The First 80 Degree Day

For fans of spring who may have suffered from cabin fever after a long winter, there's nothing like the feel of the year's first 80 degree day!

Remember that game show "$25,000 Pyramid"?  It actually came in several other installments over the years (a la "$10,000 Pyramid, $20,000 Pyramid, $100,000 Pyramid", and so on), but the goal was the same:  To guess a subject using word associations.  I thought of that show when coming up with this blog's idea.  Let me throw some descriptions your way: 

The greener grass.  The blooming daffodils.  Longer days.  Daylight Saving Time.  Easter baskets aligning store shelves. 

Allright, of course you know where I am going with this!  All these are associated with the early signs of spring in the Blue Grass.  I certainly take note of all of the above when March rolls around, but being the weather nut that I am, there's another measuring stick I sometimes use to sort of guage the arrival of spring:  Bowling Green's first 80 degree day of the season.  Now that might have thrown a contestent for a loop!  If you crave warmer weather after being cocooned indoors for much of the winter season, nothing feels better than that first really balmy, almost summer-like day.  I'm sure many folks soaked it up in these parts back on March 31, 1978 when the thermometer soared to a record high of 83 degrees.  After all, the preceding winter was harsh, with snow on the ground from early January until the first of March! 

But consider this:  Our first 80 degree day doesn't always happen during the calendar's spring season (typically about March 21st-June 21st).  Sometimes it happens well before the winter is even over.  Such was the case in 1996, when readings made it into the 80s in Bowling Green on February 23rd!  We also experienced an early warm spell twenty years prior, with record highs in the 80s on March 3, 1976.  Cases like those are the exception to the rule.  Most years we have to wait a bit longer for the mercury to climb that high.  For example, last year's first 80 degree day was recorded on April 10th.  That's closer to normal for us with that stat, as April 7th is our "average" first 80 degree day of the year.  But if you've lived in South-Central KY for awhile now, you know that the "norm" is usually anything but that!

Would you believe some years we didn't reach 80 degrees until May?  That happened in 1993 (First 80: May 5th), 1997 (First 80: May 18th), and again in 2000 (May 3rd).  But those years have nothing on 1983.  Our area had a VERY cool spring that year (we even had accumulating snow on April 18th), and it took until June 5th for us to experience a day with 80 degree temperatures!  That's quite a long wait.  Interestingly, we made up for lost time in a sense in the summer that followed, with numerous 100 degree days in July and August that year.  It's all part of nature's balancing act. 

Growing tulips.  Budding trees.  Gardening stores opening their doors.  Bowling Green's first 80 degree day.  Ahh...just put me in that "Winners Circle" now, Dick Clark, I'm ready!


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