photo - Warm temps on the first day of Spring brought out lots of customers for freebies at Rita's Italian Ice. Good friends Mia Reyes, Alexa Reyes, Janessa Wood, and Elena Jimenez (left to right) have their hands full with cool, frosty treats on Monday, March 20, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Warm temps on the first day of Spring brought out lots of customers for freebies at Rita's Italian Ice. Good friends Mia Reyes, Alexa Reyes, Janessa Wood, and Elena Jimenez (left to right) have their hands full with cool, frosty treats on Monday, March 20, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette 

Colorado Springs' first day of spring featured record-breaking heat, prompting people to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Monday's high of 76 degrees broke the day's 110-year-old record of 74 degrees set in 1907, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

It was the third consecutive day of record-breaking heat. Saturday and Sunday's highs of 80 degrees broke previous daily records of 78 and 77 degrees, respectively.

The hottest March day on record was March 26, 1971, when temperatures soared to 81 degrees, weather service data shows. People eating outside filled patios throughout Old Colorado City. Nearby, Nikki Rainey, the owner of Nana's Quilt Cottage, said, "It's beautiful, but we never had winter."

A group of Colorado Springs police officers said they didn't miss the typically chilly March days. The average high for March 20 is 53 degrees, weather service data shows.

"Let it be, it's better than being cold," said Officer Corey Sevene, standing in the shade for a brief break from the sunshine.

The weather seems to be hinting at an early start to summer, but Steve Hodanish, a weather service meteorologist, said the heat and sunshine might not last.

"Pay attention to the weather Thursday night and Friday - winter may return with a vengeance," he said.

The weather service predicted highs of 67 degrees Tuesday, 68 degrees Wednesday, 69 degrees Thursday and 47 degrees Friday. On Thursday, a chance of afternoon thunderstorms may be followed by snow, which is expected to last into Friday.

"Our next chance for meaningful moisture moves in Thursday afternoon into Friday of this week," according to Gazette news partner KKTV. "The good news is the beneficial moisture it will provide, the bad news is the wind that comes with it will be very strong."

It may be a "significant" spring storm, KKTV reported.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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