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Spring Warmth Heads For East Coast This Weekend

UPDATED 5:30 PM EST, December 21, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Andrew Rosenthal

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Although Christmas is less than a week away, Eastern Seaboard residents may be inclined to check the calendar on Sunday as they head out for last-minute shopping. Temperatures from the Carolinas to southern New York and New England will feel more like May than late-December.

The spring-like warmth is all thanks to a large area of low pressure stretching across the Plains and Mississippi Valley. At the same time, a "Bermuda High" is sitting off the East Coast. Southerly winds have already pushed the mercury into the 50s and 60s this week for places like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Richmond, Va.

The warmth continued today, as temperatures climbed into the 60s and 70s from the Carolinas to New York City. A record high was tied in Central Park, N.Y., with a high of 62 degrees, Philadelphia hit 68 degrees to set a record, Washington, D.C. hit a record 72, and Charleston, S.C. warmed to 80 degrees!

Southerly winds will be in full force on Sunday as the cold front starts to advance toward the Eastern Seaboard. This will really push the warm air northward, allowing the mercury to reach the lower 70s as far north as Philadelphia and Washington. New York City could climb into the upper 60s.

To put this into perspective, average highs in Washington, D.C., are 45 degrees this time of year, and are typically this warm in the beginning of May. Temperatures this warm are likely to challenge some records. Sunday`s record high in Baltimore, set in 1889, sits at 70 degrees; while Washington, D.C., was 72 degrees on the same day. Philadelphia`s record for the day is 64 degrees, set in 1998, while New York City is reaching for a record of 63 degrees, also set in 1998.

Alongside the warm air will be a line of showers and thunderstorms that will race ahead of a cold front. These storms could produce some gusty winds as they tear through the East on Sunday afternoon and evening. The cold front will arrive along the Interstate 95 corridor early Monday, bringing a rush of cooler air, and allowing temperatures to return to December-like levels in time for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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