Nation/World

Winter Heat Wave Strikes East, Midwest

People accustomed to shoveling snow in January instead were digging shorts out of storage and going outside to play as much of the country on Friday basked in unseasonably high temperatures.

“It think it’s great. It’s just like springtime,” said West Virginia University graduate student Don Simmons, wearing sandals and shorts n the Morgantown campus.

Mild air spread across much of the Plains and across the East into New England.

The result: Carwashes and golf courses were jammed, movers worked without jackets, restaurants moved tables outdoors, and smokers forced to take their habit outside their offices were in shirtsleeves.

The number of cities breaking high-temperature record stretched from Indiana to New York. Detroit at 62 and New York City at 57 each broke their respective records for the date by 1 degree.

Weather conditions contrasted with a year ago when brutal winter storms repeatedly pounded many areas and sent temperatures plummeting.

“It’s just our reprieve from last winter,” said Phil Zinn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Friday’s peak temperature hit a toasty 71 degrees at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, topping the hottest Jan. 13 on record - 66 in 1972.

“In January, I usually have to drag my way through snow,” said Richard Peacock, a deliveryman for a printing company in Rochester, N.Y., where the mercury hit 65 degrees, 2 degrees shy of the record for the date set in 1972. “This makes my life easier.



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