White Christmas?

Try record-breaking warm Christmas.

Temperatures in Portland are projected to reach into the low- to mid-60s on Thursday, Christmas Eve, according to the National Weather Service. That would be well above the Dec. 24 record of 53 degrees, set 58 years ago.

“We should blow that record away,” said Mike Kistner, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Gray.

Temps could stay in the mid-50s on Christmas Day, adding to an already mild December, before returning to normal through the weekend. Through Monday this week, the average daily high temperature was 47.1 degrees for Portland, roughly 10 degrees above normal. By comparison, last December, which also was considered mild, averaged 40.3 degrees for the month. Two years ago, the daily average for December was 31.5 degrees.

Since temps have rarely dipped below freezing, snow has been virtually nonexistent as well.

Kistner said Portland has not had any measurable snowfall so far this winter. Although December is often not the snowiest month in Maine, the monthly average for new snow is 13.2 inches, according to the weather service.

Two years ago, 26.2 inches fell in December. In 2007, Portland got nearly 39 inches of snow in December.

Kistner said the current weather pattern has been persistent and stubborn for the last several weeks and doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

The meteorologist said this year’s historically significant El Nino – the name given to a climatological event, usually in December, that is marked by shifting winds contributing to unusually warm water in the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean – has played a role. But things could change on a dime.

“Last year was pretty mild into January and then we got slammed for like two months,” he said. “February, for instance, was one of the coldest on record. So just because things are mild now doesn’t mean that’s how it will stay.”

Mark Small of Falmouth and his twin 7-year-olds, Madelyn and Zachary, were in the Old Port late Wednesday morning, taking advantage of the mild temperatures. Neither child was bundled up in wintry gear.

Small said his family usually heads to Sugarloaf around the holidays. Only three of Maine’s downhill ski resorts are open: Mount Abram, Sugarloaf and Sunday River.

“We’re going to bring our mountain bikes. They may be more useful than skis at the moment,” he said.

Kaki Smith, who was shopping in downtown Portland with her grandchildren, Lucy and Curran Topper, ages 4 and 6, said the weather has been unusual but not unwelcome.

“I came up from Florida to spend the holiday with my daughter and grandchildren and this isn’t really what I expected,” she said. “I guess I really didn’t need the heavy coat.”

Liam Sommer, 10, who was shopping with his father, John, and brother, Calil, 7, said he was bummed that he wouldn’t be able to go sledding or make snow forts during the holiday break from school. “It does feel a little weird, I guess,” he said.

The warm weather has provided an unexpected bonus for some businesses that usually have to cut back on work because of snow and cold.

Larry Grondin of R.J. Grondin, a Gorham excavation company, said the lack of snow and frost has made it easy for his crews to move earth.

“Things have been great. We have a lot of work,” he said. “You have to make hay while the sun shines, as they say.”

Hope Perkins, president of the Association of Builders and Contractors of Maine, said many of the group’s 200 members also have reported that they are busy with work outdoors.

Although it may not come in time for Christmas, Kistner said snow is on the horizon. A storm system that is expected to hit Maine next Tuesday into Wednesday could produce some snow, although he said even if that happens, it will likely switch to rain and wash away before long.