The past two weeks have provided nearly perfect weather for outdoor winter activitites.
With temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark, it has been cold enough for some area ponds to freeze over - but not too cold to venture outside - affording ice skaters prime opportunity for pond hockey.
Many ice fishermen, equipped with shelter huts and other apparatus, have flocked to smaller lakes and the western portion of Crystal Lake. Even on Monday, fishermen were taking advantage of the winter weather to drop lines near West Beach - while the center of Crystal Lake remained open water.
But Mother Nature is expected to deliver a dose of warm weather this week, which will likely thaw area ponds and fishing spots. It also will melt away the slight dusting of snow McHenry County has received this season.
The January "heat wave" is expected to begin Tuesday, Jan. 8, with temperatures climbing near 40 degrees. An anticipated storm front is expected to bring a 60-percent chance of rain showers on Thursday, according to Weather.com.
By Saturday, Jan. 12, weather forecasts are calling for a high of 54 degrees, according to Weather.com. But by nightfall, the balmly temps will move eastward and depart Northern Illinois.
In fact, the Weather.com forecasts presently call for temperatures on Saturday, Jan. 12, to plunge from 54 degrees to a low of 17 degrees by night. Daytime temperatures should hang near 30 degrees and dip into the teens at night for the remainder of January.
Skaters and fishermen will likely have their shot at returning to the ice by the end of next week. But, skiers and snowboarders will have to rely on the help of snow-making machines.