

Some adults used the warm Saturday to clean up. People brought 434 Christmas trees to the Baltimore Department of Public Works tree-recycling center at Polytechnic Institute, said employee Tonya Simmons. The air was thick with the scent of pine, and the workers' hands were sticky with sap.

Some people who dropped off trees took bags of mulch home. The remaining mulch will be used in parks and community gardens, Simmons said.

Workers will be accepting trees from city residents today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

"This is the point when you can get rid of everything and put your house back in order," said Dwayne Wallace, 46, as he and son Warren Lloyd, 16, unloaded their Christmas tree.

In Hampden, Brett Schwering, 31, a brown fedora perched on his head, bowed a fiddle on the front porch of his home while his roommate, Matt Baker, 31, strummed the guitar.


A third roommate, Alexia Savold, 29, knitted gloves while the men played a song they called "The One That I Love is Gone." The neighbor's wind chimes and the rumble of traffic on Falls Road blended with the music.

Farther up Falls Road, Sharan Pena, 36, unwrapped strands of colored lights from the porch railing of her rowhouse. Her sons and their friends stood on the porch, chatting and whistling at a woman who jogged by wearing shorts.

Back in the yard of her Medfield home, Greeley listened to birds warbling in nearby bushes. "They think it's springtime," she said. "Maybe we won't have a hard freeze, but, oh, I don't know. ... I never thought I'd say this, but I wouldn't mind a little winter."