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After getting bitter cold for Christmas, Pittsburgh will ring in the New Year with mild, wet weather

Gene J. Puskar
A severe artic blast gripped much of the country, including Pittsburgh, beginning Friday, Dec. 23. But temperatures will gradually rise in coming days. They're forecast to reach the fifties by Friday.

The Pittsburgh area will soon escape the fiercely frigid conditions that took hold over the weekend: High temperatures are forecast to climb into the 40s by Wednesday and then stay in the 50s through New Year’s weekend.

The warm-up follows several days of extreme cold that engulfed the country from the Northern Plains down to Texas and throughout the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.

On Friday, Pittsburgh dipped to a record-low temperature of minus-5 degrees, with wind chills plunging to minus-20 degrees or colder. Christmas Eve and Day barely felt warmer, but temperatures are expected to rise to the low twenties Monday afternoon.

“After this past weekend, that's probably going to feel like summer,” said Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Pittsburgh office.

He predicted temperatures will finally rise above the freezing mark Tuesday, with a high in the lower 30s. “And by Wednesday,” he said, “we’re into the lower 40s and reaching into the mid-50s here Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately … that also brings rain.”

Around this time of year, high temperatures average 37 degrees, and low temperatures usually fall to around 23 degrees, Hendricks said.

He said the mild weather this weekend will melt ice that has formed on local streams, creeks, and river shorelines. But it won’t set any records. Hendricks said the highest recorded temperature in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Eve was 69 degrees, set in 1875.