Oh no! From a warm-up to more snow

Mark Boudreau takes a photo of his son Gabriel, 3, as Gabriel's mother, Su, pushes the swing at Franklin Square Park. They were there to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Mark Boudreau takes a photo of his son Gabriel, 3, as Gabriel's mother, Su, pushes the swing at Franklin Square Park. They were there to celebrate the Chinese New Year. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff)
Posted: February 04, 2014

PHILADELPHIAWhat a cruel tease Sunday was, a springlike, downright balmy day - relatively speaking for this freeze-fest of a winter.

The temperature reached 52 degrees, melting snow in Philadelphia's Franklin Square park, where the carousel and other facilities remained in winter lockdown, but where signs of weather relief were all around - from melting snow and muddy ground to Julie Chhin and Vicki Sinn taking turns strumming a guitar.

"It's a great day," said Chhin, who, like Sinn, attends Philadelphia High School for Girls. "We usually come after school."

Chances are that won't happen Monday, when winter unmistakably returns. As much as four to eight inches of snow is expected in the Philadelphia area by day's end, according to AccuWeather.com. The storm, expected to start as a wintry mix Sunday night, should be all snow by 9 a.m. Monday, AccuWeather said.

Forecasters are also watching early signs of possible weekend storms.

"There definitely is the potential for a pretty decent storm," said Carl Erickson, an AccuWeather meteorologist. He described a "pretty active pattern for the next couple of weeks."

Consider it affirmation of Punxsutawney Phil's findings Sunday when he appeared before a media throng in central Pennsylvania, saw his shadow, and, as Groundhog Day lore goes, doomed us to six more weeks of winter. The good news is Monday's accumulation shouldn't stick around long, with temperatures expected to be in the 40s by Wednesday, Erickson said.

Sunday's high followed one of the coldest weeks on record for January in the region. The temperature in Philadelphia averaged 28.3 degrees last month, with 25.9 inches of snow, the third-most since the winter of 1884-85.

"This does happen on occasion," Erickson said. "We will see more extreme cold."

At Franklin Square on Sunday, Jamie Jones, an Allied Barton security guard, said the park gets visitors in all temperatures. "There's a day care across the street, so a lot of people come from there," she said.

Many parents and children still in bulky coats and hats came through the Race Street entrance after 1 p.m. Aside from the weather, nearby festivities for the Chinese New Year brought visitors to the neighborhood.

"It feels like it can't snow anymore," said George Rhodes, who brought his children down from Kensington to visit the park. But, he said, the snow has its advantages. "It makes it brighter, all the light reflection," he said.


abrust@phillynews.com

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