People walking the streets in New York on a warm Wednesday this week got an unexpected treat. Ice cream trucks were out selling tasty snacks.
Temperatures in New York City reached 77 degrees by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, according to data from the National Weather Service. That broke the previous record of 69 degrees that was set on March 9, 2000.
Ice cream truck companies usually don’t begin patrolling the streets until April, but they monitor the weather in case there is an unexpected warm spell earlier. They can get their trucks out on the road ahead of schedule if the weather allows it. Truck operators said that even though they could not have all of their trucks out selling ice cream because some were undergoing repairs, they welcomed the opportunity to generate some early sales.
Ice cream shops also benefited from the unseasonably warm weather. Many opened their doors, and some even had long lines outside their shops and had to call in extra staff to help out.
A day with temperatures over 70 degrees in early March was a surprise to many people in New York, but it was the latest in a series of unusual weather patterns this season. The city had record-breaking high temperatures on Christmas, and then a blizzard in late January blanketed the ground in Central Park with 26.8 inches of snow, nearly breaking a record.
The strange weather was caused by El Nino, a weather phenomenon that occurs when a band of warm water in the central and east-central part of the Pacific Ocean near the equator causes unseasonably warm weather and the potential for heavy precipitation. It occurs every two to seven years.
Temperatures in New York are expected to fall somewhat, with highs projected to be in the 60s. That is still warm enough to enjoy ice cream.