Weather Updates

Record warmth won’t last long

Marathoner Kris Smart was enjoying warm weather by jogging near North Ave. Beach. Tuesday January 29 2013. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Marathoner Kris Smart was enjoying the warm weather by jogging near the North Ave. Beach. Tuesday, January 29, 2013. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 2, 2013 6:51AM

As melting ice scraps bobbed in the water near North Avenue Beach, Keith Williams sat a few yards away — crossed-legged, eyes closed, with gospel music streaming through his headphones Tuesday morning.

“That’s what gets me going, gets me ready for the demons that await me,” joked Williams, 41, who lives in Streeterville and owns a security company.

While Williams meditated, others jogged and strolled — many shedding sweaters, jackets and leggings as they realized they’d overdressed for the freakishly warm weather. Early Tuesdayafternoon, it reached 63 degrees at O’Hare, four degrees above the record high of 59 for the date, set back in 1914, according to the National Weather Service.

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

The balmy conditions won’t last. By Wednesday, there’s a good chance we’ll see a mix of rain and snow. Come Thursday night, the spring-like weather will likely be but a distant memory, with a low near 4 degrees, according to the weather service.

While Williams described Tuesday’s weather as “a blessing,” others found it a little disturbing, including Frank Wilberding, who was out walking his dog, “Fletcher the Fetcher.”

“I sort of miss the snow,” said Wilberding, 67, who lives in the Gold Coast neighborhood. “We’ve had two inches of snow [this season]; that’s crazy.”

Randy Janzen, 32, was cycling to work downtown from his home in Uptown.

“It’s a little creepy at first,” said Janzen of the mild weather. “But it’s a nice break from the below-freezing temperatures I usually bike through.”

Janzen tore off his “base layer” during his ride Tuesday, but was already making plans for Wednesday’s ride.

“I will have three layers, maybe four, depending on how cold it is,” he said.

Such a swing in temperature can be irritating for some, causing congestion, runny nose or sneezing in about seven percent of people, according to University of Chicago’s Dr. Fuad Baroody, an ear, nose and throat specialist.

“Typical treatment includes two types of medication, nasal antihistamine sprays and steroid sprays,” said Baroody. “But there’s not a tons of science to support all of this; the weather conditions are hard to simulate in a lab.”

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