Leaves still falling, people enjoying outdoor activity during unseasonable warmth

Record-setting warmth hits Kansas
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:39 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Warm weather Thursday meant a lot of people spent time outside, taking advantage of 70-plus-degree weather in early December. Motivating people across the Wichita area and beyond to get outside is the reality that temperatures will drop closer to what’s expected this time of year.

There’s an interesting sight in some Wichita neighborhoods with Christmas lights and decorations up, along with yards full of leaves and some trees that are still popping color, having not yet lost their leaves.

Working in a yard Thursday, Gabriel Fierro was busy with a job he though would be over by December, raking leaves.

“You just never know what you’re gonna get,” he said. “This year, we got leaves to pick up instead of snow. It’s odd for December.”

While this warmth is unusual for this time of year, Fierro’s crew was among many trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday’s weather brought a larger crowd to the Sedgwick County Zoo than the attraction is used to seeing in cold-weather months. Combined with an overall warmer-than-normal stretch over the last several weeks, significantly more people visited the zoo in November than had in the previous two Novembers, 2019 and 2020.

“We had 18,000 people come to the zoo last year during November and we’re at 24,000 this year. So, that’s really exciting,” Sedgwick County Zoo Strategic Communications Director Jennica King said.

The zoo also had more than 100,000 people come out to its Wild Lights exhibit, a special event that’s drawn enough interest for the decision to bring it back to the zoo next year.

King said it’s not just guests enjoying the warmer weather. The animals are liking it, too.

“We’ve definitely got some animals you’re not seeing in the winter at the zoo because they like to hid inside or closer to their heated rocks and things like that, but we’re able to see those animals moving around a lot more,” she said.

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