Much of the United States has been enjoying unseasonably warm weather, and it has many people asking whatever happened to winter? NBC's Ann Thompson looks at the "why" behind the wacky winter weather.
Temperatures in the 50s and 60s across much of the Northeast and Great Lakes region on Tuesday added to the drama over whether this month will go down as the warmest January on record in the continental U.S. The warm spell has also generated plenty of chatter and even a spring of sorts -- folks walking around in shorts and flowers blooming early.
Weather.com expected at least a dozen cities on Tuesday would set or approach records for a Jan. 31, with temperatures up to 20 degrees above average. "With the very warm air mass, several more record highs are anticipated on Wednesday as we kick off the month of February," weather.com meteorologist Tim Ballisty wrote.
David Duprey / AP
For Clarence, N.Y., Jan. 9 looked more like spring than winter, when the town is usually under snow and busy with snowmobiles.
Deke Arndt, the head honcho when it comes to monitoring temperatures for the National Weather Service, told msnbc.com that where he lives, in Asheville, N.C., he gets "a lot of people" asking about the emergence of daffodils in recent weeks.
Arndt tells them that while he's not a plant expert, "it's been very warm" and plants "are responding to soil temperatures."
Kevin LaMarque / Reuters
A cyclist on Tuesday enjoys the spring-like day outside Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where it got to 65 degrees F.
"That's where my expertise ends," adds Arndt, whose formal title is chief of the National Climatic Data Center's monitoring service.
Arndt told msnbc.com on Monday that his office will report on Feb. 7, next Tuesday, as to whether last month set a record. In the meantime, msnbc.com asked its Facebook audience to share what winter's been like in their neck of the woods. The overwhelming response: warm.
A new jet stream is causing high temperatures across the U.S. making for a nontraditional winter. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.
Here's a sampling:
- Deborah Scales Gunter: Yes, in southeast Alabama it's been crazy weather. I even saw one of my iris blooming now and even a light color butter cup blooming now; it's too early for them but weather is crazy here -- warm, raining and sunny and warmer and then turns cold again.
- Roxanne Stickler (Claremore, Okla.): Yep! This time last year there was snow on the ground and more coming! Today it was in upper 60s!
- Patty Mauck (southern Indiana): 60 degrees! Lovin it! I don't need cold weather or snow, ever.
- Talicia Harris White (South Carolina): 72 tomorrow, I'm not from here but I know that is not normal. Why are all my neighbors crazy? I'm declaring, climate change is Real!
- Hope Jenkinson: Utah has been feeling like spring not winter. No substantial snow. Gonna be in drought this summer I'm afraid.
- Don Scott: I'm in northwest Montana in a rainstorm, what little snow we had is melting, and my usual 6 foot snowbanks are only about a foot high and shrinking. This has been the most unusually warm winter I've ever experienced in 62 years on this planet.
- Bonita Wood: We have had no winter here in Oklahoma, it's like spring time, daffodils are blooming, etc.
- Melonee Pappas Ryan: Been warm here in Alabama ... and unfortunately, we pay for it with tornadoes!
- Precious Lmnop Singh: Snow storm yesterday, 53 degrees tomorrow. This is not the Michigan January I know.
- Sandra Dampier Mickelson (Astoria, Ore.): I don't like unseasonable weather. I like the seasons to be the way they're supposed to be. I live in what is considered a mild climate. We used to be in a 30 year cycle for huge snowstorms, but it's been over 40 years and none yet. That means havoc for the other seasons of the year. Nothing is quite right anymore.
- Chryssi Mudge: Nebraska was in the 60s today ... We should be in the 30s with snow ... Heck my lawn is still green in spots.
- Julie White Santos: Very warm here in Wilmington, N.C. Have not had any temps below freezing yet. In the 60s and 70s during the day.
Temperatures are rising around the nation, making for an unusually warm January. Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore reports.
There was, however, an exception to the warm rule -- a deep freeze in Alaska.
Shelley Chaffin of Anchorage, Alaska, posted: "Warm? Has anybody looked at the temperatures in Alaska? This winter has given new meaning to the phrase "the frozen north!"
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