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Forecast offers hint of season for winter sports buffs

Zoe, 13, and Ellery Wright, 6, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, made the most of the first day of winter yesterday at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Zoe, 13, and Ellery Wright, 6, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, made the most of the first day of winter yesterday at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.

The first day of winter was just warm enough to get by with a sweater and just cold enough to ice skate.

“Yeah, it’s one of those weird weather days when you know winter is here, but it’s still warm enough to go outside and enjoy yourself,’’ said Mary Gilchrest, 32, of Boston, who spent about an hour yesterday swirling around the Frog Pond on skates. Hundreds of people took to the ice there, some of them wearing T-shirts.

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At 57 degrees, yesterday’s high was above average for the first day of the season, which in Boston, is 39. And typically, the average snowfall for December is about 6 inches.

With only eight days in the month remaining, there has been only a trace of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.

Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the explanation for the unusual warm spell is both complicated and simple.

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The simple explanation: “There’s no cold air coming from Canada,’’ Simpson said. “It’s the jet stream.’’

“Hey, I’m fine with it,’’ said John Barnett of Lawrence, who was at the Frog Pond while in Boston visiting relatives. “You like to have a white Christmas, but sometimes that’s overrated. It’s the joy of the season that counts.’’

Simpson said there is ample time for Mother Nature to make up for lost time.

“Last year, there was nothing in the way of snow, but then we caught up really quick,’’ he said. “None of the ponds are frozen, and that’s nice if you don’t like the cold, but if you want to go skiing or something, not good.’’

For those hoping for chillier days, this weekend brings a measure of good news: The weather is expected to dip to near normal, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 30s and lower 40s, Simpson said.

The Kendall Square Community Ice Skating Rink was closed yesterday, but not because of the temperatures. The culprit was Wednesday’s weather, a combination of warmth and rain that is quite lethal for ice.

“If it is warm, within reason, and not rainy, we can keep ice most of the time, but if it is warm and rainy, that’s a disaster,’’ said John Pyne, the rink manager. “It’s happened twice in the past several days. We had our annual figure skating show last Saturday, and in order for that to go off, we had people making ice overnight.’’

Perfect temperatures for skating rinks are 40 degrees and below, but 50-degree skating is possible, albeit with a wetter surface. If the temperature stays over 50 degrees for an extended amount of time, though, that would also be a disaster, Pyne said.

The rink stays open until March 18. On the rink’s blog, customers were encouraged to “think cold thoughts.’’

Brian R. Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou.
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