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Maggie Harper, left, 8, from Manchester and her sister Grace, 12, pose for a photo during Cold Stone Creamery's "Random Acts of Coldstone" free ice cream event in Manchester on Thursday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Warm weather welcomed in NH


Whether surfing on the Seacoast or sipping an iced coffee on Elm Street, across New Hampshire people headed outside Thursday to soak up the sun as record-setting warmth covered the Granite State like a warm blanket.

“I love it. I absolutely love it,” said Roger Gosselin of Manchester, while enjoying a walk along the shore of Lake Massabesic without the need to bundle up. “I’m ready for spring.”

According to Mike Ekster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, the mercury hit 65 degrees in Concord at 2:49 p.m. Thursday, breaking the previous record of 63 degrees set in 1875.

“That’s a pretty impressive showing,” said Ekster. “That was a long-standing record.”

Ekster said Nashua hit a high of 69 degrees, just shy of the Gate City record of 70 degrees. Manchester topped out at 68 degrees at 4 p.m. Ekster couldn’t say with certainty whether that was a new record for the Queen City, because the National Weather Service database of temperature readings in Manchester is “incomplete.”

The soaring temps had beach lovers heading to Hampton.

“The parking lots here started to fill up around 10 a.m.,” said Laura Morrissey, a program assistant at the Hampton Beach-based Seacoast Region Office of the New Hampshire Parks and Recreation Department. “People are walking dogs, surfing, throwing frisbees around ...typical beach activities, except it’s February. It’s been very active here.”

“No matter what time of year, if the weather is good, people come to Hampton,” said Sherrill Ayles, assistant to the president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce. “When we get a day like this, people always want to be at the beach.”

Margaret Ives of Derry was one of a handful of people soaking up the sun on the shore of Lake Massabesic. She said it’s one of her favorite spots and she comes there two or three times a week in the summer. The parking lot is closed for the winter, so visitors had to park along the roadside and trek over a mix of snow, ice and puddles to get to the shore.

“I love to come to this spot,” she said. “We came out because we wanted to go for a walk. It’s so nice today.”

Ives said she wanted to enjoy the warm spell while it lasts. She said she didn’t expect it to linger.

“We’re not done yet. We’re definitely going to get hit again,” she said. “This is just a lull.”

Chris Perry, owner of Cold Stone Creamery eatery on March Avenue in Manchester, couldn’t believe his luck when he saw Thursday’s forecast. His store was selected as a Random Acts of Cold Stone Kindness location — meaning free ice cream was handed out to customers Thursday afternoon.

“When they told me we were chosen I said, you know it’s not impossible we have a blizzard that day,” said Perry. “Then I started looking at the forecast, and I said ‘No way.’ This is unbelievable out here.”

Yolande Walsh of Hooksett was sitting at a table outside the Cold Stone location, enjoying her free ice cream.

“My son is in the military, and he is in Arlington, Virginia,” said Walsh. “I looked and today it was going to be 72 degrees there. It’s 67 degrees here. This is amazing.”

Paul Glenn of Manchester had a smile on his face as he rolled along Elm Street on a scooter with a cold-brew coffee in his hand.

“I broke out my shorts for this,” said Glenn. “Gotta enjoy it while it lasts, right?”

Thursday marked the eighth straight day of above-normal temperatures across New Hampshire, according to Ekster. Temperatures are expected to hit the low 60s again today and Saturday with rain before dropping into the 50s early next week.

Temperatures are expected to range between 47 and 55 degrees most of next week, Ekster said.

pfeely@unionleader.com; Staff reporter Doug Alden contributed to this report.


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TOTO
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