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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.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines, "On Christmas Eve, parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England could be just as warm as they were on the Fourth of July."
Record high temperatures, including some record warm minimum temperatures, are likely to be set from Florida to Maine.
New York City already racked their Christmas Eve record at 1:00 a.m., surpassing the old record of 63 degrees at a balmy 67. Temperatures for the afternoon will reach the middle 70s.
According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "On Christmas Eve, daily record highs may be broken in the morning, followed by monthly record highs in the afternoon."
Records in the major cities of the Eastern states date back to the middle 1800s.
Another northward bulge in the jet stream will be responsible for the warmth in the East this week.
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 Easter 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 35 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
"Temperatures could touch 80 as far north as the mid-Atlantic states," Pastelok said.
Widespread record highs will not only be challenged but also shattered in many towns and cities. The potential exists for records to be topped by more than 10 degrees from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to New York City and to Burlington, Vermont.
“It appears high temperatures will be in the 70s on Christmas Eve in New York City, which is about 35 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.”
Subtropical air will be drawn northward along with the warmth and will make it feel humid to some people.
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.
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Forecast temperature maps
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, where old snow may remain on the ground.
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.
Since temperatures will be so high during the overnight hours on Thursday, record highs for Christmas day may be set before dawn in a number of locations.
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.
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