Forecasters: Warm-up is set to begin

Weather forecasters call for temperatures reaching the 70s this weekend.
YOUNGSTOWN -- It's been a lonely spring for those whose work at Lake Milton State Park.
Unseasonably low temperatures have all but eliminated the spring fishing and boating business, said John Gren, owner of nearby Millers Marine bait shop and boat repair.
Only four or five customers visited the store Wednesday, and the 500 night crawlers in stock won't keep forever, Gren said.
"When it's cold like this not many people come out," he said. "You get a couple die-hards."
Park manager Barb Neill has noticed the effect the weather has had on attendance at the park.
"You can really see the difference," she said. "Normally, this time of year we're already having a lot of fisherman; this year not so."
But Gren, Neill and the rest of the Mahoning and Shenango valleys can take heart: Forecasters are predicting temperatures will reach the 70s this weekend.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kosarik said today's 68-degree-high forecast and Saturday's predicted high 70-degree temperatures are just the start of a long-overdue mercury rising.
"I think what we're going to see is a steady warming trend, especially beginning Friday," he said. "Not only that, but we should get a fair amount of sunshine.
"It should be a spectacular weekend."
Outlook is good
But can area residents finally pack up their parkas for good? Kosarik thinks so. The National Weather Service tracks weather patterns up to 15 days in advance, using four models. For now, he said, all indications have thermometers pointing up.
"The pattern looks as though it wants to shift to a more seasonable pattern, and I think that will persist," he said. "I don't know if spring's going to turn out really warm and sunny but it's certainly going to be warmer than it's been."
So far this April, the average temperature for the Youngstown metro area has been only 38 degrees, 23 degrees below last year's 61-degree average. Meanwhile, winter snowfall in the area broke records, totaling 90.2 inches beginning last fall, he said. Fourteen of those inches were recorded in April, and more than a week still remains uncounted, he said.
"This type of cold weather is really unseasonable," he said. "Our spring has pretty much been limited to two weeks at the end of March and beginning of April."
The news comes as a relief to winter-weary ears at Lake Milton. Said Neill: All the restrooms will be open and ready in time for spring's second coming this weekend.