New Jersey will likely experience above normal temperatures in December, forecasters say.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll be walking around in flip-flops.
According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, there’s between a 60 and 70 percent chance that temperatures will be above average this month. Over the next three months, the service is calling for between a 40 and 50 percent chance of above average temperatures.
In Toms River, the average temperature, inclusive of the typical daytime high (45.7 degrees) and low (26.5 degrees), is 36.1 degrees for December, according to the the Office of the NJ State Climatologist.
So we’re not talking about heat. But prolonged cold this month is highly unlikely.
The expected atmospheric condition is based on El Niño‘s strength, says Dr. Michael Ventrice of WSI.
“The highly anomalous warmth in December that is anticipated to develop across North America is attributed to weather patterns driven by the strongest El Niño observed in our data archives,” Ventrice wrote in a blog post.
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
“During the cold season (November-February), strong El Niño events can drive a mid-latitude pattern that is composed of a strong low-pressure system (blue shading) over the Northeast Pacific with a downstream warm ridge (warm colored shading) over North America,” wrote Ventrice.
While snow is always possible if a cold shot coincides with a storm system — especially during the second half of December, which is outside the 10-day range — Ventrice says that while it’s too early to predict Christmas’ weather, “the general state of the atmosphere can be considered one that favors sandmen, rather than snowmen on Christmas.”