- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2007

The subfreezing temperatures are likely over but area residents shouldn’t pack their winter coats just yet.

Temperatures will remain in the mid-30s at night and climb into the 40s and 50s during the day, with more springlike temperatures expected this weekend, said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s headquarters in Silver Spring.

The Sunday morning temperature of 29 degrees in parts of the region tied the record low from 1982, according to the weather service.

“It’s a little deflating after you’ve had these nice bouts of warm weather and the cherry blossoms came out, then you’ve got snowflakes sitting on your cherry blossoms,” Mr. Feltgen said yesterday.

He expects temperatures to reach the 60s by the weekend, which is normal for April.

Mr. Feltgen said the cold snap — which has extended into Florida — was created by a “buckle” in the jet stream that has pushed cold air from snow-covered eastern Canada into the region. He said the recent temperatures are unusual for April but not unprecedented.

Although the temperatures have left some visitors to the National Cherry Blossom Festival shivering, the 3,750 cherry trees are just fine, said Bill Line, spokesman for the National Park Service. The blossoms are fading but were on their way out naturally, he said.

John and Michelle Strunka, on a visit from San Diego, surveyed what was left of the blossoms at the Tidal Basin yesterday.

“We’re freezing … but we’re making do,” said Mr. Strunka, 64, showing off the hats and gloves he and his wife had just bought from a street vendor.

Said Mrs. Strunka, 51: “We just thought it would be warmer than this.”

About 40 percent of the blooms remain.

“As we know, sadly, the blossoms do not last as long as we would like,” Mr. Line said. “They’ve been out approximately for what we would expect. They’ve performed.”

Tourists continued to pour into the District yesterday despite the cold weather and fading blooms.

Mary and Dennis Behle were among the late arrivals. They came from Kentucky with 8-year-old granddaughter Taylor Stanier and also took advantage of the $5 to $10 hats, gloves and scarves sold on the street.

“We’re going to layer a little bit more tomorrow,” said Mrs. Behle, 51.

Taylor, on her first visit to the District, was less concerned about the weather.

“It’s worth it,” she said.

The cold has been much worse in other parts of the country.

Easter-morning temperatures were in the upper 30s along the Gulf Coast and in the single digits in northern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Atlanta had a low of 30 degrees, with a wind chill of 23, the weather service said.

Ohio, New York and Virginia were among the states to have snow, which postponed such events as Major League Baseball games.

Though freezing temperatures are not expected in the metropolitan region, they are anticipated west of the region.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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