Wheaton, Ill. experienced record breaking temperatures earlier this month, with highs in the 60’s from Friday, Feb. 17 to Wednesday, Feb. 22. Wheaton residents traded in their winter coats for shorts and sandals, taking advantage of the summer-like weather. The Illinois Prairie Path was crowded with Wheaton residents walking, running and biking, and Wheaton College students crowded Blanchard Lawn with hammocks and blankets, enjoying the warm weather. The Facilities Maintenance staff sent out an announcement apologizing for the lack of air conditioning in campus buildings other than the BGC, explaining that they were in the middle of a campus-wide heating and air-conditioning project.
Junior Kalena Wong was one of the many students who spent as much time outside as she could. “I hammocked at Blackwell for two hours on Friday afternoon, hammocked at Lincoln marsh for two more hours on Saturday, and only went inside when I had to take my first aid training class that had to be inside,” Wong told The Record.
“For a second I forgot that I was in the Midwest … until two days later it poured rain and then it snowed,” said junior Falecia Sanchez.
The city of Chicago and the rest of its suburbs also enjoyed the warm weather, which reached 70 degrees on Saturday, Feb. 18. According to CBS Chicago, this is only the fourth time Chicago has seen 70 degree weather in February since 1871. The National Weather Service Chicago tweeted that this was the first time in 146 years that Chicago had gone all of January and February without snow on the ground.
Many Wheaton College freshman were nervous about their first harsh Chicago winter, including Olivia Kusuma from Indonesia, who was hesitant about committing to Wheaton due to the cold. “One of the girls I knew that went to Wheaton College said she cried her first winter here because of how cold it was,” Kusuma said.
However, Texas native Delaney Young, also a freshman, was excited to live in a snowy climate. “It was so fun to see the ground that was completed dry the day before covered in snow,” she said, recalling her first Wheaton snow. “I liked wearing coats and scarves and layers. It’s so new and fun for me!”
Both girls said they enjoyed the warm weather last week and were thankful for a more mild winter to ease the transition.
But the weather returned to normal the following Saturday with snow showers and a high of 32 degrees, sending locals back inside to turn on their heaters and bundle up.
“Being from Texas, warm sunny weather is uplifting and encouraging no matter what month it is,” said junior Timothy Davis. “Now that it’s back to normal February Illinois weather, I kind of feel more down or lethargic about things.” Davis said he was looking forward to returning to Texas for spring break.
Freshman Isabella Olfert from Livermore, Calif. also enjoyed having weather that was closer to what she was used to at home, but welcomed the return of the snow. “I don’t exactly want the warmth to leave, but snow is beautiful and it doesn’t look like it’s going to last too long!”