NIU endures dramatic winter weather change

By Donald Roth Jr.

NIU and DeKalb are enduring blowing snow and blistering windchills as low as 50 degrees below zero thanks to an Alberta Clipper moving through the Midwest.

While Tuesday was relatively mild for January, a dramatic change hit the area Wednesday morning when 2.2 inches of snow fell and the windchill dipped to 50 below.

The high temperature for Wednesday was 21 degrees and the low occurred at 1 p.m when the mercury fell to 7 degrees.

“This type of weather is definitely not normal for January,” said Amy Gustafson of the NIU meteorology department. “It is just that everyone is used to these great 40 degree January days.”

Although no immediate warm-up is predicted, Gustafson said temperatures will improve by Tuesday.

on Fields of the National Weather Service in Rockford said the worst of the cold is over.

“We should expect a moderate Thursday morning (of about) 15 to 20 degrees with increasing clouds and more light snow in the mid-afternoon … nothing over a couple of inches.”

The severe weather poses nothing more than an inconvenience for most NIU students, but those who fail to take adequate precautions can end up with cold-related injuries and problems.

Frostbite is commonly caused by people being outside with skin exposed and not realizing how cold it is. Frostbite can happen in as little as 20 minutes.

Health Enhancement Services Coordinator Michael Haines said excessive amounts of alcohol could be a problem because it impairs judgment and could lead to weather-related health problems.

Fields said, “This cold spell is nowhere near the record lows we have had in the past—24 below zero without the windchill in 1982.

“Be patient and we should experience a moderate warm-up for the remainder of the month.”