North Coast makes most of unseasonably dry, warm weather

Saturday was another ridiculously gorgeous one across the North Coast, where spring-like temperatures sent people flocking to parks, the beach or almost anywhere the generous sun shined.

"I come from Michigan, so this is absurd," Jared Bellmore said at Santa Rosa's Spring Lake Park, where he sported a T-shirt and shorts while throwing a stick to his dog.

Santa Rosa's high temperature of 69 degrees Saturday was only a degree shy of the record set in 1934.

Cloverdale, at 76 degrees, was the warmest city in Sonoma County, followed by Healdsburg (75); Santa Rosa (69) and Windsor (68).

Petaluma, Sonoma, Rohnert Park and Guerneville all topped out at 67.

The scene at Spring Lake was akin to a summer day Saturday, packed with dog walkers, runners, bike riders and more than a few people in tank tops and sandals. Kayakers glided across the perfectly still water.

Rosemarie Dalton, 74, wrapped up an hour-long walk with her tiny "mutt" Chewbacca, who lay at her feet, deliriously spent. The Santa Rosa woman said the terrific weather represents a positive start to the new year.

"It feels like everything is going to be OK," Dalton said.

Contentment was in the air at Howarth Park, which was overrun with kids and families.

Nelly Perez, who watched her two children muddy their hands in sand and water, said the family this time of year normally is forced to stay home or go to Chuck E. Cheese.

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