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Posted on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 9:58 a.m.

First day of spring: record heat, egg-balancing lore and fun facts

By Cindy Heflin


Ann Arbor resident Kyle Chase takes advantage of the nice weather Monday to plan out his week while sitting on a rock in front of the Argo Cascades along the Huron River.

Melanie Maxwell |

It’s the first day of spring. What, you say? It was still winter? Who knew? With temperatures in the 70s for several days in a row and record heat on tap for today, you may have forgotten that winter wasn’t officially over.

Here are a few facts and tips to get the season started off right.

Time of arrival: Spring was here long before you got up this morning. The vernal equinox occurred at 1:14 a.m. today, when the sun crossed the celestial equator. That’s an imaginary line in the sky above the actual equator.

Record heat: It’s going to be a really warm one in the Ann Arbor area. The high today is expected to be 81. That’s 6 degrees above the record of 75 for this date, set in 1921. It would also be a record for the earliest day above 80 degrees. That was set in 1938 on March 22. The high Monday was 77, tying the record set in 1921. Records were broken this year on March 14, March 16 and March 17. Wednesday is likely to be another record-breaker, with a high of 83 expected.

Egg balancing lore and other vernal equinox myths: Despite the persistence of a myth to the contrary, the vernal equinox is no more conducive to balancing an egg on one end than any other day of the year. The same goes for brooms.

Perhaps even more shocking is this fact. The hours of daylight and night are not exactly equal. True equality of daylight and night hours always falls before the actual equinox, National Geographic reports.

Rituals: Around the world, people have come up with some novel ways to celebrate the arrival of spring. A 2010 article from National Geographic notes a few: people parading on stilts in Warsaw, Poland; tourists basking in spring's first light at the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico's ancient city of Teotihuacan; Kurds parading with torches in Iraq.

Ways to celebrate in Ann Arbor: Check out the spring equinox celebration at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore or the display of spring bulbs and flowers at Matthaei Botanical Gardens or try making this tasty asparagus dish from contributor Mary Bilyeu. What food could be more appropriate on the first day of spring than asparagus?



Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:47 a.m.

Eh, why eat asparagus - flown from MEXICO - to celebrate Spring's arrival here? Wild asparagus here sprouts in late April - early May. Whether or not this record stretch of highs is climate change induced (just DO include that National Geographic among other authoritative sources says climate change is real and man-caused): shouldn't we be thinking about what happens if July turns out to be 30+ degrees above normal? If one bothers to look at NWS records: they'll find that March in this area is characterized by highs in the 40s. So we've had a long series of days running between the 60s and up to 80 degrees: do the math. A similar heat wave in July would see us sweltering in temps of around 110. And just FYI on your "lore" -- Kurds can be seen to parade with torches (and AK-47s) in Iraq any time of the year. ;-) That is, when the Kurds aren't a-wheh. And please -oh -please, stop with the lame brained opinion polls.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

Smoke em if you got em


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

I have balanced an egg on end on this day before. Try it any other day. Fortunately I have yet to see the elephant.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

@grimmk: Yeah, at this rate, winter must be just around the corner!


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

That would be true Michigan weather. Splash of spring/summer and then straight back into winter with a snow storm and foot of snow.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

It's not the first day of spring. We all slept through spring and it's now summer. Talk about time change!