Warmest Christmas Eve on record to unfold across eastern US

Your Odds of Getting a White Christmas
Your Odds of Getting a White Christmas


Any hopes of a white Christmas that the weekend chill brought will be dashed in the eastern United States, with this Christmas Eve shaping up to be the warmest on record in many communities.

"There is a high probability for record-setting warmth up and down the entire Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine [on Christmas Eve]," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Englund said.

As the jet stream builds back northward, unseasonable warmth will return this Christmas week and replace the more typical December chill from the weekend.

The jet stream is a strong river of air high in the atmosphere that guides weather systems and separates warm air to the south from cold air to the north.

Christmas Eve will feel more like an early autumn or spring day with highs ranging from the 50s in Maine to the 70s in the mid-Atlantic and the lower 80s in parts of the Southeast. That equates to highs that are 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

Widespread record highs will not only be challenged but shattered in many towns and cities. The potential exists for records to be topped by more than 5 degrees from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to New York City and to Burlington, Vermont.

Philadelphia's all-time December record high of 73 F, set on two days in 1998, will be in jeopardy.

"It appears high temperatures will be close to 70 F on Christmas Eve in New York City, which is about 30 degrees above normal for the date," AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger said. "It was also unusually warm last Christmas Eve in 2014, when Central Park reached 58 F for a high."

A surge of higher dewpoints will arrive with the warmth, making Christmas Eve actually feel humid by December standards along the I-95 corridor.

Along with erasing any hopes for a white Christmas, the warmth will mean residents can leave the heavy winter jackets, hats or mittens at home when heading out for last minute shopping or to Christmas Eve services.

The only chance of a white Christmas will be in the Tug Hill region of New York state, east of Lake Ontario, and northern Maine.

See photos of snowy weather this year:

The warmth will come despite some clouds and a couple of showers in the area. Those wanting to take advantage of the warmth by caroling, taking a walk, firing up the grill or engaging in any other outdoor activity should plan to keep an umbrella handy.

The passage of a cold front will ease the extreme warmth in the Northeast for Christmas Day, but temperatures will still be well above normal for the holiday. In the Southeast, Friday will likely be a repeat of Thursday.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee, the return of persistent cold will not be the theme for the remainder of 2015.

"The extreme warmth of late will certainly be muted after Christmas Day, but above average temperatures continuing through the end of the month will set the stage for December monthly temperature records to be broken in some areas of the East," he said.

More from AccuWeather:
Snow to grind Christmas travel to a halt in western US; Rain to cause delays in eastern US
Brushfire looms ominously over buildings near Perth, Australia
Southern US storms to raise flood, severe weather threat into Christmas Eve

Originally published