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They freeze while we fry

Citizen Staff Writer



Coast-to-coast shock waves from an eastern snowstorm Monday bypassed southern Arizona, where record heat had people scampering for shade and grasping for water bottles.

The East Coast was paralyzed by snow and ice from North Carolina to Maine, but in Tucson it was all sun and heat. Monday’s 91 degrees tied a daily record set in 1910, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s a bit hotter than I needed up there in the sun,” said retired teacher Louise Williamson, 76, who was cooling off behind the bleachers at Hi Corbett Field, where the Colorado Rockies hold spring training.

The high in Portland, Maine, near Williamson’s hometown of Jefferson, was 22 degrees Monday. There was a 50 percent chance of snow there over night.

“I’m escaping all that,” Williamson said.

Others were not.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled just in New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Schools from South Carolina to Maine canceled classes, and it was the first snow day in New York City in more than five years. (Story on Page 9A)

The reason for Tucson’s heat and the East’s storm is the same – pressure zones.

When a high pressure zone hangs over Tucson – like the one we have causing our heat – a corresponding low-pressure trough hangs eastward, said Tucson weather service meteorologist Steve Reedy.

“Weather tends to be much more active in a trough,” he said.

Though thousands of flights were halted in Eastern cities, none were canceled at Tucson International Airport because there are no direct flights to the East Coast, said Karen Garmon of the Tucson Airport Authority.

But travelers should beware of cancellations or delays if they are heading east, Garmon said.

A nasty mix of ice, wind, and snow in the Northeast inconvenienced travelers all the way across the country. Flights were canceled or delayed up to two hours Monday out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, according to The Arizona Republic.

A cold snap sandwiched between two heat waves kept February from ranging into even hotter territory in Tucson, according to a monthly roundup by Weather Service meteorologist Jim Glueck.

The first week of February was 10 degrees above average, Glueck reported.

But from Feb. 8-18, temperatures dipped to 7 degrees below normal. Temperatures soared again after that, with Feb. 23 topping out at the second-warmest February day in recorded Tucson history at 91 degrees.

Though we might cool off a degree or two this week, the heat wave will continue for Tucson, Reedy said.

“We’ll still be much above average,” he said.

The winter has not been good to Tucson where rainfall is concerned. Glueck’s winter roundup shows the city is 0.68 inch behind normal since Dec. 1.

Though things will generally dry up from April until summer, we might still get some winter rain, said Eric Pytlak, science operations officer for the Weather Service in Tucson.

“We do still have a chance of getting a pretty significant bout of precipitation as we move into March,” Pytlak said during a briefing at the University of Arizona on Monday.

But the heat will continue to be a blessing for spring training visitors and Tucsonans. The forecast calls for temperatures at least 10 degrees above normal through Wednesday.

Rockies fans Ivonne Boelkins, 56, and husband Charles, 56, have been coming to the spring big league spectacle for eight years. This year is the warmest the couple from Albuquerque, N.M., remembers, Charles Boelkins said.

“We thought it would be nice to come to Tucson. We didn’t realize we were coming into the inferno,” he said.

Citizen reporters Garry Duffy, Arianna Hermosillo and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

High of 91 here ties a record; meanwhile East Coast slammed by snowstorm

Continued from 1A

February by the numbers

• 91 degrees, highest temperature (Feb. 23, second highest February temperature on record, warmest spot in nation this day)

• 32, lowest temperature (Feb. 14)

• 0.56 of an inch of rain (0.88 of an inch is normal)

• 16th warmest February on record

Winter by the numbers

• 2.22 inches of rain (2.90 inches is normal)

• 69.2 degrees average temperature (3.4 degrees above normal)

• Trace of snow (Feb. 10, first snowfall since 2001)

Forecast highs for Tuesday

Tucson 87

Portland, Maine 26

New York 28

Washington, D.C. 29

Raleigh, N. C. 32

Atlanta 47

Source: National Weather Service

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