Philly’s Winter Was Really Warm

Snow's in the forecast, but this was still a pretty balmy season.

national weather service warm winters

Yes, there’s a bit of light snow in the forecast for later this week. But that won’t be enough to change this fact: It’s been an exceptionally warm winter in Philadelphia.

The National Weather Service today released a graphic showing that Philly during the “winter season” — December through February — had an average high temperature of 41.3 degrees. That’s a whole 5.9 degrees balmier than the city’s usual average high of 35.4 degrees. That’s true even though January saw the fourth-largest snowstorm in the city’s history.

The service said the last winter that was so warm was 2011-12, when the average temperature was 40.7 degrees.

Why so warm? Well, as meteorologists have been explaining all winter, the effects of El Niño — the cyclical weather effects of a warm band of Pacific Ocean water — had much to do with the unseasonably warm weather. (And yes, we also think of Chris Farley when we mention “El Niño.)

Despite the warmth, it appears we have one more gasp of winter ahead of us: The National Weather Service is forecasting an inch or two of snow Thursday night, meaning Friday morning’s commute might be a mess. It’s never too early to prepare.