Right now you’re either pouring sweat in your puffy coat or you just went for it and are strolling around in flip-flops because temperatures on this December day have crept near 60 degrees in New York. The balmy weather is here to stay through the weekend, with Sunday likely seeing temperatures close to 65 degrees. The previous record high for that date is 63 degrees — set in 1923.
New York City has basically turned into that one house on your block that doesn’t take their Christmas lights down until April. Average highs this time of year are normally about 44 degrees. Dense fog blanketed the area this morning, but skies became — and should stay — sunny until Monday, when rain will return to the area, along with cooler temperatures.
It’s also not just New York City. Most of the eastern United States and the Midwest are enjoying these springlike temperatures. Buffalo, in upstate New York — which looked like this last November — hasn’t gotten any snowfall so far this year; it’s the first time that’s happened in more than 115 years.
But to what do we owe this strange and disorienting gift from Mother Nature? It’s actually none other than our old foe, the polar vortex. After whining about the polar vortex for what feels like years now, it’s decided to send us a great holiday gift by staying up north and trapping the cold air in the Arctic. According to NBC News:
But this time, instead of blanketing much of the nation in a brutal arctic blast, the polar vortex is keeping the deep freeze away. That’s because the vortex — an arctic cyclone of extremely cold air high up in the atmosphere — is strong right now and fencing all that cold up north, meteorologists say.
Of course, El Niño, which plans to hang around this year with “Godzilla”-like force, is already keeping temperatures mild, but most of the credit goes to the polar vortex for shielding the U.S. from the real freezing cold.
But even as the area cools down after the weekend, winter, as we’ve said before, really does not seem to be coming. According to AccuWeather, the mild temperatures will probably stick around through the holiday and even into the New Year, so it’s probably worth it to quit dreaming of a white Christmas right now.