Mild Saturday brings people outdoors before temperatures drop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mild Saturday brings people outdoors before temperatures drop

Cedar Falls Silo Ice Climbing Cedar Falls Silo Ice Climbing

You know you live in Iowa when 40 degrees is "warm."

With such mild weather Saturday and the threat of frigid temperatures looming, many eastern Iowans were out enjoying the sunshine.

Jamison Hampton, a 16-year-old sophomore at Cedar Falls High School, works at the ice silo in Cedar Falls. That's where people can ice climb on a silo, on which UNI professor Don Briggs created a cascading wall of frozen water.

"There's sun and it's not snowing and it's sweatshirt weather," Hampton said Saturday, wearing a grey hoodie sweatshirt while working outside. "When you're climbing up there, you get really hot in your coat, and you don't have to worry about that today."

Ben Hoksch is a graduate student at UNI and also works at the ice silo.

"It's nice to get out when it's not too freezing. We can be out here for more than an hour or two without having to run inside to the warming house," he said.

Surprisingly few ice climbers showed up on Saturday's sunny afternoon, Briggs said. By early afternoon, only about a dozen had come to climb, when a good Saturday can bring out closer to 50.

Holiday travel may be to blame for that, but it certainly wasn't the weather.

"We're getting ready for another cold spell, so we're enjoying it out here while we can," Hoksch said. "A lot of times people are stuck inside this time of year, so I've kind of discovered ice climbing, along with cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, as a way to stay active in the winter, you know, when most people are trying to stay warm."

Some people were using the warm weather for outdoor recreation while others were focused on routine responsibilities.

The Happy Hippo Car Wash in Cedar Falls was hopping Saturday afternoon, as customers such as Sarah Gauthier got rid of the grime.

"The salt, the sand, the dirt from the snow plows, all that," Gauthier said. "My daughter wanted to write her name in it, so I figured it was time."

Tony McGee and his family brought three vehicles to the car wash.

"Enjoying the nice day and want to take advantage of it and get my car cleaned up," he said. "Last week it was horrible. Below zero."

In Dubuque, sledders of all ages gathered at hills throughout the city for a relatively warm day of fun.

The ice silo is in its 14th year and is located one mile west of Cedar Falls, on Jepsen Road. It's open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. More details are on its website HERE.

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