Desperate last-minute shoppers and anyone working Thursday and heading home late afternoon and early evening could see a light shower, but for the most part, rain is expected to stay south of Long Island on Christmas Eve.
Patchy fog, though, could pick up overnight, said Faye Barthold, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton, making it challenging to catch a glimpse of Santa in the night sky.
Temperatures Thursday hit 72 degrees at Central Park, just three degrees shy of what was registered there five months earlier on the Fourth of July, said Carlie Buccola, also a meteorologist based in Upton. The record high for Christmas Eve day had been 63 degrees, set in 1996.
MacArthur Airport saw 64 degrees as of about 1 p.m., well above the previous record of 60 set in 2014.
Fog should burn off by about 8 a.m. Christmas morning, Barthold said, with skies expected to stay dry through late afternoon when showers could re-enter the scene.
MacArthur airport is looking at a possible high of 61 degrees, which would surpass the daily record of 56, set in 2014.
As if that’s not special enough, Friday also brings the Western Hemisphere’s first full moon on a Christmas Day since 1977, and the next time that happens is 2034, according to science website EarthSky.org.
Those rainy conditions, though, would inhibit viewing, Barthold said — unless there is a lucky break in the clouds.
The Long Island Rail Road is on a regular weekday schedule for Christmas Eve, but it added 13 early getaway trains departing Penn Station between 12:43 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. on the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Port Jefferson, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma branches. For more information, visit mta.info.
The Federal Aviation Administration had earlier reported that thunderstorms were causing delays at Kennedy Airport, but it reported no significant delays at other area airports, according to its website fly.faa.gov. The agency urged travelers to check with their airlines about specific flight delays.