Chilly weather will stay, students seek warm respites

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With a wind chill steady at about 8 degrees, a warm bed or a break for something hot to drink is on the minds of many.

“It’s really hard to get out of bed in the morning when it’s like this,” Kyla Pratt, freshman in biology, said. “It’s like, warm bed or freezing outside and class, hmm.”

The winter storm passing through several Midwestern states originated in the Pacific Northwest and will continue to move east over the weekend, climatologist Mary Knapp said.

While cities from Wichita to Kansas City, Kan., saw snowfall at up to 2 inches an hour, Manhattan avoided the brunt of the storm. Very dry air over the Manhattan area causes condensation to melt long before it reaches the ground, Knapp said.

While Manhattan did not receive snow or winter storm advisories, the temperature is expected to remain in the 20s for the rest of the weekend.

“We could have stood another weekend of mild weather, but it’s just not in the cards for us,” Knapp said. “We’ll be lucky if we make it above freezing (today). We should see some sunshine, but it won’t do much to provide any warmth.”

The good news, Knapp said, is that the wind should die down some in the next few days, raising the wind chill. Knapp said she expected the storm to have passed over Kansas by early this morning but warned travelers to check reports often.

“This is the time of year where these storms can develop and change in nature very quickly,” she said. “Travelers should realize that conditions can change even while you’re driving. In this kind of weather, even an hour is a long time.”

Some students were caught off guard by the sudden drop in temperature.

“I thought I had a good week before I needed to go buy gloves and things,” Lleran Johnson, freshman in accounting, said. “But I needed them ASAP. I had to run to Wal-Mart last night and buy gloves.”

Belinda Post, freshman in dance, said she didn’t have any long-sleeved shirts in Manhattan when the cold weather started. She had to make a trip home to bring some back.

Moore Hall residents would have been thankful for the warm clothes. A fire alarm forced residents to stand outside for about 20 minutes Thursday morning when the temperature was in the teens.

“It was very, very windy,” Johnson said. “A lot of people just had to grab something to wear. One guy didn’t even have a shirt on, just a towel wrapped around his chest.”

Many people turned to coffee shops for a respite from the cold. Kevin Porter, the front-of-house manager for Bluestem Bistro said the shop had about 20 percent more visitors Thursday than on a normal day.

“It’s been really, really busy,” he said. “So many people are coming in and getting something warm to drink and just taking a minute to relax out of the cold.”

Mallory Ayers, sophomore in business administration and Union Station employee, said Thursday’s sales were about double those of a normal business day.

“We had lines backed out the door for about a hour when it was really crazy,” she said. “It’s been steady all day, really.”

Pratt said she would enjoy cold weather more if it snowed.

“I wouldn’t mind all of this if there was some snow,” she said. “It needs to be all or nothing. I’d like a winter wonderland or else bring back the warm weather.”

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