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Near record warmth on a fall day

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 9:44 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Bob Balanoff took off work today to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather on the dock next to his boat at DuSable Harbor in Chicago.

Wearing khaki shorts and sandals, he sat in a lawn chair while waiting for two friends to stop by for lunch.

“I’ll be out here until the sun is gone,” said Balanoff, a 34-year-old insurance agent. “I’ve been waiting for this day for weeks.”

Temperatures Wednesday reached a high of 78 degrees in what may be the last burst of warm weather this year. But they’re not likely to last, says Amy Seeley, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Chicago.

Seeley says the unusually high temperatures are the result of winds carrying warm air from the south.

Though fleeting — Seeley predicts temperatures will drop into the 30s Thursday night — the warm weather provides a reprieve before a more permanent cold front moves in.

“Get out today or early tomorrow,” she said Wednesday, adding that the temperatures will drop into the 40s by the weekend. “This will be very short-lived.”

The recent warm front is a significant departure from historic weather patterns, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago has seen 80 degree temperatures after Oct. 23 in only six of the last 141 years.

The record high in Chicago for Oct. 24 is 83 degrees.

High temperatures for this time of year are typically in the upper 50s or low 60s.

The Kings of Michigan Avenue, a group of hip-hop dancers that performs near Millennium Park, didn’t want to let the nice weather go to waste.

Though the street crew usually doesn’t perform on Wednesdays in the fall, it organized a last-minute show for Wednesday afternoon. Eddie Islas, a member of the group, said summer-like weather meant summer-size crowds.

“We think a lot of people will come out,” Islas said. “Warm weather makes people want to come downtown.”

The temperature last reached 80 degrees in Chicago this year on Sept. 12. If it fails to reach 80 degrees again, then 2012 would tie for having the seventh-earliest last 80-degree day.

So far this year, Chicago has recorded 101 days with temperatures at or above 80 degrees. That’s a tie for the third most in the city’s history — two short of the record set in 2005.

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