Strange Winter Weather: After 78-Degree Day in New York, Minnesota Might Get a Foot of Snow

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Fall foliage in Manhattan's Central Park on November 3, 2016. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Image

The winter weather across the country has been strange this week. On Wednesday, New York City's temperatures crept up into the high 70s, breaking records for the warmest day in February. Even Central Park reached 78 degrees by the late afternoon.

Meanwhile, there were floods in Indiana and across the Midwest, resulting in hundreds of car crashes and several deaths. About 19 people evacuated their homes in Elkhart, Indiana, where the mayor said it was the worst flooding the city has seen in 45 years, according to the Associated Press.

In the midst of New York's very warm weather, out West the temperatures were varying widely. On Wednesday morning, there was a 30- to 50-degree temperature difference across the country. Huge swaths of the nation have been under consistent winter weather advisories and flood watches, according to the National Weather Service.

Across Minnesota, there could be as much as 12 inches of snow by the end of the weekend, reported the Star Tribune. More rain is expected through Sunday, which will cause the Ohio River to flood, and highways and roads along the river are expected to close, reported CBS affiliate WLKY in Louisville, Kentucky.

The bizarre weather patterns can't be directly tied to climate change per se. Individual weather events are difficult to connect to climate change; plus, weather and climate are two different things. Even so, higher temperatures are becoming the new norm. January was the fifth warmest January on record worldwide, and 2017 was the second warmest year, just behind 2016, The New York Times said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Central Park was at 75 degrees, typical weather for the end of May, according to WABC-TV's chief meteorologist, Lee Goldberg. By 4 p.m., the temperature reached 78, breaking the record from 1930 and reaching 35 degrees above average.

"We're trying to keep that updated, but the temperature keeps going up," Faye Morrone, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service's New York City office, told Newsweek on Wednesday. The New York City area's other monitoring sites, including LaGuardia International Airport (79 degrees) and Newark, New Jersey (80 degrees), recorded their warmest February day on record, and the warmest day on record for February 21.

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Fall foliage in Manhattan's Central Park on November 3, 2016. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Image

Morrone explained that the same high-pressure system that causes scorching hot days in the summer is what's resulting in these unusually high temperatures. The Bermuda High pressure system, as it is known, hovers over Bermuda. This is the pressure system that pushes hurricanes either northward or westward after they spin across the Atlantic, according to the Weather Channel.

The weather system is known as the Azores High in the winter and the spring, as it's centered closer to the Azores, which are islands in the North Atlantic. The warm air from this system flows up the East Coast, causing warm days. It works similarly in the summertime, according to Morrone. "Just obviously, it's February instead of July or August," she said.

Strange Winter Weather: After 78-Degree Day in New York, Minnesota Might Get a Foot of Snow | U.S.