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March 21, 2012

Signs of Spring: 2012

Seemingly strange weather patterns continue to break high and low temperature records. The same patterns spawned an early tornado season in the midwestern United States and brought late season snowstorms to the west. Record snow falls and frigid temperatures characterized a particularly difficult winter across Europe with many deaths attributed to the conditions. Signs of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere (which began officially with the Vernal Equinox - March 20 - when the hours of day are approximately equal to the hours of night) like trees blossoming and flowers blooming, the shedding of winter coats and the desire of anyone -who has spent an all too long winter season indoors - to venture outside to soak up the sun. -- Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

Cherry blossoms of the Japanese Yoshino variety bloom along the Tidal Basin, March 19, 2012, in Washington, DC, with the Jefferson Memorial to the rear. This season celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees from Japan to Washington, DC. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Tourists have their picture taken at a sculpture garden of painted trees, March 13, 2012, in Chicago. Temperatures inched closer to March record highs after a mild winter. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press) #

Elliott Buckleair, 3, watches the Williams Tower Waterwall at Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, March 13, 2012, in Houston. (Johnny Hanson/The Houston Chronicle) #

People walk through Union Square in the Manhattan borough of New York, March 8, 2012. Temperatures reached the high 60s on an unseasonably warm afternoon in the city. (Jeffrey Furticella/Associated Press) #

Danielle DelVecchio takea photograph of Aileen Palmer, both of Philadelphia, as Palmer does a yoga pose near the flowers in bloom during the unseasonably warm weather in Rittenhouse Square park, March 13, 2012 in Philadelphia. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press) #

Ed Waido feeds handfuls of potato chip leftovers to gulls at McCook Beach in East Lyme, Conn., March 9, 2012. (Sean D. Elliot /The Day) #

Lake Strongheart performs Tai ji after sunrise, March 9, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press) #

With a purple sea of freshly-blooming crocus, a lone bee hovers above his early spring choices in Walla Walla, Wash., March 7, 2012. Warmer than average temperatures brought both the beauty of flowers and the beast of bugs out in full force. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin) #

After unsuccessful attempts to feed birds, Lenny Payne feeds his daughter Maggie, 8, some of the leftover crackers. People got outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and the beautiful sunset at an area known as White Shell off of Heckscher Drive, March 7, 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla.(Kelly Jordan/The Florida Times-Union) #

A Bananaquit hangs upside down to peck at a flower in the Costa Rica section of the Glass House at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland. (Amy Sancetta/Associated Press) #

A man relaxes on a modern art sculpture along Boston Harbor as temperatures reached into the 50's in Boston, MA, March 7, 2012. (Stephan Savoia/Associated Press) #

Lisa Polinori walks her Boston Terrier, "Enzodog," while riding a unicycle in Baltimore, March 6, 2012. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press) #

A worker prunes blossoming trees on El Monte Way west of Dinuba, CA, March 1, 2012. (Mark Crosse/The Fresno Bee) #

A Chinese woman performs morning exercises with fans at the Ditan park in Beijing, China. (Andy Wong/Associated Press) #

A jogger on the Santa Ana River Trail takes advantage of a beautiful day with a view of the San Gabriel Mountains (still covered with snow) from the Lincoln Avenue bridge over the Santa Ana River in Anaheim, Calif. (Bruce Chambers/The Orange County Register) #

Tourists and Parisians take advantage of warm temperatures in the French capital by relaxing on top of the Montparnasse Tower in Paris, March 16, 2012 (Francois Mori/Associated Press) #

A man sleeps with a newspaper over his face while enjoying the warm weather in a park in central London, March 15, 2012. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman enjoys the warm weather surrounded by daffodils in a park in central London, March 15, 2012. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #

Trees are blossoming near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as temperatures warm up, March 16, 2012. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images) #

A lone snowman stands on the beach at Pacific City in front of Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, OR. (Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian) #

A man break dances for a crowd gathered in Times Square during the warm afternoon weather, March 14, 2012 in New York City. Temperatures hit near-record highs as spring-like weather continued in the city. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Glorie Dowell, 16, of Ft. Meade, MD, and Jackie Stradinger, 16, of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, enjoy early spring-like weather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, March 12, 2012. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press) #

A man walks past a portion of the Duboce Bikeway Mural in San Francisco, March 13, 2012. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press) #

