Saturday, February 13, 2016

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.

POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 11:56 AM
Fog Thursday morning in West Chester. (Gary Miles/Staff)

If you have the sensation that you’ve been driving through the clouds on several recent mornings, don’t worry, no one is spiking your coffee.

For at least the eighth day this month, fog settled upon parts of the region again Thursday morning, with visibilities dropping to a quarter-mile in Blue Bell.

Officially, “dense fog” – defined as visibility under a quarter mile --has been reported twice so far at Philadelphia International Airport. That’s already above the monthly average.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 11:32 AM
Should be a good weekend for fishing for stripers in the surf at the Shore.

As our NBC10 forecasters have noted, temperatures are going to rocket into the 60s during the weekend, and, yes, this is rarefied December warmth.

At least three records could be set, based on the forecasts.

So far not a single freezing reading has been recorded at the official Philadelphia measuring station at Philadelphia International Airport.

POSTED: Friday, December 4, 2015, 1:11 PM
Scene from Buffalo from November 2014, back when it used to snow up there. ((John Normile / Getty Images))

As reported, Buffalo has set a record for the longest wait for measurable snow at the National Weather Service’s official measuring station.

And based on what the computer models are spitting out, that record is going to become tougher and tougher to match, even if the planet gets warmer.

It’s not just Buffalo that is snow deprived. Syracuse, which actually is significantly snowier than Buffalo on average, has measured only 0.8 inches so far. By now, it usually has had over a foot.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 12:50 PM
Chilled Center City pedestrians: such scenes might be infrequent this month, forecasters say. (( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) )

The latest monthly forecast from the Climate Prediction Center paints most of the nation red – that is, on the warm side -- and the  two-week outlook is even redder.

For our area, the likelihood of a warmer-than-normal December is in the range of 70 percent, and the federal forecasters see only a 3 percent chance that December will come in colder-than-normal.

The outooks is based significantly on the El Niño warming in the tropical Pacific. As you no doubt have heard by now, a monster one is brewing in the tropical Pacific.

POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2015, 12:46 PM
(TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

Assuming the forecast holds, the official thermometer at Philadelphia International Airport will register its first freezing reading of the season Monday morning.

In the period of record, already this is in the top 25 for a late first  official freeze, and should it happen on Monday, that would become the 11th-longest wait for the first 32-degree reading in the 142-year database.

We note that the first freeze dates in the 21st Century have been coming later. The long-term average is Nov. 8; since 2001 the average is Nov. 13. The record is Dec. 11, in 1939.

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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