A roller coaster ride of unpredictable weather continued Sunday as high-temperature records fell across Nebraska and western Iowa.
In Omaha, the 119-year-old record for Jan. 19 — 60 degrees, set in 1895 — was shattered when Eppley Airfield reported a high of 65 at 3 p.m. Norfolk and Lincoln reported record highs of 66.
Other cities where records fell Sunday included McCook, with a high of 68, and North Platte, 66 degrees. The North Platte record had stood since 1906, according to the National Weather Service there.
In western Iowa, Sioux City had a high of 65 degrees at 3 p.m. That easily broke the previous record of 59, set in 1921.
Denison had a high of 63 and Council Bluffs had a high of 64.
Dan Pydynowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, The World-Herald's weather consultant, said the unseasonably warm weather should begin to abate today, when a high of about 40 is expected. The normal temperature for this time of year, he said, is 32 degrees.
“The wind will begin picking up again Monday, with gusts of 30 to 40 mph,” Pydynowski said. “Then a core of cold temperatures will drop down from up north, giving us temperatures in the upper teens on Tuesday.”
A high of 20 is predicted for Omaha on Wednesday before highs dip back into the teens on Thursday. There is a chance for a dusting of snow midweek, Pydynowski said.
“It's been very dry, but in terms of soil moisture, February, March and April are the months we usually get most of the precipitation,” he said. “We could still be OK with some good precipitation later on.”
Pydynowski characterized January's weather as “very up and down.”
The first 10 days of the month were marked by bitter cold, with highs that often failed to move out of the teens. During that period, the warmest day was Jan. 4, when the mercury rose to 39, he said.
“Then from the 11th through the 18th we were experiencing afternoon highs generally in the 40s and 50s, with a high of 52 on the 12th.”
Golfers and ice skaters alike took advantage of Sunday's beautiful weather.
Jim Etter, 66, a part-time pro at Elmwood Golf Course, said most courses in Omaha were “absolutely packed.”
Tom Mruz, 65, of Omaha said he planned his golf outing when he saw the forecast.
“I knew it was going to be nice, so I said the yard work can wait,” Mruz said. “I ended up taking off my golf gloves. It is absolutely gorgeous.”
At the University of Nebraska Medical Center's ice rink near 42nd and Emile Streets, dozens of skaters showed up for the last day of skating. The rink opened for the season on Nov. 30.
“It has been steady all day,” Mike Madison of Ice Rink Events said early Sunday afternoon. “We have had around 200 people come through already.”
Elmwood Park was another busy gathering place for warm weather worshippers. Jill Kreikemeier and her husband, Jeremy, of Omaha were trying to keep up with their three kids.
“We saw it was going to be nice, so we packed a kite, Frisbees and bikes and went to the park,” Jill said. “We thought we might as well get the kids out of the house and get some energy out. They have been cooped up for a while.”