Record Warmth Looks to Have Staying Power

March 16, 2012; 5:21 AM ET
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<a href=""> Facebook fan</a> John M. posted this photo of daffodils shining brightly in the warm air of Wilmington, N.C.

Pi Day was was warmer than, well, pie.

Scores of temperature records fell again on Wednesday, in some areas for the third straight day, making this unusual pattern a sort of March heat wave.

For warm weather fans, the news is good. The warmth is settling in and doesn't look like its in any hurry to leave, with 60s, 70s and even 80s expected to stretch from the Plains to the East Coast through next week.

As Meteorologist Dan DePodwin pointed out in an earlier story, residents in this area can put away their winter jackets for the week. The same advice will likely hold true next week, as spring officially gets under way.

The warmth, however, will not be uniform, at least for the next few days as several features on the weather map will keep temperatures cooler in some locations.

A lake breeze, known locally to some as a "pneumonia front," will cool Chicago today, while a backdoor cold front will knock several degrees off Wednesday's readings in New York City and Philadelphia.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski has more on these flies in the ointment.

Elsewhere, short-sleeved shirts and even shorts will be the appropriate outdoor attire for the next several days.

Similar warmth will persist well into next week across much of the area highlighted above.

"I wore shorts and went out golfing for the first time this year on Wednesday," said Meteorologist Mark Miller.

Mark certainly wasn't alone, as record highs fell in dozens of cities. Some of the records had previously stood for decades, while others weren't just broken, but shattered by several degrees.

Here is a list of some notable record highs from Wednesday:

City, State New Record Old Record, Year
St. Louis, Mo. 86 degrees 82, 1971
Jackson, Tenn. 84 degrees 80, 2007
Charlotte, N.C. 83 degrees 82, 1973
Nashville, Tenn. 83 degrees 83, 1967 (tied)
Kansas City, Mo. 82 degrees 82, 1935 (tied)
Memphis, Tenn. 82 degrees 80, 2007
Chicago, Ill. 81 degrees 77, 1995
Des Moines, Iowa 81 degrees 75, 1997
Milwaukee, Wis. 78 degrees 76, 1995
Atlantic City, N.J. 77 degrees 75, 1990
Eau Claire, Wis. 76 degrees 66, 2010
Marshfield, Wis. 75 degrees 65, 1990
Minneapolis, Minn. 73 degrees 64, 2010
Bridgeport, Conn. 70 degrees 64, 2006

In Grand Rapids and Traverse City, Mich., it was the earliest 80-degree day on record. For residents of the Wolverine State, the unusual warmth is a shocking turn of events compared to the beginning of the month, when parts of the state still had 1-2 feet of snow on the ground.

Hundreds more records are expected to fall into the weekend and through next week in what might go down as an unprecedented early-season warm spell.

The warmth will be to the level that it could help to trigger summerlike scattered thunderstorms almost every afternoon.

Some of the storms could turn gusty, beginning with today's batch.


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