Record warm temps Tuesday, then back to bitter cold - New York News

Record warm temps Tuesday, then back to bitter cold

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Chicago region's unseasonably warm weather broke a record high temperature Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

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It was slow moving for drivers in the peak of rush hour, but many pedestrians rushed around trying to avoid the rain drops the best they could.

The thunderstorms knocked out power to several street lights, causing backups throughout the night. But, people weren't really talking about the rain on Tuesday--they couldn't get over the sudden heat wave.

The area's previous record high temperature for Jan. 29 was 59 degrees, set in 1914, but the weather service reported 60 degrees at O'Hare Tuesday morning.

Workers strolled coatless through downtown Chicago on Tuesday, women were wearing skirts over bare legs and joggers wore shorts and T-shirts.

Chicagoans enjoyed temperatures that soared into the mid-60s exactly one week after they had to bundle up against subzero temperatures and brutal wind chills.

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Carol Krueger of suburban North Hoffman Estates was downtown in a light jean jacket. She said the weather is "bizarre" and "scary," noting that just a few days ago she was driving through blowing snow.

National Weather Service meteorologist David Beachler said the weather this winter and last "definitely has been very odd."

Beachler said Tuesday's warm, humid air was more typical of late spring or early summer. But he said by Thursday, temperatures will struggle to reach 20 degrees.

Since temperature record keeping began in 1872, there have only been 33 days in January with temperatures above 60 degrees, the weather service said.

"I left the house today and I was over dressed," says Ansel Burch. "I was like, 'oh well, wear less coat than I've been wearing for the last month.' And it was still too much. So yeah, it's weird."

"It's not something we're used to in January here in Chicago," says jogger Nicole Musil. "No, but I'll take it. If the climate wants to change, a little warmer, that's fine with me."

The last time the temperature reached 60 degrees or higher in Chicago in January was a 65 degree day on Jan. 7, 2008, the weather service said.

The weather agency predicts Tuesday will see a high of 63 degrees with an 80 percent chance of heavy rain. The heavy rain is expected to continue Tuesday night, when the temperature will begin to fall. By Wednesday morning, a mix of rain and snow is possible.

The temperature will continue to fall, and by Thursday night the low will reach a more winter-like 4 degrees, the weather service said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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