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Maryland weather: Temperatures could approach 80 on first day of spring

Spring begins with the vernal equinox at about 11:49 p.m. Thursday. And a significant warm-up is forecast to come along with it in the Baltimore area.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the lower 70s Thursday afternoon, amid rainy weather, and then perhaps remain around 60 degrees through the night. Gloomy and breezy conditions are expected to continue into the first full day of spring Friday, when temperatures could approach 80 degrees.

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For now, the National Weather Service projects a high temperature around 78 degrees Friday at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. It hasn’t been as warm at the region’s point of record since Oct. 27.

The equinox marks the beginning of what is known as astronomical spring (as opposed to meteorological spring, which began March 1).

Earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees, but at the equinox, it is oriented such that Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres are getting equal sunlight. In the northern hemisphere, sunlight keeps increasing until the summer solstice June 20.

The equinox also means the sun rises and sets at roughly due east and due west, and that the length of day and night are roughly equal. But because nature’s clock and human time-keeping don’t line up perfectly, day and night aren’t precisely 12 hours on the equinox.

Here in Baltimore, that was closest to being true on Monday, when the sun was up for about 30 seconds shy of 12 hours. By Friday, that will increase to 12 hours and 10 minutes.

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