Warmth goes on ... and on

As Peter Mucha's online story notes, Philadelphia will be flirting with records for warm overnights to end this month and to begin February.

We would add that with 99 percent of the votes counted, December and January will come in as the seventh-warmest Dec. 1-Jan. 31 period since record-keeping began with the winter of 1874-75.

Taken together, the two months are running better than 5 degrees above normal.

Based on today's projected high, January will come in at a balmy 38; recall that December was an even balmier 43.3.

The two-month average would weigh in at 40.7, placing it at No. 7 on the list, just ahead of 1937 and 2007.

The all-time warm king, 1932, is way out of reach at an almost unbelievable 45.2 for the two months. The runner-up, 1890, is a full 2.5 degrees behind at 42.7.

The others in the top six are 1933, 2002, 1913, and 1950, respectively.

As we've written, this season has been characterized by a persistent pattern in the Arctic that has kept cold air from penetrating into the East for a more than a couple of days.

Rumors of pattern changes have proved unfounded, and on average the sun makes its biggest energy increases of the year in February.