NEW YORK Whether it's because of global warming, El Nino, or just a really long warm spell, weather in New York City this winter has been awfully strange. With temperatures continually hovering around the 50 degree mark and even occasionally nearing 60, perhaps the most bizarre weather-related incident happened in Brooklyn where cherry blossoms decided to make an early appearance.

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, it hardly seems like the dead of winter. Most cherry blossoms don't bloom until the beginning of spring when the winter chill finally begins to warm up. But there hasn't been a winter chill for most of the season, and for that reason, a cherry blossom tree was in practically full bloom on this the second day of January.

"It's very unusual. We have thousands and thousands of flowers on this tree," Dr. Mark Tebbitt told CBS 2.

The cherry blossom tree isn't the only confused species in the area. Turtles that are supposed to be hibernating right now are still going for a daily swim. Birds are plentiful, and the park still receives many visitors -- something they typically don't see during the winter.

CBS 2 Meteorologist John Bolaris says the unseasonable weather should mostly be attributed to El Nino.

"El Nino normally means milder temperatures for the east, and not as much snow. We've had a snowless December for the first time in over 100 years -- one of the third warmest December on record, and if we don't get any snow by this Thursday, which we won't, it'll be the first snowless stretch for winter in over 130 years," Bolaris said.

What's more, the milder temperatures may linger well into the end of the month. "El Nino will continue so we're still looking at an unseasonably mild January, with things finally cooling down for the last part of the month. And the best chances of seeing some snow is going to be from February into March."

People across the tri-state are enjoying what seems to be an early spring -- or is it a late winter? In Central Park today, the only ones in heavy coats were the dogs.

But the pleasant weather has been anything but for local ski resorts. At the Tuxedo Ski Center, the mountains were bare today. "I've been in this business for 18 years and have never seen anything like this," John Blandi of the resort said.

Blandi isn't alone -- New York City experienced its first snowless November and December for the first time since 1877. Its winter with the least amount of snow? You'd have to go back to 1973 when only 2.8 inches of snow fell.

So how much does global warming play into the weather?

"You can relate it to global warming, but over 100 years ago I don't think they were talking about global warming -- in 1877 it was a snowless December and they were probably not mentioning global warming then," Bolaris said. "The last four winter seasons El Nino was missing and we had record setting snow for a single day just last year. Don't put away the snow shovels yet because even in an El Nino year you can still get snow. And always the surprise super storm is not out of the question."

When will winter arrive? It's anyone's guess -- for the time being, temperatures will continue to stay in the 50s in the region for at least the next four to five days.