After the cold nights, the lowering skies and the pockets of drenching rain that have plagued the Washington are over the last several days, yesterday - finally - was different. At least for a few hours it was spring, for real.
City residents and workers in downtown offices enjoyed noon hour temperatures in the high 70s, and spent their recesses sitting in parks or taking long strolls.
Only a few miles away, while the city was basking in the sun-splashed day, weather of another kind was hitting Dulles Airport with wind gusts of up to 50 miles an hour. Similar winds passed through Montgomery County and brief, but heavy thunderstorms occured there late in the afternoon.
Spring may have arrived in Washington yesterday, but according to a National Weather Service forecaster, it may not last long.
"It's been peculiar," forecaster Chet Henricksen said. "We've had temperatures very close to normal in March and April but people say spring hasn't arrived. Actually, they just haven't noticed it because things have changed so much from day-to-day."
For example: on March 27, a third straight day of drenching rain brought the three-day precipitation total to 2.43 inches.
The day before, easter Sunday, President Carter was forced to change his plans for attending Easter services because of icy conditions in the Camp David area that affected roads and power lines.
Five days later, on April 1, the Temperature hit 88 degrees in Washington.
Yesterday was not quite as hot, the temperature reaching only 83 degrees. According to Henricksen, it was the first sunny day that has carried high humidity along with warm temperatures.
"The humidity got into the 60s yesterday," Henricksen said. "We've had days with temperatures in the 70s before on a number of occasions but they were dry. People in this area associate spring weather with heat and humidity.
"The last few years we've had a spell in March or April where the temperature got very high, 80s or 90s, with high humidity. People have come to expect that. So they were surprised when we didn't get it earlier this year."
Washington has ridden a roller coaster all year Henricksen said, January turning up wet, February dry, March wet and April dry. May will be wet, he said.
After the 2.43 inches fell the last week in March the total precipitation for April was 1.40 inches, less than half the normal 2.86 inches.
As late as April 27 the southern portion of Virginia was hit by a storm that dropped as much as 9 inches of snow in some places.
The outlook for this part of the country now calls for temperatures in the 70s and 80s the rest of the week and summery rains later this month.
Spring is not only here, it is almost over.
"We've had more spring weather this year than in the last few years," Henricksen said. "Lots of days in the60s and 70s. But not a lot of them together.
"Now we're going to start getting the hot, humid, summer-like days. It's going to get uncomfortable. We've had most of our spring-like weather already."
To emphasize his point, weather records show that cold weather conditions popped up in the area as late as the first in May when overnight temperatures dropped into the 30s. Now, a week in the 80s is predicted.
"I know people have been saying that spring hasn't really arrived but as far as I'm concerned it's been here and by now is about over," Henricksen said. "The moderate weather came last month."
Just in case you don't remember.