Record-breaking heat in the metropolitan area brought thousands of people into the parks and streets for a second consecutive day yesterday, but some expressed regret that summer has arrived without having given spring a chance.
The National Weather Service reported that the thermometer reached 90 degrees at 1:26 p.m. in National Airport, surpassing the old record of 83 degrees for the day set in 1965.
Bob Werner of the National Weather Service forecast warm, sunny days and fair, mild nights through Thursday. He declined to describe the last two days as having been unusually hot, recalling that last April metropolitan Washington had five consecutive days of over 90-degree temperatures.
Werner said it was not unusual that the temperature rose rapidly during the morning hours as has been the case the last two days. Yesterday the thermometer shot up 16 degrees between 8 and 10 a.m.
The Weather Service said the sudden heat was due to the warm, southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico and to the lack of a cloud cover.
Whatever the reasons, it was hot and Washingtonians showed a good deal of imagination and some lack of logic in dealing with it.
A group of young boys had passed up a chance to go swimming in a nearby pool and found themselves bouncing a basketball around Lincoln Park. They seemed exhausted from their efforts and were reconsidering their decision.
Over in Anacostia, several dozen youths were gathering for an afternoon long concert by the Sounds of Distinction band. The beer was starting to flow and everyone expressed joy over the weather, but an even greater source of happiness seemed to stem from the fact that school was out for the week.
Robert Fishman, a premed sophomore at George Washington University, had just come from a water life saving course and was taking in the sun on West Potomac Park in his blue and red bathing suit as bare-chested joggers (all male) whizzed by. Asked how a premed student could spare the time to lie in the sun, he replied that he could not but had decided to do so anyway.
Frank Pinto is one of the thousands of people who decided that this is a good time of year to pack the children into the car and show them they U.S. capital, but yesterday afternoon he seemed full of regrets.
An employee with the Pennsylvania State Senate, Pinto drove down from Philadelphia with his two daughters Monday night and was caught by surprise by the heat.
"We were poorly prepared for this in terms of the clothes we brought," said Pinto, who seemed properly enough dressed in a sports shirt and slacks, at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. He described his two daughters, who had momentarily disappeared into the rest room, as being "appalled" bu the heat.
An employee at the Visitor Center, asked if the heat had reduced the number of tourists visiting the cemetery, laughed and said: "They come rain or snow or hail. Nothing keeps them aways, nothing."