Winter weather takes a break, Peoria gets warmer

Average high temperature last weekend was 60 degrees, more than 20 degrees higher than this time last year
Sweatshirts and sneakers replaced coats and boots last weekend as Peoria experienced an unusual break from winter weather.
Some students went outside to enjoy the winter thaw.
“I was outside all weekend, I loved it,” junior electronic media major Rachel Secrest said. “I went on a walk to exercise in nature instead of the stinky old gym and drove around and listened to Dave Matthews Band.”
The average high temperature last weekend reached nearly 60 degrees. A year ago, it was barely 40 degrees in Peoria, according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac.” 
Central Illinois Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Smith said Peoria wasn’t the only city to experience warmer temperatures.
“Earlier last week the winds were coming in from central Canada,” he said. “It’s a big change from northwesterly flow to southwesterly flow.”
Much of the country has been warmed by air from the Pacific Ocean. Just two weeks ago, the country was being chilled by central Canadian winds.
However, Smith said last weekend’s warming was typical.
“Normally in late January we warm up significantly,” Smith said. “We call it the January thaw.”
Though a Smith said a January thaw is typical, recent temperatures are warmer than last year. 
A consistent pattern of temperatures in the 50s will be likely in mid-February, Smith said.
Not all students predicted the warm weather, but many said they appreciated it. 
“I worked and studied for exams all weekend, so I didn’t get to enjoy the weather very much,” senior health science major Jen Beard said.  “It would have been nice to play ladder golf, but the ground was too wet still.”
Junior organizational communication major Shantaye Wonzer said she agreed.
“Had I known it was going to be gorgeous I definitely would have been out of bed and making someone hang out with me on the quad playing Frisbee or volleyball,” she said.
Sophomore electronic media major Brittany Bennett said she doesn’t think the weather is typical.
“I think it is very random that we’ve been having such warm weather lately,” she said. “I’m sure it won’t stay this way.”
Senior electronic media major Matt Psenicka said he agreed.
“I think it warmed up because the weather decided to tease us,” he said.
The new warmth also brings a higher chance of precipitation and thunderstorms. As the temperature contrast becomes more marked in the wintertime, students can expect more frequent storm visits, Smith said.
The change in weather is due to steering currents, which are winds that flow around 15,000 to 20,000 feet in altitude. The winds are stronger because of the temperature contrast during this time of year. Wherever there are jet streams, storms can be predicted as well, Smith said.
Other regions including Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska are experiencing the warmth also. f