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After Historic Freeze, an Unlikely Spring Spreads East

Take off your parkas and get out your umbrellas — only two days after some of the coldest weather in decades blasted the Northeast, vastly warmer conditions moved in Tuesday, flipping temperatures by as much as 60 degrees and opening the rain buckets.

New York City, which fell to minus-1 degree on Valentine's Day, hit a high of 54 on Tuesday. Binghamton, New York, went from a low of minus-18 on Sunday to a high of 43 on Tuesday. Boston, which plunged to minus-9 degrees on Sunday, basked in 50 degrees Tuesday.

"February has certainly been an interesting month," said Danielle Banks, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

El Niño-Fueled Storms Spawn Tornadoes in South, Record Snow in North 1:34

The transformation comes thanks to the leading edge of a surge of warm Western air moving in from the Rocky Mountains. Record highs are forecast for Thursday in the Southwest, approaching 90 degrees in some parts of Texas, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures could hit 20 to 30 degrees above normal in the central and eastern parts of the country before settling down to normal later in the week, the National Weather Service said.

There will still likely be weather-related problems on the roads and in the air this week — but they will be due to high winds and floods caused by warm rain and melting snow.

In Philadelphia, where the temperature reached 51, several structures were toppled by wind gusts topping 40 mph Tuesday, NBC Philadelphia reported, including the billboard at Gloucester City High School, the roof of the Holmesburg Boys Club and five homes under construction in the Port Richmond neighborhood.

Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island into coastal New Hampshire and Maine were under a high wind warning until 11 p.m. Tuesday. Forecasters said gusts could top 60 mph.

IMAGE: Rainy weather in New York
People struggle as high winds blow their umbrellas inside out Tuesday in New York. AP

The dramatic change in the weather burst water pipes at four schools in Framingham, Massachusetts, where the high temperature reached 54 degrees Tuesday, New England Cable News reported — damaging one of them so severely that it may not be usable until next week.

Farther south, the warm air caused at least 10 confirmed tornadoes in Gulf Coast states Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The roof of a 37-unit apartment building partly collapsed Tuesday in Dade County when a tornado swept through Tuesday morning, NBC Miami reported. All residents were evacuated, and no injuries were reported, it said.

The National Weather Service was still reviewing a powerful level-3 tornado that touched down Monday in northern Escambia County, Florida, but it said preliminary indications were that the twister spun off winds of 150 mph.

About 10 homes were damaged, Joy Tsubooka, a spokeswoman for the Escambia County government, told The Associated Press.