Unseasonably warm weather won’t stick around much longer

It’s beginning to look a lot like, well, early fall maybe. It certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas, no matter what the calendar says.

But this unseasonably warm weather isn’t expected to last much longer.

Forecaster Shirley Lamback with the National Weather Service said Wednesday that highs in Macon are expected to remain in the mid-70s through Saturday.

After that, a new front pushing through will begin to push temperatures back toward the normal range of mid-30s for overnight lows and high 50s for daytime highs.

“The forecast is for 30 degrees Monday night, so that will be the first it will be below freezing again,” she said.

Lamback said a frontal boundary that drifted over the state before stalling in north Georgia the last few days brought the warm weather, and until the new front arrives over the weekend, the southerly and southwesterly flow of winds will keep temperatures above the normal range.

The record high for Dec. 17 was 78, set in 1933. The predicted high Wednesday was 76, but cloud cover during the middle of the day kept the high at a balmy, mid-December 72 degrees. There is a chance to break high-temperature records later this week.

Willie Chance, the University of Georgia extension agent for Houston County, said the warm spell is too short and too early in the season to be of concern to gardeners and peach farmers.

“I really haven’t seen anything trying to bloom that shouldn’t be,” he said.

“Most of our temperate zone plants need a certain amount of cold weather before they can be tricked by an early warm snap. If we had this warming in late January or February, then there could be some damage. But it would also need to last more than two or three days.”

He said last week’s rain, not the warm weather, is responsible for any recent blooming.

“Maybe some azaleas that set buds in late July and then went dormant because it was dry might bloom now because they finally got a little water, but it isn’t because of these few warm days,” he said.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.