ATLANTA – The Rev. Michael Bingham says the cold snap that greeted much of the country over Easter Weekend could have an effect on the musicians performing in a sunrise service at his church Sunday.
Bingham is pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Columbia, S.C., where lows were predicted to be in the low 20s Sunday. He said the service usually held in a courtyard was moved indoors this years.
"Our musicians are worried about their fingers," he said.
Two weeks into spring, cold temperatures in much of the country have those celebrating Easter this weekend swapping out frills, bonnets and sandals for coats, scarves and socks.
Baseball fans are huddled in blankets, and instead of spring planting, backyard gardeners are bundling their crops.
The National Weather Service was predicting record lows Sunday for parts of the Southeast and Midwest, and an unseasonably cold weekend for much of the Northeast. Snow was forecast in parts of Ohio, Michigan and New England.
In Chicago, kids bundled in winter clothing for an Easter egg hunt at the Glessner House Museum. The high temperature in the city reached just 32 degrees on Saturday — matching a record set in 1936 for lowest high temperature. In early April, the Windy City's average high is 54 degrees.
"It was freezing," said Clare Schaecher, the museum's education director. "All the little kids had boots on and some of them were trying to wear their spring dresses. It was awful."
In Morrison, Colo., officials were forced to cancel an annual sunrise service scheduled for Sunday at the Red Rocks Amphitheater because seats and stairways were covered in ice.
In Washington, D.C., visitors to the nation's capital awoke Saturday to see cherry blossoms coated with snow. Snow also fell in metro Atlanta Friday night, and even in parts of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
Heavier snow in Ohio postponed Saturday's doubleheader between the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. The doubleheader had been scheduled because Friday's home opener in Cleveland was postponed.
In Nashville, Tenn., a forecast low of 22 degrees Sunday would beat the current record set on March 24, 1940, when the morning temperature was 24 degrees.
"We're going to be in record territory, for sure," said Jim Moser, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Nashville.
Farmers were worried about the impact the weather could have on crops. Blueberries could be particularly affected, said Stanley Scarborough, production manager of Sunnyridge Farms, which has fields in Baxley and Homerville, Ga.
Scarborough said the majority of the state's blueberry crop, a variety called rabbit-eye, is normally harvested around June 1. This year, the bushes bloomed early because of a wave of warm temperatures last week. Scarborough the blueberries are not able to withstand freezing temperatures.
"At 26 or 27 degrees, you would probably lose half of the Georgia crop," valued at about $20 million to $25 million dollars, Scarborough said.
In Alabama, growers scrambled to protect early blooming peach orchards. State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks said if temperatures stay at 28 to 29 degrees for two hours, there could be "very severe" damage to the crop.
"If we stay there for four hours, we could possibly lose the peach crop," he said.