Boston Just Had Its Warmest Winter Weekend Ever

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With temperatures climbing above 70 degrees on Sunday, the Frog Pond ice became a large puddle. (Adrian Ma/WBUR)
With temperatures climbing above 70 degrees on Sunday, the Frog Pond ice became a large puddle. (Adrian Ma/WBUR)

Boston has recorded the warmest winter weekend ever since weather records began in 1872.

The temperature in Boston hit 74 degrees Sunday — the  warmest January temperature ever recorded in the city.

On Saturday, the temperature at Logan Airport hit 70 degrees — a record-level high temperature for the date. The old record was set in 1975, at 62 degrees.

That means there have now been two consecutive January days of 70 degrees or higher. That has never been recorded before.

So, what is going on?

WBUR meteorologist David Epstein said the jet stream got into a configuration that created a strong, southerly flow. "Even in winter, it's usually relatively mild to the south," he said. "But, this weekend, that air got propelled up towards the north."

Epstein added that the polar vortex is stuck up in Canada. A lot of times in winter, when the region gets a blast of cold air, is from the polar vortex extending southward.

So far this year, that polar vortex has been locked up tight toward the north.

And while many used the unseasonable warmth as an excuse to get outside, the weather did put a damper on some winter sports activities.

The Frog Pond skating rink, normally teeming with people, had begun to melt, covering most of the rink in a layer of water. That made things a little tough for 5-year-old Zara Biswas, who had come from Westwood for an ice skating lesson. Asked how her lesson went, she replied “Pretty bad … Because it was wet.”

“Middle of January in Boston and it's almost — what, 65, 70 degrees?” said Zara’s father, Zavaneel Biswas. “It's unbelievably warm. I believe it has to do with the global warming that's going on.”

“I don't want to just say every time we get an extreme weather day it's climate change,” said Amy Butler, a climate research scientist at the University of Colorado, who was in Boston on Sunday for the American Meteorological Society’s 100th Annual Meeting. But, she added, “it's certainly playing a role in some of the changes we're seeing over the long term.”

With reporting from WBUR's Newscast Unit and Reporter Adrian Ma

This article was originally published on January 12, 2020.

This segment aired on January 13, 2020.


Adrian Ma Reporter
Adrian Ma was a reporter for WBUR's Bostonomix team.



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