Nightly News   |  January 06, 2012

Record heat in January

More than 200 high temperature records were broken yesterday. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> across large parts of this country today the place to be was outside. in january, a huge warm weather system bringing spring fever to what's normally these dark days of winter. look at this map and realize all these red dots represent new all-time warm weather temperature records . the old records fell in 268 places yesterday. they tied records in 68 more. here's something else. it was warmer in rapid city , south dakota , than it was in miami, florida. nbc's kevin tibbles reports from sunny chicago .

>> reporter: what's playing in peoria this winter? golf.

>> i think people in arizona are jealous of us today.

>> reporter: in chicago , more golf. tennis anyone?

>> nice to be out in shorts and a t-shirt.

>> reporter: a january warm up spans much of the nation including fargo, north dakota , where a year ago it looked like this. today, you get the picture.

>> spring has sprung for the day. heading out and about, you'll need a pair of sunglasses and only a lighter jacket.

>> reporter: i was going to use a thermometer as a prop to show you how warm it is, but this is more fun. in a convertible in a sweater in chicago in january. if you don't want to be reminded of what it can look like, look away now. this was the snowpocalypse that nailed chicago last winter, closing roads and trapping motorists last winter. this was new york city exactly one year ago. today, the big apple blossomed with shorts and bare feet.

>> this was almost like a heat wave . it feels kind of like early spring .

>> reporter: not pleasant for those who depend on winter for their livelihood. ski hills west to east are struggling and steve capford's snow removal business melted away. towns and cities have been saving millions on road salt they haven't had to use.

>> only 16% of the nation is covered with snow. without a refrigerator to cool the air masses coming down they modify quickly and we wind up with a lot of record highs.

>> reporter: this snowman may not hang on long enough for it to freeze, but until it does, harold harder of bismarck is driving his hot rod instead of his snow plow . kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago .