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Weekend temperatures will near 80

First day of spring is Sunday

POSTED: March 18, 2011 1:03 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Hall County Master Gardener Ruth Brown pulls henbit and other weeds from a garden Thursday at Wilshire Trails Park in Gainesville.

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A summery weekend will usher in the first official day of spring on Sunday while the forecast for today calls for sun and a high of 80.

Forecaster Matt Sena of the National Weather Service said temperatures are "above normal" for this time of year, but not unexpected. The warm weather is the result of a building ridge of high pressure, Sena added.

"We're getting into spring now so it's not unusual to have a few days that are up there."

On this day last year, the high was 49 degrees, according the National Weather Service. A high of 65 is considered normal, and the record high is 84, set in 1963.

Ann Meason, a clerk at a downtown Gainesville shop that sells plants and gifts, said the warm weather has gardeners itching to plant. She plans to spread pine straw in her garden Saturday.

"It's nice because of the terrible winter," she said.

"It appears spring is here and hopefully here to stay. And hopefully there's not another frost; it could be trouble for people who start planting."

Sena said the seven-day forecast calls for warmer weather with a few cool nights, but there's no indication of a freeze in the near future.

"The latest we've had a freeze I think was about April so it's still possible," he added.

Hall County Master Gardener Ruth Brown said the weather has been excellent for plants, but it's also confusing some.

"I have noticed some plants blooming a little earlier than normal," she said. "We also haven't had any cold weather to kill our blooms so we've been lucky this year."

She added that this weekend would be a good time for fertilizing and trimming roses or bushes.

"Just get outside and really enjoy this," she said.
Tonya Stapler, secretary for Under the Bridge Ministry, said warm weather also benefits the ministry, which provides food and shelter to those in need.

"It's easier to get to the low-income community and easier for them to come to us when the weather is nice," she said.

In the square in downtown Gainesville Thursday, Richard Smith was playing gospel music on his guitar, as temperatures rose into the mid-60s. He said he came out for the cherry trees, which are in full bloom.

"I thought it would be a little cooler this time of year, but I'm not complaining," he said.



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