Local News

Friday, Mar 15 2013 06:23 PM

Ides of March: Does a warmer spring mean we'll see a brutally hot summer?

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Francine Cain, the grandmother to Samone Johnson, left, Spyncer Johnson, center, and Jaycee Johnson, right, all get their chance to rehydrate on a warm day in Bakersfield while playing at Central Park and feeding the ducks.

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  2. 2 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Francine Cain, left, helps granddaughter Jaycee Johnson with a cool bottle of water on a warm day in Bakersfield at Central Park, Friday. Mikayla, left, and Samone Johnson, right, wait for there turns to get a drink, they are all granddaughters.

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  3. 3 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Francine Cain holds her granddaughter Spyncer Johnson as they feed the ducks together Friday on a warm day in Bakersfield at Central Park.

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  4. 4 of 4

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Nikolas Antonaros and Jaycee Johnson hold hands in Central Park after they had just met while feeding ducks in Mill Creek with other family members on a warm day in Bakersfield.

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BY STEVEN MAYER Californian staff writer smayer@bakersfield.com

It's been an unusually warm week in the San joaquin Valley for this time of year.

More than a few auto air conditioners, and even some home units, likely clicked on during recent balmy afternoons.

Fresno set a record high of 85 degrees on Wednesday and Bakersfield also has seen significantly warmer-than-normal temperatures throughout most of the week.

Weather gets people talking, and some have worried that unusually warm weather this early could be a red flag, a warning sign that we're in for a hotter-than-normal summer.

"If it's hot early, I think it's going to be a burning summer," said Ruth Darrington, owner of Kuka's Folk Art on 19th Street in downtown Bakersfield.

Others agree. It's a common perception that a warmer spring is like the label on a bottle of fiery hot salsa: a preview of coming attractions, the sizzling kind.

But is it true? Do balmy temps early in the year augur a more brutal than usual summer?

First the facts:

Bakersfield didn't break any records this week, although it may have felt like it when the temperature hit 83 on Wednesday and 85 on Thursday.

The normal high for Bakersfield this time of year is 68 to 69 degrees, so we've definitely been hovering well above normal. But it was no weather Alarmegeddon.

The record high temperature for March 13 in Bakersfield stands at 88 degrees, set in 2007, according to National Weather Service records. Same for the 14th, set in 1916.

The following day, March 15, 1916, local temperatures spiked to 94, an almost scary thermometer reading that early in the year. But experts say such extremes in the spring do not predict extremes in the summer.

"There is no correlation between a warm spring and a hot summer," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Cindy Bean.

A huge weather system in July -- whether it's high pressure heating us up or a low-pressure system cooling things down -- doesn't directly correlate with weather in March, Bean said.

So it's time to retire that notion. But for Darrington at Kuka's, weather and our perception of it is all relative anyway. As a former resident of Alaska and Colorado, Darrington views the balmy spring temperatures in Bakersfield as heavenly.

"To me, this is nice," she said, smiling.

Across the street at newly opened Tasha's Something Borrowed, Something New Dress Shoppe & Home Decor, employee Brittany Cox was also enjoying Friday's slightly moderating temperatures. Bakersfield can be "hit or miss," she said, but Friday was definitely a hit.

"I love it," she said of the weather.

According to Bean, temps will continue to slowly moderate through Tuesday, although they are expected to remain slightly above normal, probably in the mid-70s. On Wednesday, however, unsettled weather is expected to bring clouds, cooler temperatures and even a slight chance of rain to the Bakersfield area.

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