Many things are happening all around the world, but on the East Coast of the United States, it’s currently very warm. Very warm. Half-the-country-is-asking-whether-you-can-wear-shorts-to-work-in-February warm.
Here’s some context. On Tuesday, temperatures sat at or well above 70 degrees Fahrenheit from Massachusetts to Miami. Boston broke its record for the warmest night ever recorded in the month of February, at a balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit. More than 1,100 miles south, in Tampa, Florida, daytime temperatures rose to 89 degrees Fahrenheit, the warmest temperature ever recorded there in the month of February. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also set all-time February records.
[250 pm Tue 2/20] The temp at Boston has climbed to 69 degrees, and at Worcester the temp has reached 66. The breaks the record high for today's date at both locations. #MAwx— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) February 20, 2018
Wednesday will also be nice. Across the eastern half of the country, temperatures will rise above 70 degrees, with warmer air the farther south you go. If Washington, D.C., hits 80 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday—which is entirely possible—it will be the earliest 80-degree-Fahrenheit day ever recorded in the nation’s capital, where weather logs go back more than a century.
How to make sense of all this heat? Here are three perspectives.
1. From a meteorology perspective, the heat is the result of two air patterns currently interacting over North America.
There’s a huge heat dome off the coast of Georgia and northern Florida. Air is moving clockwise around the dome, creating a conveyor belt of warm, moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico.