|Autumn was the nation's warmest on record|
and the mild weather continues big time now in December.
The continental United States had its warmest autumn on record, comes the official word from NOAA.
For climatologists, autumn is defined as the period from September 1 through November 30.
You add up all the reporting stations in the U.S. and this autumn comes out with a mean temperature of 56.8 degrees.
That's more than three degrees warmer than normal. Three degrees doesn't sound like much, but if you take in the whole Lower 48 over three months, three degrees is pretty incredible.
Only one individual state - Florida - had its hottest autumn on record. However, 28 states, including Vermont, from where I'm writing this post, had one of their Top 5 warmest autumns on record.
The reason this autumn was warmest on record for the continental United States despite such few individual states setting all time records is the coast to coast nature of the warmth.
Typically, any given season will feature warmer than average weather in one part of the country, and cooler than normal readings in another. That means things come out to something near normal if you take the entire nation under consideration.
It's very, VERY unusual to have every state in the continental United States be warmer than average. The "coolest" state, relative to average, was Washington, which had its 20th warmest autumn out of 121 years of record.
As we know, this warmth has extended into December for many of us. It's really toasty in some areas now. At 6 a.m. near me, in Burlington, Vermont, the temperature was 50 degrees, at a time of day when readings are normally in the low 20s this time of year.
Also, not so much as one flake of snow has fallen in Burlington so far this month. It's the first time in my 53 years on Earth I've ever seen us get so far into December without so much as a flurry
The warmth is widespread. No reporting station in the United States managed to fall below 10 degrees above zero on Tuesday at a time of year where many northern and mountainous places are routinely well below zero.
Way out there in Sioux Falls, South Dakota early this morning, it was 42 degrees when temperatures should normally be in the low teens around dawn on December 10.
In normally snowbound Buffalo, New York, they've gone the latest in the season without seeing snow. Forecasts for Buffalo indicate the temperature might not so much as fall below 40 degrees until Monday night at the earliest. Current forecasts for Buffalo have a predicted high temperature of 67 degrees on Sunday.
Normal high temperatures in western New York this time of year are in the mid 30s.
The kind of record high temperatures expected in Buffalo Sunday are expected to cover a large part of the eastern United States on Sunday. It could get to 70 degrees as far north as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Decembers with strong El Ninos tend to be quite warm in much of the United States, but this is insane.
I'm sure the other shoe will drop, and in fact some computer models suggest it will turn colder and snowier in much of the nation around Christmas. But even then, there doesn't appear to be signs of any HUGE cold waves blasting down from the North Pole before the end of the year.
We'll see about that.