New Jersey's warmer-than-usual weather for the next week has some of us wondering about the chances for an early spring.

Back on Feb. 2 — Groundhog Day — Punxsutawney Phil went on record predicting six more weeks of winter. Could it be the Pennsylvania rodent got it wrong?

Not necessarily, says State Climatologist Dave Robinson at Rutgers University. But he does tell us in weatherman's jargon that this season has been a roller coaster, "one that we call a progressive weather pattern, where nothing stayed around for too long."

"We are sharing in what essentially the entire North American continent is going to be experiencing for the next week or two, and that is well-above-normal temperatures. The jet stream has prematurely retreated to the north, and that has allowed mild spring weather from the south to move toward the north."

The jet stream is a flow of air from Canada that moves in an east-to-west direction. When it stays in Canada and does not dip farther south, it allows for milder air below it, here in New Jersey.

And for you early spring fans, Robinson points out that come March, temps will warm a degree or two a week through winter's end.

"An extended period of bitter cold is unlikely for the remainder of this winter. And temperatures warm a degree or two a week on average as you go through the end of winter into spring."

So far, it is the 12th warmest Jersey winter on records that go back 140 years.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.

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