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Warm Toronto weather smashes Christmas Eve record set in 1964

Today the calendar says it's Christmas Eve but temperatures are making it feel more like early autumn with Toronto's forecast high expected to hit a record-smashing high of 17 C today.

'Super El Nino' brings warm air, leaving zero chance of a white Christmas

Normally frozen solid this time of year, the skating surface outside Nathan Phillips square was looking soft and watery this morning with temperatures set to hit 17 C today, smashing a record set back on Christmas Eve 1964. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

The calendar may say it's Christmas Eve, but today's temperatures are making it feel more like early autumn with Toronto's forecast high expected to hit a record-smashing high of 17 C today.

By 7 a.m. ET temperatures had already hit 14 C, shattering a record that had stood since Christmas Eve 1964 when the high hit just over 12 C.

Normally temperatures would be around freezing this time of year but this morning the skating surface at Nathan Phillips Square outside city hall was rippled with water. A city employee told CBC the popular rink won't be suitable for skating until tomorrow.

"Apparently ice doesn't do too well in 14 C weather," CBC reporter Nick Boisvert reported this morning. "The rink here is really more of a puddle."

The warm weather trend is playing out in much of the country. Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said about 85 per cent of Canadians will have a green Christmas this year.

A white Christmas is defined as two centimetres of snow on the ground at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning.

Phillips said a weather phenomenon called "super El Nino" is sending the warm Pacific air our way, making for mild temperatures.

"We now know what it feels like in Eastern Canada to spend Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina, or Tallahassee, Florida," he told CBC News.

So does this mean winter is cancelled and we can hang up the scarves and put away our  parkas? Not so fast, says Phillips.

While he's expecting January and February may be milder than normal: "There will be days where you wish you were somewhere else," he said.

"I think for most of Canada, this will be seen as a milder than normal season."

CBC's Nick Boisvert spoke to people in downtown Toronto this morning about the unseasonable temperatures. Most said the mild Christmas Eve is a welcome change.

"It's nice to go outside and do things on Christmas without it being too cold," said one woman. 

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