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Baby, it's warm outside
February 15, 2012 - Bill Speer
So you've been thinking this winter has been pretty mild and warm. You're not alone and in fact, you're correct in your thinking.
John Marsh, writing for AccuWeather.com, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data reveal January was the fourth warmest ever recorded in the United States - with the average temperature of 36.3 degrees.
"It's warmer this year mainly because of the jet stream pattern," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Michael Pigott. "Generally, for the most part of the winter, it has been on a west-to-east pattern. Meteorologists refer to this as a 'zonal flow.'"
In addition, AccuWeather officials share it has also been the fifth-warmest, six-month period from August 2011 to January 2012 ever recorded in the contiguous U.S. Forty states have had warmer-than-average temperatures.
As we all know, March either comes in like a Lion or a Lamb, and leaves the opposite way. So what might we be expecting?
The warm trend may continue through the end of February and into March, but temperatures are not expected to be as high as they were in January.
"It looks like the pattern will be similar for most of the country, but not to the same extent," said AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston. "We are getting in a pattern where we're more susceptible to cold air masses coming down. However, that doesn't mean they're going to stay. They're still going to be progressive. That means cooler temperatures will come in for only a few days, then disappear again."
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There hasn't been much of an opportunity to enjoy outdoor winter activites such as cross-country skiing this season.