Today was so nice that it made this winter lover pine for spring. High temperatures at The Vane's nerdquarters in North Carolina topped out in the mid 60s this afternoon, with open-window weather hanging out across most of the United States today. Almost the entire country saw above-average temperatures this afternoon, but don't get used to it.
Monday's mild weather was courtesy of a ridge of high pressure that parked itself over the southeastern United States; the high's clockwise winds teamed up with the counterclockwise flow around a low pressure system over northern New England to pump warm air directly from the lower latitudes. The result was a mild afternoon that allowed temperatures in the 40s and 50s to climb as far north as interior parts of the Canadian Prairies.
With the exception of the Rockies and parts of New England, today was absolutely gorgeous, and the pattern will slowly erode through Wednesday (boo).
Dozens of locations in the southern and central United States tied or broke their daily record highs today. Wichita, Kansas, broke its record by at least eight degrees and came within two degrees of breaking January's all-time record high (high 73°F, daily record 65°, monthly record 75°F).
The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures on Tuesday in the 60s as far north as the 36th parallel, with temperatures on a downward trend in many areas that saw records today. 70s are likely along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican Border, with temperatures pushing into the 80s in the desert.
Even though many people won't be able to wear short sleeve shirts tomorrow, the GFS model does a nice job demonstrating that temperatures across almost all of the United States will clock in above normal around 18z tomorrow (noon Eastern, 9 AM Pacific).
By the weekend, temperatures will return to levels one would expect for the end of January, with open-window weather relegated to the sun belt and raw, miserable temperatures creeping back to their normal positions for this time of the year. The above map shows forecast temperatures from the National Weather Service on Saturday.