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First day of spring turns into scorcher

March 21, 2012
By AMANDA WHISTLE , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The calendar said Tuesday was the first day of spring, but temperatures made it feel as though spring had sprung into summer, as schoolchildren went outside for recess, public works crews tackled warm-weather projects and residents flooded an ice-cream stand eager for relief.

A record high of 78 degrees was recorded at Albany International Airport on Tuesday, breaking the 74-degree record from 1903. The 51-degree low temperature also was the highest low since 1903, when it was 49 degrees.

"The jet stream has just really been abnormally far north and so we have had this high -ressure system off the Atlantic seaboard. Being on the west side of the center of high pressure, that's allowed the southwest winds to filter in warmer air from the south," said Kimberly McMahon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

Article Photos

Terak Brown, 2, of Gloversville, eats an ice cream cone Tuesday while sitting on the lap of his cousin, Alicia Morin, 18, of Johnstown, at Udderly Delicious in Johnstown.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

After a mild winter, Department of Public Works crews have been able to tackle several tasks, since they're not busy clearing snow and ice. In Gloversville, the mechanical street sweeper already is at work, cleaning up a winter's worth of sand.

Udderly Delicious opened on Saturday for the season and was mobbed on Tuesday. Vickey Skiff, who owns Udderly with her husband, Jim, said usually they have to clear snow from the property before opening. This year, they had to turn on the air conditioning inside. Usually, they turn on the heat.

"That's a first ever," Skiff said. "It's usually kind of cold - still in the 30s and 40s."

Customers lined up in shades and shorts in perfect ice cream weather.

Vickey Skiff said opening weekend is always busy regardless of the weather.

"I've got phenomenal help," she said, with five employees working the day shift and six at night.

For Donna Roach of Gloversville and her granddaughter, Alicia Morin of Johnstown, a cone at Udderly when the ice cream stand opens is a yearly tradition.

"There's usually still a bunch of snow," Morin said. "It feels like we should be out on a boat already."

Chris Puciato, who owns the hot dog stand next to Udderly Delicious on North Comrie Avenue, said the weather helped him open more than a month earlier than normal.

"The earliest time I ever started before was April 24," he said.

The sunshine seemed to be keeping everyone in high spirits, he said.

"Everybody seems like they're in very good moods," Puciato said. "This is the beginning of summer as far as I'm concerned."

Tim Burton and his 3-year-old daughter Noelle were having a hot dog and ice cream at Udderly Delicious to commemorate the unusual March weather.

Burton was hoping the hottest first day of spring on record would mark a milestone in Noelle's life with her first bike ride, he said.

Highs in the mid- to upper 70s are expected today, and Thursday's highs are expected in the upper 70s and low 80s, McMahon said.

"But then we're going to have a front move through that's going to filter some cooler air in from the north," McMahon said.

Friday will be a bit cooler in the upper 60s and lower 70s, and Saturday and Sunday temperature will drop to the mid- to upper 50s, McMahon said.

But that's still warmer than usual, she noted.

"Our normal values are still in the upper 40s, so it'll be cooler but still warmer than usual for this time of year," she said.

Amanda Whistle can be reached at



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