Record warmth blankets Hub to usher in green Christmas

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BOSTON (AP) — The calendar says Christmas Eve but the temperatures in Massachusetts say no such thing.

With flowers still blooming around the region, records fell from Burlington, Vermont, to Providence, Rhode Island. The National Weather Service reported that Boston and Worcester both set record-high temperatures on Thursday with Boston climbing to 68 degrees at Logan International Airport just before 1 p.m., shattering the previous high for the date of 61 set in 1996.

Worcester set a record for the date when it reached 61. That beat the previous record of 57 set in 1990 and matched in 1996.

In Burlington, the mercury reached 66 at midday and the Weather Service predicted temperatures in the 60s across northern New England. Records also fell in New York and Pennsylvania. New York City reached 70 degrees.

Also, when temperatures surpassed 50 Thursday, Boston and Worcester both broke records for the number of days in December when temperatures reached or surpassed 50 degrees. Boston has now had 17 days this month of temperatures at or above 50.

The weather service says Massachusetts temperatures Thursday are more typical of central and northern Florida. Sunny skies are forecast for most of the region on Christmas Day, and unusually warm weather is expected to continue through the weekend with periods of rain. Cooler weather is forecast for next week.

In other parts of the U.S., a mix of unseasonable warmth and spring-like storms wreaked havoc as tornadoes killed at least 10 people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. The weather left scores of people injured and dozens of homes and businesses smashed.