Spring has sprung, in February, in the United States of America - this is not what you expect to hear with the daily round-up of snow drifts, wind chill and ice storms.

Yet the very weather pattern that is producing this record winter, especially in the Northeast, is doing the opposite in the Northwest.

The Northwest has also had a record-breaking winter, but for high temperatures.

Temperatures have crept above 16C, joggers are going shirtless, sunsets have been stunning. Flowers are blooming, bees are awake. This isn't a typical February in the Pacific Northwest.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, in the states of Washington and Oregon, unusual warmth has been recorded.

Sea-Tac Airport recorded 16C, Hoquiam 17C, 18.5C in Quillayute, all in Washington, and in northwest Oregon, McMinnville hit a record for the day of 19C.

The mild weather has not been welcomed by winter sports enthusiasts.

Nearly all the ski resorts in western Washington have partially closed their operations or shut down completely. There simply hasn't been enough snow.

The ridge of high pressure responsible for this summer-like weather is as exaggerated as the trough of low pressure causing the deep winter in so many states further east.

The weak to neutral El Nino, the weather phenomenon that warms the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean, is likely to be responsible.

Washington and Oregon need to worry less about warm, often dry weather, as the frequent return of the wet 'Pineapple Express' ensures sufficient rain.

But this ridge is also responsible for record warmth and long-lasting drought in California. That’s a whole 'nother story, as they say.

Source: Al Jazeera