Those singing along with Bing Crosby in hopes of a “White Christmas” may be in for disappointment this week as yuletide temperatures are set to reach near record-breaking highs and there is a chance of seeing the treetops glisten with rain rather than snow.
According to Tim Morrin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, there are strong signals indicating mild weather this week with temperatures nearing 60 degrees, possibly breaking into the lower 60s going inland. There is also the possibility of a storm system moving in Thursday on Christmas Eve, which could linger into Christmas Day, he said.
“There are no signs of cold temperatures or temperatures resembling normal December readings,” said Mr. Morrin.
Mr. Morrin said this winter, beginning on December 1 on the meteorological calendar, has been drastically warmer than most on record, with temperatures 11 to 12 degrees above average.
“We’re on track to potentially break the all time record [in] New York City and [on] Long Island,” he said.
The East End warm temperature system is challenging 2001 as the warmest 45-day period, a combination of November temperatures and the first 15 days of December, said Jay Engle, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Driving this unseasonably warm weather, however, is the phenomenon known as El Niño, said Mr. Morrin.
El Niño describes the event in which there is a higher than normal water temperature off the coast of South America, which correlates with and impacts the jet stream.
In the United States, that means a stormy west coast, a wet southern tier and in this year’s case, above average temperatures for most of the country, Mr. Morrin said.
Many East Enders have been taking advantage of the mild weather.
On Saturday, Mike and Brian Bistrian’s makeshift produce stand was open for business on the corner of Cedar Street and North Main Street in East Hampton.
Employee Randy Rowe said the stand, a constant presence from the summer to mid-fall, has never been open this late into the year.
“It’s a rare thing to happen, you know?” he said while manning the tables topped with the remaining fall crops, including locally grown broccoli, squash and potatoes.
Mr. Rowe said it was very possible the stand would be open Christmas weekend as well.
As for the coming months, Mr. Morrin said that although short term findings indicate more mild temperatures, signals are showing a shift to more seasonable weather in January, February and beyond as El Niño begins to weaken.
“If that’s the case, we will start to see more average [temperatures],” he said.