Warming Signals

Warming Signals

Remember snow? For Potomac residents enjoying near-record high temperatures last week, it seems a distant memory.

January is usually the coldest month of the year in Washington with an average low temperature of 24 degrees and an average high of 40 degrees. On Monday, 40 degrees was the low temperature, while daytime highs reached 64 degrees.

The balmy weather drew an increase in visitors to local parks and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, where kayakers and joggers were out in force on Jan. 30 and many walkers were wearing short sleeves.

The Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center had 447 visitors last weekend compared to 156 visitors the same weekend in 2005. It had 566 visitors the weekend of Jan 21-22, compared to just a year earlier when the average temperature was below 20 degrees both days with light snow.

"Weather has a huge impact on visitation," said Rod Sauter, a park ranger. "The nicer the weather the more people you have."

Annemarie Tolman brought her four children from Annapolis to spend the afternoon by Great Falls Tavern. They had started a "junior rangers" two weeks earlier and wanted to finish, she said, but the weather was a huge bonus.