NEW YORK CITY — T'was days before Christmas and all through the city, the sun came to visit and the rain was just spitty.
With the city braced to hit record highs for Sunday, dreams of a white Christmas seemed far-fetched in the weekend before the holiday. A high of 73 degrees was predicted midday, trouncing the record set more than a decade earlier in 1998, when the mercury hit 63 degrees in Central Park.
By 11 a.m. the 70-degree high had already far exceeded the old record, but AccuWeather.com meteorologists noted that colder air would be sweeping back into town Monday night, Tuesday and into Christmas Day.
On Saturday, Central Park was filled with tourists and locals alike making the most of the sunshine while it lasted on the shortest day of the year Saturday afternoon.
Rollerbladers and volleyball players, though not traditionally found in shorts past the fall, emerged for the unseasonable warmth as summer sports were drawn out of hibernation.
Joe Pescera, 54, was out in a T-shirt practicing his rollerblading skills in the park.
"I can't believe it," he said. "It's great to get outdoors though, especially after last weekend's awful cold."
Clouds and sun, with a nearly balmy high of 62 swept the city on Saturday, AccuWeather.com reported, and just occasional showers spattered the city even as the rest of the U.S. steeled itself against tornadoes, flooding and ice storms.
Likely to be one of the biggest shopping days of the season, Sunday was expected to bring an unseasonable high of 73 degrees Fahrenheit to the city, the site noted.
The temperature, if reached, would set a new record. The determining factor would be the level of cloud coverage the city gets, National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark told Bloomberg News.
Marcy Roberts and her family, who were visiting the city from Birmingham, Ala., was enjoying unusually hot weather. They had stopped to grab a bite outside beside the Wollman Rink in the park.
"It is nice for us, seeing as the weather at home is quite hot now," she said. "Though I think the kids wanted a little more snow to play with."
High wind speeds of up to 17 mph were predicted to come with the heat, and the gusts were set to build over the course of the week.
For those sad about missing out on the cold, temperatures were set to drop dramatically on Tuesday, with a high of only 35 degrees expected.
"It might look good now," said the rollerblader Joe Pescera, shielding his eyes from the sun. "But I know this city and I know how fast it can change. Best to get out when the going is good!"