Saturday, February 6, 2016

POSTED: Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 11:48 AM
Christmas Eve biker in Midtown Manhattan; no snow tires necessary. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Snowless starts to winter around here are nothing new, but so far this one has been absolutely rumor-less.

Given the almost immeasurable numbers of computer model runs around the world, a snow rumor seven or 10 days out is all but inevitable.

Our favorite local chat board, phillywx.com, has talk of the models throwing a few bones in the long range, but nothing that would qualify as a bona-fide rumor, let alone a threat.

POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2015, 8:45 AM
Daffodils bloom in London; western Europe also has been amazingly warm. ((AP Photo/Frank Augstein))

In the period of record, which the U.S. government dates to 1880, the annually averaged global temperature never has changed month-to-month more than a degree Fahrenheit in either direction.

So the only thing that would keep 2015 from becoming the warmest on record in the National Climatic Data Center – surpassing last year -- would be a December cool-down beyond precedent.

And that’s not going to happen.


Latest global temperature report ices title.
POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2015, 10:57 AM
Hardy group braving winter last week on Kelly Drive: maybe more where that came from. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer / File photo)

The Climate Prediction Center’s updated seasonal outlook, posted Thursday, doesn’t have quite the certainty of its two-week forecast.

But the concept basically is the same: Key indicators are favoring above-normal temperatures, along with an active Gulf Coast-East Coast storm track, right on through the winter.

The reasoning in the forecast discussion probably could be summed up in one Spanish phrase – El Niño.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 11:47 AM
Downtown Los Angeles on Monday, where the high was 59; it was 70 here. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The warm virus that has gripped the East this month has left some astounding departures from normal temperatures here and elsewhere.

Through Tuesday, New York was running 12.1 degrees above normal for December; Burlington, Vt., 11.5; Syracuse, 10.5, ; Boston, 9.8; Washington, 8.7, and Portland, 8.3.

Philadelphia’s averaged official temperature for the first 15 days of the month stood at 51.2, that’s 11. 5 above normal, and beat out the 50.7 of Dec. 1-15, 2001, No. 2 on the list.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 11:38 AM
(from left) Carrie Sherwood, with Jayson, 11/2; Regina Holmes, pushing BellaJean, 6 months; and Jacquie Poprick with Jayden, 3 enjoy a stroll down Kelly Drive. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer / File photo)

As our Emily Babay reported on philly.com, the official Philadelphia high-temperature for Dec. 15 was toppled even before last call when it hit 69 at 1:14 a.m.

Since this was the fourth consecutive day of new high-temperature standard, that ties a record.

The city has set high-temperature records four straight days three other times in the period of record, dating to 1874 – June 4, 5, 6, and 7, 1925; Oct. 4-7, 1941, and March 12-15, 1990. Never has it happened five days in a row.

POSTED: Monday, December 14, 2015, 1:42 PM
Tennis anyone? This is certainly the weather for it; another record fell Monday. ( DAVID SWANSON /Staff Photographer)

At 1 p.m. Monday the official thermometer at Philadelphia International Airport hit 70, and that beat the former highest reading for a Dec. 14 of 69, set way back in 1881.

Yes, it is unusual to see a 70-degree reading in mid-December, let alone on two consecutive days, yet these things have happened.

In 1966, the Philadelphia temperature hit the 70s on Dec. 9 and 10, and two weeks later the region had one of its biggest Christmas Eve snowstorms.

POSTED: Saturday, December 12, 2015, 5:34 PM
(from left) Carrie Sherwood, with Jayson, 11/2; Regina Holmes, pushing BellaJean, 6 months; and Jacquie Poprick with Jayden, 3. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

The temperature at the government’s official thermometer at Philadelphia International Airport fell just short of 70, but the high of 69 broke the record of 65.

That one was set way back in 1931, during the Hoover administration.

It was even warmer elsewhere – up to 72 at Wing’s Field, in Blue Bell. And Tony Gigi, now retired from the National Weather Service, weighed in with a 73 from Mount Laurel.

POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2015, 5:00 AM
Ice breaker at work in Antarctica, where ice extent is near normal; it has to be cold somewhere. (REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Handout)

We’ll be surprised if November doesn’t come in as the warmest November on record worldwide in the official federal database. It already is No. 1 on the satellite list.

Likewise, we expect December to finish at or near the top, and 2015 is a lock to become the warmest year on record in the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which dates to 1880.

In Philadelphia, December temperatures are running 6-plus degrees above normal, and come Sunday, they are forecast to jump over the normal for the date – 45 – by 20 degrees, or more.

About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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