Warmth of the seasons

This is the first day of the meteorological winter, and actual winter weather is due to settle in once this pesky rain gets out of the way.

Looking back, the last three meteorological seasons have been quite remarkably warm.

A footnote: For bookkeeping purposes, the meteorological community divides the seasons into tidy three-month increments. Thus the meteorological spring begins March 1; summer, June 1, and fall, Sept. 1.

Officially, each of the last nine months finished above normal in Philadelphia, and taken together, this was by far the warmest March 1-Nov. 30 period in 137 years of records.

By our calculation, the average temperature came in at 65.8, beating 1991 -- 64.6 -- by a full 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit. In third place was 1931, at 64.3, followed by 1994 and 1995, both at 64 even.

The winds rushing in this afternoon, however, should foreshadow the onset of true wintry temperatures lingering into next week.