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70-degree Leap Day ties Columbus record

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Shorts, flip-flops and T-shirts were all spotted on Ohio State’s campus Wednesday, as Leap Day 2012 proved to be warm enough to add it to the record books.

This Leap Day is the warmest it has ever been, tying the previous record of 70 degrees on Feb. 29, 1976.

When the temperature hit 70 degrees at Port Columbus at about 2 p.m. Wednesday, it officially marked the highest temperature of this year’s meteorological winter, which runs from the beginning of December through the end of February.

Michael Walker, a third-year in international business, said this winter has not been like a normal Ohio winter.

“I heard it was going to be really cold in Ohio and freezing in the winter,” Walker said. “So I’m pleasantly surprised how warm it is today … it is a lot better than I thought it would be.”

Jeff Rogers, an OSU atmospheric sciences professor, said the 70-degree mark in February is an interesting one.

“It happens once in a while, but not very often, and it’s not too unusual for late February,” Rogers said. “Every once in a while we can have days like this.”

Rogers attributed the good weather to a tropical jet stream that made its way north.

“The air masses and jet stream realign and brings us some tropical air,” Rogers said. “All of this is happening ahead of a cold front.”

Rogers said because of the cold front, Thursday’s weather might be about 20 degrees colder than the high on Wednesday. Rogers said on Friday, the weather was supposed to warm up more and reach into the 60s.

“The weather should stay fairly nice though,” Rogers said.

Students around campus, including Cicily Murray, a first-year in speech and hearing sciences, were excited about the warm weather.

“It’s really nice but it’s kind of disappointing that tomorrow it won’t be like this,” Murray said.

Rogers predicted in early January that this year’s winter would be more mild than normal, due to the weather system La Niña.

“I’m surprised La Niña held up so well,” Rogers said, “and I’m surprised my forecast held up that well.”

Rogers said the affects of La Niña should diminish as we transition into March.

“La Niña should diminish now that we go into March,” Rogers said. “It should bring us some winter, but looking at the 10-day forecast, there is no sign of winter weather yet.”

Columbus now ends the three-month winter period with an official reading of 11.9 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Kayla Harrah, a third-year in pharmaceutical science, said this is not like the winters she is used to.

“I think it’s really nice out, it’s kind of out of character for February, but it’s nice, we are getting out and doing stuff more,” Harrah said.

Devon Walsh, a first-year in German, said the weather made him want to go outside more than on a normal winter day.

“The weather’s great, makes going to class more tolerable,” Walsh said. “It also makes me not want to go to class at the same time because it’s so nice out.”

Danielle Seamon contributed to this story.

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