Yesterday was long lines to the out-door flower cart on Connecticut Avenue, children with bright blue balloons at the zoo, pretty girls in skirts that caught the light breeze, old men standing on corners again, joggers running in shorts, leisurely bike rides, and what looked like everybody bringing out cameras to take pictures.

The warmest daytime temperatures in over two snow-filled months stirred the city's heart, lifted off heavy over-coats and seemed to draw every living thing outdoors, including the zoo's panda bear, giraffe, elephant and rhinoceros.

Rain and cloudy skies are forecast for most of today by the National Weather Service but yesterday was so warm, 55 degrees, and sunny that the giraffe, elephant, panda and rhinoceros were allowed to roam in outdoor cages for the first time since the winter began, according to a policewoman at the zoo.

"I woke up," said Roxanne Perugino, who was taking a long walk through Rock Creek Park with her friend Barbara Wolf, "I saw the sun and called her and told her, "It's such a nice day, let's go for a walk."

Sally Brucker of Washington jogged around DuPont Circle while her daughter played checkers with a friend at one of the stone checkerboard tables in the park.

"This is the first time I've ever been jogging," said Brucker who was dressed in a blue jogging suit. The jogging suit is my father-in-law's.I woke up and just got inspired to run. I didn't feel like sitting at home and didn't have time to go out to the country, so I came running."

Brucker's 7-year-old daughter, Nicole Brucker-Cohen, said she hadn't expected to be playing outside yesterday.

"I thought it might snow," she said. "It has snowed a lot. But I went outside and started sweating. It made me feel like happy, like spring."

Nicole's friend, Irisol Talento, 6, said yesterday's weather was "okay."

But yesterday's warm weather was more than "okay," to some persons who began wondering if spring had finally arrived.

"The kids had never seen the panda," said Bob Vickers of Great Falls, "and we just wanted to get out. It seems spring has finally arrived. So we decided to go to the zoo, maybe do some sight-seeing in Washington."

But Charlie Chilston, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said spring is not here. Not yet.

"Weexpect mild temperatures for the next few days," Chilton said. "But it's too early to say we won't get another cold snap."

Chilton said today should be about as warm as yesterday but a light rain, that he predicted would begin late last night, should last through the morning and into early afternoon. He said clouds will hover over the Washington area all of today.

After consulting his record book, Chilton said yesterday's temperatures were the highest daytime temperatures since Dec. 27, when the high was 59 degrees. He noted the area has had higher temperatures since then but that high mark occurred during the night on Jan. 7 and 26.

"It was a hard winter," said Jack Holmead of Washington, as he sat on a park bench in DuPont Circle yesterday. "No question, I think it was a hard, cold winter. This is the nicest day in quite a while, I haven't seen it like this for months."

To celebrate the nice weather yesterday James Chambers, who works as a loborer at the zoo, opened all four doors to his blue 1977 automobile, pulled out the black rubber floor mats and hosed the car down with water in the zoo parking lot. He had the radio blaring out top-10 hits from inside the car and wore only an undershirt and pants.

"It's so nice I'm going to be out later," he said, "riding around. I figured I put a shine on her so she could be as pretty as today."