In the midst of a dry, warm year, Saturday turned out wet and cool, cool enough to set records. To the delight of many, Saturday saw heavy rain, light rain, drizzle and fog.

It seemed reminiscent of late April or May, of springtime and showers, instead of a searing, sizzling July in which the mercury has hit 100 degrees six times.

By Saturday evening, the official National Weather Service thermometer at Reagan National Airport had barely broken 70 degrees all day.

Despite the traditional weekend hope for fair weather, people seemed grateful for grayness, pleased with precipitation, glad of a break from the burning sun.

“What a most glorious & soothing weather day,” read a comment sent to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather gang Web site.

“Even though it’s the weekend,” read another post, and “though I am inside watching the rain, I find this weather absolutely glorious.” Another comment read: “Love the rain. Need the rain.”

More than merely pleased, a resident of the Michigan Park section of the District wrote, “It can’t get any better than this!”

An appeal to the record books showed the day’s distinction. In all of Washington’s recorded weather history, never had the thermometer failed to reach at least 74 degrees on July 21. But by midnight, the high temperature for the day was 71 and it set a record.

At Dulles International Airport, the mercury rose no higher Saturday than 69 degrees. That was a first for the date. In 1984 the high temperature for July 21 had been only 75 degrees. That was a record, but it was broken Saturday by six degrees.

By early evening about one-fifth of an inch had fallen at National, but more had come down in many localities. Baltimore reported 1.2 inches.

Many commenters refused to complain about what might have seemed dreary. In fact, one wrote, “ I love it! Ill take this any day over the blistering heat and drought.”

“Wahoo!” a southern Maryland resident exclaimed online. The rain “will help my stressed maple,” the comment continued. “And me.”