Vito Soprano, 91, and Eddy Dee, 88, both from Newton, MA, spend the afternoon hitting golfballs in a field. They hit 60 balls one way then hit them the other way. "We have cabin fever real bad, the most important thing for us is to keep moving" said Dee. The pair, who have been golfing for over 50 years said they will be out "golfing" every day weather permitting. (Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe) #

A group of good friends enjoy the sunshine on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. The temperature in the Boston area climbed to 71 degrees shortly before 3 p.m., March 12, 2012, breaking a 110-year old record of 69 degrees, as a spell of unusually warm weather continued. (Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe) #

People sit along the beach in front of the Mediterranean sea while enjoying the warm sun on the Promenade des Anglais in the southeastern city of Nice, French Riviera, March 11, 2012. (Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images) #

Spring-like weather hit the Boston area with possible record breaking temperatures. On Atlantic Avenue in the North End, 14-month old Lydia Hennighausen people watches from her sunny bench with her mother Virginia and a friend. (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe) #

College students on spring break enjoy the warm weather as they visit the beach in South Padre Island, TX, March 6, 2012. (Jesse Mendoza/Valley Morning Star) #

Surfers and children playing in the sand enjoy a sun-filled day at Sunset Beach, south of Los Angeles, March 3, 2012. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images) #

Selena Gomez and Rachel Korine ride down Corey Ave. in St. Pete Beach, FL, during filming for their upcoming film "Spring Breakers", March 13, 2012. (Leah Millis/The Tampa Bay Times) #

Grayson Slama, 7, of Austin, Texas, peaks out from under his beach umbrella Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in Port Aransas, TX. (Michael Zamora/Corpus Christi Caller-Times) #

A flower blossoms in front of the Reichstag, the seat of Germany's lower house of parliament, on a sunny spring day in Berlin, March 16, 2012. (Thomas PeterReuters) #

People sit on cafe terraces on Vrijthof square in Maastricht, March 15, 2012 six days before the arrival of spring, Netherlands. (Marcel Van Hoorn/AFP/Getty Images) #

Samia Jones, 12, laughs along with other Spring Breakers in a foam pool during the Spring Break Foam Party at Discovery Green, March 13, 2012, in Houston. (Michael Paulsen/The Houston Chronicle) #

People relax in the warm afternoon weather at High Line park, March 13, 2012 in New York City. Temperatures hit near-record highs as spring-like weather continued in the city. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

People relax in the warm afternoon weather at High Line park, March 13, 2012 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Visitors relax and play on rocks in Central Park during Spring-like weather, Feb. 22, 2012, in New York. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press) #

An employee walks amid an installation of clay flowers by London-based Chilean artist Fernando Casasempere entitled 'Out of Sync' at Somerset House in central London, March 15, 2012. The installation that acknowledges the end of winter and beginning of spring consists of 10,000 clay blooms individually handcrafted by Casasempere so that each flower is unique. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images) #

Major League Baseball's The Boston Red Sox perform agility drills during the first part of their workout on the game field at JetBlue Park. (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe) #

Crocuses are covered with raindrops, Feb. 28, 2012 in Dresden, eastern Germany. The first signs of spring bloom across the country. (Matthias Hiekel/AFP/Getty Images) #

Activists from the Network of Putin Supporters group and pro-Kremlin youth movements give out flowers to subway passengers at the Mayakovskaya metro station in Moscow, March 1, 2012, in an action they said was aimed at marking the beginning of spring. (Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bees converge on a blossom in an orchard along a highway near Selma, CA, March 1, 2012. With spring on the way, the orchards in Fresno County are in full bloom with pink and white blossoms in preparation for bearing fruit such as peaches, cherries and plums and even nuts like almonds. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee) #

Zosia Sztykowski relaxes in Lafayette Park on a warm sunny day, March 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. Temperatures soared into the upper 70's F(21C). (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Washington Monument in Washington, DC, March 19, 2012 surrounded by Cherry blossoms in full bloom due to the early warm weather along the East coast of the US. The blossoms are expected to reach their peak on Tuesday, the first official day of Spring. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images) #

Cherry blossoms in full bloom surround the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, March 19, 2012. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the gift from Japan to the United States that started with a planting ceremony between then U.S. First lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador. (Larry Downing/Reuters) #