Record-high temperatures melt memories of winter’s cold

10dsn Spring standalone 001b by .

Children from Wesley Preschool in Dover walk with a spring in their step as they stroll past City Hall on their way to the Dover Public Library for a Wednesday morning book to read. A high temperature near 80 might be a weather record for the date. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — Springlike temperatures scampered into Delaware Wednesday, batting at records and luring people away from sweater-draped office chairs.

At 2:58 p.m. Dover Air Force Base registered a temperature of 79 degrees, unofficially tying the daily record set in 2000, according to data at www.usclimatedata.com.

Farther north, a record was broken in Wilmington. In Georgetown, a record was tied.

“While Dover is not one of the official weather stations for the National Weather Service, I can tell you at this point this afternoon we have broken a record high in Wilmington that dates back to 1894,” said meteorologist Lance Franck, out of the Mount Holly, New Jersey, office in a conversation around 1:30 p.m.

He offered a caveat since it still was early afternoon: The temperature could go higher than the 75 degrees recorded shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday. The previous record was 74, set in 2000.

In fact, the temperature hit 81 degrees at 1:51 p.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the record high of 76 in Georgetown, set in 1964, was tied at 2:54 p.m.

Since Dover does not have an official NWS station, Mr. Franck said he wouldn’t be able to confirm any records broken in the capital city.

Readings at Dover Air Force Base, though, can be found at w1.weather.gov/obhistory/KDOV.html. It lists the 79 degree reading at 2:58 p.m.

This week’s warmer-than-usual weather — the average March temperature for central Delaware is around 52 degrees — can be attributed to the jet stream playing well with a high pressure off the Atlantic coast.

“We had a pretty big ridge in the jet stream along the Eastern seaboard (working) in concert in with a high pressure offshore,” Mr. Franck said. Together, they brought up warmer air from the South.

“The high is close enough to provide for fair weather to reach its full potential,” he concluded.

Still, the March lion may have a bit of a whimper left.

“A cold front is slowly approaching from the West, more like a cool front,” Mr. Franck said.

Temperatures will remain above average, he said, with today’s being in the upper 70s and slowly falling to the mid-60s on Friday.

“The average temperature is around 52 degrees so 60 still is above normal,” Mr. Franck said.

Spring officially arrives at 12:30 a.m. March 20, but Mr. Franck isn’t prepared to say the month will go out like a lamb.

However, he isn’t expecting “any real cold air” over the next seven days.

“Looking ahead, in terms of the next two weeks, in general, the temperatures will be above average and precipitation average,” he said, citing data from the weather service’s Climate Data Center.

“I’m not saying we can’t have a cold snap,” he said, “but it’s a nice thought.”

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