Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Best of Days Lots of Warmth, Little Humidity and No Rain Usher in the New Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Best of Days Lots of Warmth, Little Humidity and No Rain Usher in the New Season

Article excerpt

In New England, they call them bluebird days -- by definition, the most glorious day imaginable after a snowfall -- but on this first day of summer in Western Pennsylvania, we'll be hearing some beautiful music, too, along with low humidity, a zero percent chance of precipitation and a high of 85.

In fact, summer's heat, humidity and thunderstorms will hold off while the bluebirds sing through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service, which issued its monthly long-range forecast Thursday.

But wait: What's that brown haze on the horizon? Another signal that summer is truly here -- today is a code orange ozone action day in the Pittsburgh region, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. That means young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems should limit outdoor activities.

As for the rest of the summer? For now, the weather service is saying that temperatures and precipitation in the next four weeks can go either way.

That continued possibility of equilibrium is just fine for the women who tend The Urban Gardener plant center on the North Side.

Despite some soggy stretches during the last few weeks, "June has been just lovely this year, with warm days, cool nights, enough rain, but not too much," said Joan Kimmel, who co-owns the store with Lynne Weber, pointing to a stand of lychnis, commonly known as Maltese Cross, whose intense red-orange colors seemed to vibrate in the afternoon light.

"I really do believe we had a real spring this year, for once," she added, although "there were some times in May when we were really running back and forth, covering the plants at night."

Ms. Kimmel was referring to two cold snaps in May that illustrated, yet again, why people who live in the Pittsburgh region shouldn't put their tomato plants in until after Memorial Day. …

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