Despite some recent cold weather, the rest of December is going to continue the trend of unusually high temperatures that Philadelphia has seen this year.
One record-breaking high forecasters are predicting is 73 degrees on Christmas Eve in Philly.
“That would break the record by quite a bit,” said Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
That’s a record-breaking high for that day in this region, currently held by 64-degree Christmas Eves in 2014 and 1980. It also would tie the record for warmest December day with Dec. 4 and 7, 1998, which both hit 73 degrees.
Temperatues on Dec. 23 are projected to reach 66 degrees, which would tie the record of that date set in 1990.
In the immediately approaching week, Gaines said locals can expect to see temperatures increase by approximately five degrees a day leading up to Christmas. Christmas Day will be a bit cooler than the day before, forecast to have a high in the 60s.
The bizarrely warm weather is believed to be caused in part by the Pacific weather system by El Niño.
“We do have a strong El Niño in progress,” Gaines said. “It is one of the drivers. The polar vortex is in a very strong state over the North Pole right now, which is the opposite of what we saw in the middle to later stages of last winter.”
However, others believe that man-made climate change has accentuated El Nino’s effects by changing the jetstream.
Cold weather isn’t expected to take hold at least until January, and forecasters are saying February and March will be when the real winter season begins.