After frigid few days, weekend to warm up

Rob Baxter

Clarence Noles was taking a walk on the Sinnissippi recreation path Wednesday when he stopped inside the greenhouse where the temperature was a balmy 80 degrees.

But despite the frigid conditions, Noles had no interest in the warmth. He just wanted something to drink from a vending machine.

While others across the Rock River Valley shivered and ducked inside video stores, theaters and museums to escape the cold, Noles and a few other brave souls made their way along the river on foot.

“It’s not really that bad out as long as you are moving and in the sun,” said Noles, a truck driver who had received an unexpected day off from work. “I was at the Y and was in the sauna, then took a walk. This is a good way to start out the new year.”

Temperatures hovered in the teens Wednesday afternoon with wind chills at times dipping to near zero.

But after today, the cold should soon be a distant memory with highs forecast this weekend in the 40s and possibly 50s. Rain is possible through Monday.

Despite the lower-than-average temperatures Wednesday, most folks took the conditions in stride — knowing it could be much colder.

Still, some found the warmest place they could think of to thaw out before venturing back outside.

“Oh my gosh, yes, people have been talking about the cold,” said Jennifer Marshall, who works at LA Tan on East State Street in Rockford. She said the salon had been busier than she expected after the holidays, with many folks using gift cards and other tanning-related gifts.

Carpenter’s Place and other warming centers were available around the city.

“We had some people come in this morning that often stay outside and to themselves (when weather permits),” said Kay Larrick of Carpenter’s Place. “They were very grateful.”

Lani Richardson decided to take eight kids, including two of her own, to the Discovery Center for one last outing before school starts today in the Harlem School District.

“This is the place to take them, one last hurrah,” she said. “It’s family, it’s Christmastime. Their homework is done, the holidays are done and the presents are opened.”

Staff writer Rob Baxter can be reached at 815-987-1369 or