Taste of winter warmth to last through weekend

Friday, December 31, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:45 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

After experiencing one of its coolest summers on record, Mid-Missouri is now experiencing an unusually warm winter.

Thursday’s high temperature of 68 was only 4 degrees shy of the record high set in 1965. The warm weather is expected to continue through Saturday, with temperatures in the upper 60s.

For tonight, the National Weather Service is predicting partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-40s. New Year’s Day will be cooler, with temperatures in the upper 50s and a 50 percent chance of rain. Sunday will be mostly cloudy, with a 40 percent chance of rain and a high in the upper 40s.

Contrary to common belief, the drastic change in temperature does not affect the likelihood of becoming ill.

“The temperature actually has nothing to do with whether you get sick or not,” said Heather Baer, public information specialist with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department. “(In warmer weather) people will be more likely to be outside getting some recreation, which we’re less likely to do when it’s really cold.”

According to Baer, being outside might reduce the chance of getting sick because when people stay inside, they are exposed to recirculated air, which may carry bacteria and viruses.

The return of cold weather, then, increases the chance of illness.

“It just increases our exposure to close contact with people when they’re sick,” she said. “It’s more likely that you will catch something from someone else from that re-circulated air. That’s when the viruses spread the quickest.”

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