- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2005

The unusually warm temperatures drew scores of residents and tourists to the Mall yesterday to enjoy the monuments or relax on the grassy knoll.

“I put in a pair of shorts when I was packing and said to myself, ‘Fat chance,’” said Ed Schlechty, 52, of Columbus, Ohio, with Cindy Bernlohr, 48, as they looked at the statue of Albert Einstein across Constitution Avenue from the Lincoln Memorial.

“It’s a perfect day,” said Betsy McCallon, 28, of Southwest, who was lying on a blanket, reading a book on the grassy lawn on the West Front of the Capitol. “It’s a little eerie.”

The 75-degree temperature yesterday made shorts and short-sleeved shirts comfortable apparel. A year ago, the high temperature was 57 degrees, considered more normal for early November.

“It’s a pretty good day to be here, especially in November,” said Wesley Hill, 25, of Nottingham, Md., lying on the warm concrete while his wife went inside the Lincoln Memorial.

“This is the second time I’ve been out here. The first time, it started out pretty nice and then it got rainy. And that was in May,” Mr. Hill said.

Forecasters were predicting a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms last night, and a much stronger chance of rain on Thursday. Daytime temperatures are expected to remain in the 70s through the week.

“We’re surprised. We enjoy it,” said Rudolf Fury, 74, with his wife, Eva, 72, who were on their way to the Botanical Gardens.

“We probably wouldn’t” have come downtown if typical November weather had existed yesterday, said Mr. Fury, who emigrated from Hungary about 30 years ago to live near downtown Silver Spring and the Sligo Avenue neighborhood park.

“We probably would have gone to Sligo,” he said.

The sunny atmosphere pleased Pat Weeks, 50, of Red Bay, Ala., as she posed her daughter and two grandchildren from Fredericksburg, Va., for photographs in front of the Capitol.

“I know this is not normal here,” Mrs. Weeks said, “but I live in Alabama.”

Light winds blew for most of the day, at times gusting up to 38 mph. But temperatures were warm enough that visitors to the Mall seemed not to care and the few who brought along sweaters carried them instead of wearing them.

“We’re just lucky it turned out to be good weather,” Mr. Hill said.

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