Warmest day yet relieves winter-weary Chicagoans: ‘I’m definitely ready to enjoy outside’

People across the city came out from hibernation Saturday as temperatures hit 50 degrees to help thaw Chicago out of a brutal February.

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Temperatures are forecasted to reach 62 a high of degrees March 8, 2021, in Chicago.

James Najarian takes a break from jogging on the Lakefront Trail near 31st Street Beach Saturday afternoon as temperatures hit 50 degrees.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

After below-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall troubled Chicagoans for most of February, winter-weary residents breathed a collective sigh of relief Saturday as the city enjoyed its warmest day of the year.

The Lakefront trail was flooded with runners, walkers and cyclists who were basking in the sun on the first weekend since the lakefront was officially reopened from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s coronavirus shutdown.

With temperatures reaching a balmy 50 degrees, some broke out their shorts for the first time this year, while others remained bundled in winter jackets and hats. A car with three young men drove down Lake Shore Drive with their windows down, blaring 24kGoldn and iann dior’s pop hit “Mood.”

At Montrose Beach, dozens of dogs ran around in the melting snow and wet sand as their beloved humans stood by and watched. Some of the owners sparked up conversations with other masked dog lovers.

Chicago tied record high temperatures set for March 9 over 40 years ago.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“Just having the sun out, it’s amazing, especially with quarantine,” said Kristyn Allen, who was with her dog, Mason. “We’ve been cooped up inside all winter and so to just see the sun and... to get out and just see other people, it’s really nice.”

Alex Faulkner and his wifedrove to the dog park from East Village for the first time this year after their car was stuck in the snow and ice earlier this month.

“When you’re in the polar vortex, your gauge is whether your face is hurting or not, so now that it’s not, I’m definitely ready to enjoy outside,” Faulkner, 29, said.

Many felt a huge improvement to their physical and mental wellbeing thanks to the warmer weather, including Madeline Hallahan, who made her friend go on a walk with her to the lakefront after a stressful week.

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Madeline Hallahan and Morgan Bohlman pose for a picture at Montrose Beach in the Uptown neighborhood Saturday morning.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“We were not expecting there to be all these people with their dogs out,” Hallahan, 24, said. “I didn’t think it would be this warm. It’s just a huge, physical relief to come out right now and to see other people, too. I don’t know any of these people, but I’m so happy to see them, and they’re having fun.

“Seasonal depression is real, and I think a lot of people are feeling relief today, and the dogs, too,” she said.

The warm weather is expected to stick around through the weekend, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Ricky Castro. Sunday is expected to see temperatures in the 50s, again, though cloud coverage could prevent the temperature from reaching the mid-50s.

A dog stretches on a patch of snow at Montrose Beach in the Uptown neighborhood on Saturday morning.

A dog stretches on a patch of snow at Montrose Beach in the Uptown neighborhood on Saturday morning.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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