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Coats fly off as much of US, including up north, enjoys early start to springlike temperatures
CHICAGO (AP) ' Boaters are cruising along the river in downtown Chicago. Golfers are smacking balls in Minnesota. And an ice-breaking mission on Maine's Kennebec River was the shortest in recent memory because the Coast Guard found no ice.
With temperatures form the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast rising well into the 70s, residents accustomed to bundling up in March were shedding puffy coats and getting outdoors.
Forecasters say spring is early and here to stay.
Gino Izzi of the National Weather Service says the weather pattern is a random, normal fluctuation. A jet stream moving north to south on the West Coast is pushing an opposite, seesaw effect in the rest of the nation.
But the warmth is raising some concerns, including a high risk for wildfires in the Dakotas.