Two weeks into spring, it’s feeling a lot ike Christmas Sunrise Service moved inside.

Published 7:33 pm Monday, April 9, 2007

By Staff
Staff, Wire Reports
An unseasonable cold snap put a chill on Easter Sunday services across the Southeast and much of the rest of the country, moving some events indoors and adding layers over spring frocks.
The annual Easter Sunrise service, usually held at Havens Gardens Park, was moved inside this year. Cold forced early-morning worshipers to attend the service First Baptist Church on Sunday.
Across much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, Easter celebrants swapped frills, bonnets and sandals for coats, scarves and heavy socks. Baseball fans huddled in blankets and, instead of spring planting, backyard gardeners were bundling their crops.
Two weeks into spring, Easter morning temperatures were in the upper 30s along the Gulf Coast and in the single digits in northern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Atlanta had a low of 30 degrees, with a wind chill of 23, the weather service said. The same reading put a chill on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, celebrated in song for the traditional Easter Parade of spring finery.
Despite the chill, nearly 1,000 people attended the annual sunrise service at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, as a slight breeze whipped over the granite monument. The service usually attracts 10,000.
Later in the afternoon, about 5,000 people braved the wind and chill in Homer, a small town in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains that claims one of the nation’s largest Easter egg hunts.
And at Turner Field in Atlanta, much of a less-than-capacity crowd wrapped themselves in winter coats and thick blankets to watch the Braves defeat the New York Mets.
Nashville, Tenn., bottomed out Sunday at 23 degrees, knocking one degree off the Easter Sunday record set on March 24, 1940.
Light snow showers were scattered over the western Plains and around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
Officials in Morrison, Colo., canceled Sunday’s annual sunrise service at the Red Rocks Amphitheater because seats and stairways were covered with ice.
Kids in Chicago donned winter clothing for an Easter egg hunt at the Glessner House Museum. The city high reached just 32 degrees on Saturday — matching a record set in 1936 — and Sunday’s low was 28. The Windy City’s average high for early April is 54.
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.
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. He said the blueberries are not able to withstand freezing temperatures.