For millions of Americans, dreams of a white Christmas remain as distant as Santa's workshop at the North Pole.
Tornadoes, drenching rain and record-breaking temperatures have the first week of winter looking more like spring in the Midwest and East.
The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma issued what it calls a "particularly dangerous situation" from Arkansas north to Indiana on Wednesday, warning of severe thunderstorms, hurricane force winds, hail and tornadoes.
Soaking rains made driving dangerous and caused some airlines to cancel flights in parts of the East Coast on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
And when the storms move out, record-breaking temperatures will move in. Christmas Eve highs of 22 degrees Celsius are forecast for such major cities as New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
Government weather experts say the weather pattern known as el Nino is partially responsible for the usually warm temperatures.