A woman walks along 12th Street as trees begin to blossom in the sun on Hoyt Avenue on Tuesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A woman walks along 12th Street as trees begin to blossom in the sun on Hoyt Avenue on Tuesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Spring it on! Free DQ cones, sunshine, super-duper moon

Today’s vernal equinox brings longer, brighter days ahead and leaves winter woes behind.

EVERETT — Good riddance, winter.

Nothing says first day of spring like the annual free ice cream cone deal at Dairy Queen.

Who’d want a free Blizzard anyway after the snow, slush and frozen windshields we endured?

Today’s forecast has clear sunny skies and an ice-cream melting high temperature of 73.

Imagine that. What feels like a nice summer day but in March, only weeks removed from snow that fell from the heavens and made everything so treacherously beautiful.

Six weeks ago, bins of ice scrapers and boxes of toe warmers were at the ready for bundled up Costco members stocking up on the basics for the return of Snowpocalypse II.

On Tuesday, the front aisle of the warehouse store near Silver Lake was a gleaming display of sunscreen multi-packs, hefty bags of charcoal, and six types of allergy drugs. Shoppers in shorts lollygagged behind carts with flowering plants, colorful garden gloves and Easter basket treats.

Only recently did things turn from the doldrums of winter, when even a hint of snow could induce groans. In the past few days, daily top temperatures steadily rose.

In Arlington, as measured at the municipal airport, the high was 62 degrees Sunday and 71 Monday, with lows of 31 and 30. At Paine Field in Everett, those same days had highs of 58 and 68 and lows of 41 and 42.

Seattle’s high of 79 on Tuesday was the warmest March day on record since 1894. The previous record was 78 degrees on March 29, 2004.

It was perfect car-washing weather.

In a self-serve bay at Silver Lake Car Wash, Li Howell aimed a power hose at her white Infiniti and blasted off the grime.

“After the snow melted, it left a lot of dust on my car,” Howell said.

All that went down the drain behind a trail of foamy bubbles.

Next on her list: Take a walk.

Others shared her sunny mindset. People were outside everywhere. Strolling along sidewalks, playing in parks, hitting golf balls, jogging on trails, snoozing in lawn chairs.

Spring means baseball, and not just the Mariners. Little League started a couple of weeks ago, so you’ll see (and hear) those lil’ sluggers out on the ball fields.

By early afternoon Tuesday, Alisa Sands, owner of Nature’s Way Landscape & Design in Lake Stevens, was picking up her fourth load of pavers at Pacific Stone Company on Rucker Avenue.

Good weather means hard labor. She couldn’t have been happier.

“This lets us get back to work, installing big walls and patios and water features,” Sands said. “We take the winters off like teachers take summers off. We are booked into September.”

There seems to be more time in the day to work — and play.

Today brings the spring equinox, with equal hours of light and darkness.

After the equinox, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the sun, which is why days get longer and sunnier. Those in the Southern Hemisphere get the polar opposite.

The folklore goes that you can balance a raw egg on its end during the spring equinox. Actually, you can balance an egg on its end any day of the year with a bit of focus and steady hands.

Today is an astronomical doubleheader. Tonight is the year’s third and final supermoon. It will appear bigger and brighter than the usual ones.

You can eat your free cone by the light of the moon.

Kanwal Chandi, manager of the Dairy Queen on Evergreen Way, said the spring freebie is one of the busiest days of the year. People line up on foot and in cars for the cute creamy curlicued cones. Donations are accepted for children’s hospitals.

Weather is expected to return to its normal self by the weekend.

Make sure you have rain boots and a slicker, with showers Friday and Saturday possibly extending into Sunday. At least it’ll be warmer, with highs at a minimum of 55.

Reporter Ben Watanabe contributed to this story.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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