Brilliant sunshine and southwest winds brought record-shattering temperatures to much of the Midwest on Friday. Readings surged into the 70s from the Plains, eastward across Iowa and much of Illinois. The 67-degree high registered at O’Hare airport surpassed the previous record, which stood for 137 years, by 5 degrees. Even the nation’s icebox, International Falls, MN soared to an unheard of high of 57 degrees, a level 34 degrees above normal. Though rare, readings in the 60s and 70s during February in Chicago have occurred before. What may be unprecedented with our current warm spell is its persistence. The longest stretch of 60-degree weather in February is 4 days, occurring in 1976. Chicago’s sixty-degree warmth is forecast to persist well into next week, though onshore winds on Sunday may limit warming near lake Michigan.