Blue skies and bright sunshine were predicted for Washington today as thousands prepared to end a long weekend and celebrate Memorial Day by hearing a concert at the Capitol, attending patriotic ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery and participating in traffic jams on the Chesapeake Bay bridge.
In a meteorologically suitable conclusion to the weekend that marks the unofficial arrivial of summer, temperatures here are expected to touch the 90-degree mark today for the first time this year.
As it was for the first two sparkling days of the three-day holiday period, the weather was expected to be ideal for stay-at-home families taking advantage of Washington's parks and for the thousands of area residents sprawling on the sands at Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach.
Many of those at the shore arrived in the 63,765 vehicles that crossed the Chesapeake Bay bridge, headed east, Friday and Saturday.
Some of them, according to bridge police, began returning to Washington yesterday. Tradition calls for an even larger homeward migration, with attendant delays, today.
Although precise figures were unavailable, Sgt. Jay Hancock of the Ocean City Police Department said a "good [sized] crowd" was on hand this weekend.
With the fine weather, he added, most visitors "people seem to be taking advantage of the beach," and offering few problems to police.
In keeping with Memorial Day tradition, Vice President Bush is scheduled to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11 a.m. and deliver remarks in the Arlington Cemetery amphitheater as part of an observance honoring the nation's war dead.
Another memorial observance will be held at the Alexandria National Cemetery in Alexandria at 11 a.m., and a Memorial Day Parade is to begin in Bowie at 2 p.m. on Stoneybrook Drive.
On the west lawn of the Capitol, the National Symphony Orchestra will give a free concert at 8 p.m., led by Maxim Shostakovich, who defected in April from the Soviet Union.
An All-African Cultural Festival is scheduled for Meridian Hill Park between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
All federal, state and local government offices in Virginia and the District of Columbia will be closed today for the holiday, which originally honored those who died in the Civil War.
In Maryland, county offices in Montgomery and Prince George's counties will be closed. State offices will be open, but will be closed Friday in observance of the holiday.
All area banks and schools will be closed today.
Trash removal will be on regular schedule except in the District, Montgomery County and Falls Church. In the District and Falls Church, trash pickups normally scheduled for today will be made tomorrow. Tuesday pickup will be made Wednesday.
In Mongtomgery, collections normally scheduled today will be made the next regularly scheduled pickup day.