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Heat Wave Sets Records from Plains to New England With AM-Record Temps

February 4, 1991

Undated (AP) _ Temperatures rose to T-shirt range Monday on the third day of a heat wave from the northern Plains to New England, threatening ice skating rinks and promoting hooky for a romp in the sun.

″Everyone warned us about the awful, cold, windy winters in Chicago. Obviously they were wrong,″ said Arnie Feinberg, who was visiting the Windy City from West Caldwell, N.J.

Chicago basked at 54, which was not a record.

Sun seekers exchanged winter coats for T-shirts and sunglasses and biked, hiked and strolled in the warmth on New Jersey beach boardwalks and as far north as Boston and upstate New York.

Office employees treated themselves to an extended lunch hour, or even the day off. ″I almost called in sick today,″ said Iona Woods in Boston.

Temperatures hit record or record-tying highs in at least 36 cities in Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Delaware, the National Weather Service said.

Havre, Mont., less than 30 miles from the Canadian border, hit a record 59. Duluth, Minn., on chilly Lake Superior, warmed to a record 46. Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and Baltimore hit records at 69 while Washington hit 70, erasing a record on the books since 1883. Boston hit a record 64.

Craig Allen, a horticulturist at Pike’s Nursery in College Park, Ga., was surprised to see daffodils popping out of the ground two weeks ago. They usually don’t make their appearance until the end of February.

″A customer called ... and said her daffodils are already budding,″ Allen said. ″Daffodils don’t normally bloom until March. That’s the earliest I’ve ever seen daffodils come up here.″

Monday’s sunshine closed some outdoor skating rinks and made ski resort managers nervous.

″I wouldn’t want to see another week of it,″ said Bob Beers, manager of the Blue Hills Ski Area just south of Boston.

It was 46 and rising by noon Monday at the Adirondack Loj, a wilderness lodge 12 miles from Lake Placid in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.

″It’s wreaking havoc on our skiing, but we still are skiing and showshoeing,″ said Dan Groves, a Loj employee. ″Actually there were some guys out yesterday with their shirts off.″

″My kids don’t like it because they want to ski,″ said Joyce Barna of Pittsburgh, where it was 62 at 3:30 p.m. Friday, the high was only 41.

The heat destroyed snow sculptures made for a weekend contest in Buffalo, N.Y., where the temperature tied the record at 57. The average high for the date is 31.

″They flopped over and melted down,″ said Laurie Peter, spokeswoman for a business group that organized the contest. ″We actually took pictures of everyone while they were working, so Sunday the judges could at least see pictures of what everything looked like while they were doing it.″

Tee shots flew Monday at Britton Golf Course near Fishers, Ind. Indianapolis-area golfers were lined up when the course opened at 9 a.m., said pro Chris Lovrine.

In the New York City area, hundreds of sun-worshippers - some of them admittedly AWOL from school or work - flocked to Jones Beach on Long Island to stroll on the boardwalk, bake on lounge chairs, ride bikes and push strollers. Brave ones dipped a toe into the water, which was around 40 degrees.

″It’s a great day to get the cobwebs out of your mind,″ said James Patrick of Locust Valley, who said he had called in sick.

In New York City, the temperature hit a record 68. The previous record for the date, set in 1883, was only 54 and the normal high is around 39.

″It makes me feel better,″ said Andelko Antic, an ironworker who enjoyed lunch in Central Park. ″Wintertime is really depressing.″

In midtown Manhattan, skaters flocked to the Rockefeller Center ice rink, but manager David Meltzer was concerned about the refrigerated surface.

″We can keep the ice to 72 degrees, then it starts to melt a little bit,″ Meltzer said. But he said business triples when the weather warms up.

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