Arctic blast freezes campus as break ends

Wesley Fane The Daily Illini Shreyas Madhur, junior in Engineering, walks along Wright Street late Thursday afternoon. I just came in yesterday, said Madhur, who transferred from a school in India. Yesterdays temperatures were by far the coldest Madhur had ever felt. I have nothing to compare it to.

Wesley Fane The Daily Illini Shreyas Madhur, junior in Engineering, walks along Wright Street late Thursday afternoon. “I just came in yesterday,” said Madhur, who transferred from a school in India. Yesterday’s temperatures were “by far” the coldest Madhur had ever felt. “I have nothing to compare it to.”

By John McDermott

Champaign-Urbana residents and University students back early from break endured drastically low temperatures Thursday, which remained at negative 6 degrees Fahrenheit most of the day.

Meteorologists recorded a low of 14 degrees below zero and a high of 3 below zero, said Jim Angel, Illinois state climatologist at the Illinois Water Survey.

Angel attributed the drop in temperature to the four and a half inch snowfall Tuesday night and an influx of cold, dry arctic air blowing into Illinois from Canada. Although remarkably cold, Thursday’s low did not break the day’s record low of negative 18 degrees, which was measured on Jan. 15, 1893.

Although many students are still home for winter break, some students already on campus noticed that life slowed even further with the subzero temperatures.

“I’ve become a lot less social at night because of the weather,” said Eric Striegel, graduate student and ARC facility manager. “I don’t really go out.”

Striegel estimated that ARC attendance decreased by 60 percent because of the weather.

“There are definitely not as many people coming in here because it’s so cold outside,” Striegel said.

With temperatures so cold, Striegel found it a struggle for him to make the typically easy four-block walk to work Thursday morning.

Others refused to let the weather interfere with their daily schedules. Kirsten Faught, freshman in LAS and Urbana resident, braved the frigid cold to meet her friends at ARC for the standing volleyball game they have played each day this break.

Despite her hatred of cold weather, Faught does not let the elements affect her day-to-day activities.

“The weather doesn’t affect me at all,” Faught said. “I just dress warmer.”

Despite the frigid weather, however, some local merchants reported only slight changes in their number of customers.

“We were surprised with how busy we were for lunch,” said Kesha Riley, manager at Potbelly Sandwich Works.

“I was getting ready to send people home because I didn’t think I would need them, but we got busy… we probably did a few hundred dollars more than we expected.”

Ian Joaquin, general manager at Geovanti’s Bar and Grill, said that sales were no lower than any other day during the slow winter break period. The only difference was a higher proportion of deliveries versus walk-in orders.

“Break is dead,” Joaquin said. “When students aren’t here there is hardly any business. The weather does not affect that at all.”