Weather Updates

Winter, we hardly knew ye, Tuesday’s Spring!

Music for warm day park.  Akari Rokumoenjoying her guitar with sons Taiheir Eastwood 5 years old Leo Eastwood 3

Music for a warm day in the park. Akari Rokumoto enjoying her guitar with sons Taiheir Eastwood, 5 years old and Leo Eastwood, 3 years old when Leo wanted to play the guitar to the delight of mom and brother in Midway Plaisance Park, Monday, March 19, 2012 . | John H. White~Sun-Times.

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Updated: April 21, 2012 8:11AM

Now at last, we can bid goodbye to the not so cruel winter — to the open-toed strolls along the lakefront, to leaving the windows open at night, to reading the morning newspaper out on the deck.

About 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, spring officially arrived, as unusually warm weather continued. Although it may cool down for the weekend, temperatures in the low 70s are likely to return next week, according to the National Weather Service. Normal highs this time of year hover near the upper 40s.

Just how weird has it been this winter?

Take a glance at the trees — typically skeletal and gray this time of year — and you’ll see a haze of green, pink and white.

At the Chicago Botanic Garden, there are magnolia and cherry trees in full bloom — something you would not expect to see for at least another full month. Tulips and daffodils are two to three weeks ahead of schedule.

“It’s really crazy,” said Tim Johnson, the Botanic Garden’s director of horticulture, who said he has never seen anything quite like this season’s weather in his 27 years at the garden.

Crazy is five consecutive days — March 14-18 — with record temperatures at or above 80 degrees. On Monday, the streak finally came to an end.

The high at O’Hare reached 78, equaling the record high for that date set in 1921, according to the weather service.

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