Laura Bliss is CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief. She also writes MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Sierra, GOOD, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, including in the book The Future of Transportation.
El Niño is busting record-high temperatures along the U.S. East Coast. So what?
Warm air spreading up the U.S. East Coast is busting record-high temperatures this Christmas Eve from Florida to Maine, with some places clocking in 30-40 degrees above normal. New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., are all experiencing record temperatures in the 70s. Even thermometers in oft-snow-buried Boston and Buffalo are registering in the 60s this evening, also historic highs. Parts of Europe are also experiencing record warmth.
Scores of holiday-lovers are registering confusion and dismay over this decidedly un-white Christmas on Twitter:
This isn't Christmas weather!— Chase Turner (@Tryaminic) December 23, 2015
Houston weather is killing my Christmas spirit. ☹️— Erika Avila (@Chinitaaahhh) December 22, 2015
This is extremely confusing pic.twitter.com/0lSSaPlXKA— Lainna Fader (@lainnafader) December 24, 2015
73 degrees on Christmas Eve and Day smh I most defiantly moving up north in a couple years for some real winter weather.— Monte. (@IdkMaybe_Monte) December 15, 2015
god damn heat miser tryna' ruin my christmas and melt frosty with this 70 degree weather . smdh .— steve patrick (@thestevepatrick) December 17, 2015
But can I offer a sprinkling of holiday perspective? Temperatures in Bethlehem are in the mid-50s this week—a little below the average high there for late December, which is around 60 degrees. A snowy Christmas in the supposed birthplace of Jesus is rare, to say the least.
And while North America has El Niño to thank for this year’s anomalous warmth, it might be time to get accustomed to it. Climate change is pushing average winter temperatures up along the East Coast—closer, arguably, to “real” Christmas weather.