Back to the '60s

At 2 p.m. the official temperature nudged past 62 at Philadelphia International Airport, the highest reading since the first day of this mad meteorological winter.

The snow leftovers are taking a radiational pounding, but you probably noticed that some of the more-hideous piles are hanging tough.

After a brief cool-down, the forecasts are calling for even higher temperatures later in the week.

Is winter toast? Last year the snow stopped in February and and winter emptied into a remarkably warm period that persisted deep into the fall.

But a 60-degree reading in February in Philadelphia doesn't necessarily mean that the swallows will be showing up early at the San Juan Capistrano mission.

Those 60-plus temperatures aren't all that unusual in February, occurring on average about twice a year. They show up during the first two weeks of February on average roughly every other year.

The official readings hit 60 or better 11 times in 1976, a record, but a significant snowstorm followed in March.

Major March snowstorms also followed February 60-plus readings in 1956 and 1960.