Following a harsh and snow-filled February, many residents across the Northeast were likely relieved to have a few days of unseasonable, and in some cases, record-breaking warmth last week to soak in some sunshine and fresh air.
With only days to go until the vernal equinox on March 20 that will mark the official start of astronomical spring, Old Man Winter still has a few tricks up his sleeve for the Northeast. AccuWeather meteorologists caution a bout of late-winter chill is underway this weekend that could leave many across the Northeast with weather whiplash.
Conditions slowly warmed across the Northeast to begin last week, but peak warmth arrived on Thursday for much of the region. Temperatures topped out at levels up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for early March. At this level of warmth, a few high temperature records were bound to be in jeopardy.
Across the region, quite a few daily high temperature records for March 11 were broken. Notably, Baltimore broke its previous daily record high of 75 degrees from 1967 when the mercury hit 79 on Thursday. A high temperature of 79 degrees isn’t common until early June for the city.
Temperatures also soared in New England on Thursday and led to record-breaking high temperatures in Boston and Worcester, Mass., along with Providence, Rhode Island. Boston’s record-breaking high of 74 degrees was 30 degrees above normal for the date.
Last week’s warmth will just be a fond memory for those across the Northeast as chilly air settles over the region this weekend.
“As high pressure builds over the Ohio Valley and Midwest this weekend, a northerly airflow around this high will usher in a colder weather pattern for much of the Northeast,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary explained.
“Following a stretch of pleasantly mild weather for many places in the Northeast over the last few days, this colder air will keep temperatures at near-normal levels for mid-March over much of the region,” Sadvary said.
Temperatures ranged from the 20s across northern New England, to the 40s and even lower 50s for portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern New York on Saturday. Similar conditions are in store for Sunday. While these temperatures are typical of mid-March across the Northeast, AccuWeather meteorologists say another factor will make conditions feel colder than the mercury reads this weekend.
The combination of high pressure building over the Ohio Valley and a weak storm set to dive out of Canada and into northern New England, will work to bring windy conditions to much of the Northeast on Sunday. A few snow showers will also be possible as this storm pushes through the Northeast. Wind gusts up to 60 mph may be possible at times Sunday.
These gusty winds, in addition to cooler air, will drive AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures down to about 10 degrees lower than the actual air temperature reading across the Northeast over the weekend. With how dry much of the Northeast has been since the start of March, these winds will also lead to an elevated fire risk across the region Sunday.
The trend to colder conditions will take an even sharper turn Sunday night into Monday.
“A reinforcing dose of cold air is forecast to sweep in Sunday night and set the stage for a brisk and cold Monday in the region,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
Compared with Sunday, high temperatures on Monday will only reach levels an average of 10-15 degrees lower than Sunday.
“In Boston, the high near 30 on Monday will be lower than the average high for any day in the winter,” Travis noted.
Chilly conditions may not be the only thing Old Man Winter has in store for the Northeast for this week. AccuWeather meteorologists are closely monitoring the future track of the storm unleashing heavy snow and severe thunderstorms across the central United States for potential impacts to the Northeast.
“Though it appears that this storm will weaken during its trek out of the central Plains, there is the potential that some areas receive a bit of ice between Monday night and Tuesday night,” Sadvary said.
Temperature are forecast to be just marginally cold enough for icy spots to come with the rain, especially from Michigan to New York. Ice may be more noticeable on bridges and overpasses or elevated surfaces rather than the ground.
The higher elevations could be susceptible to a few snowflakes
“The extent and intensity of cold air set to encompass the Northeast early in the week will determine how widespread ice will be across the region,” Travis explained.
AccuWeather long-range meteorologists are forecasting more waves of cold air to arrive through at least the end of March, which will make it possible for more ice or snowflakes to fly in the Northeast during the remainder of the month.
“Don’t pack up the snow boots and winter coats just yet March will likely bring a few more reminders of winter before spring officially arrives in the Northeast,” Sadvary cautioned.