Rain May Slow Easter Travel for Central US, California

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
March 28, 2013; 4:16 AM ET
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There will be areas of unsettled weather in the form of clouds, showers, thunderstorms and even a bit of snow Easter weekend.

However, the storm that will develop in the midsection of the nation will pale in comparison to recent major storms.

The atmosphere will be changing gears so to speak this weekend, shuffling around warmth and chill with areas of precipitation in the process.

Widespread travel problems are not expected, but there will be a few trouble spots.

The weather outlook for the nation during the Easter weekend is broken up by six regions below.

Northeast

While a chill will linger into Saturday morning over the mid-Atlantic and New England, temperatures will moderate Saturday afternoon and on Easter Sunday.

A zone of high pressure will slowly settle eastward erasing late-week showers of rain and wet snow. Next, the high will move offshore.

How much temperatures recover will depend on the amount of sunshine. Temperatures should reach the 40s in northern New England and could reach 60 in the southern mid-Atlantic.

Late in the weekend, clouds, rain and drizzle will converge on the region, affecting the Appalachians first and perhaps reaching cities like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by Sunday afternoon. Folks heading home from weekend ventures could encounter low visibility and wet travel as a result. As much colder air returns by Monday, some snow could fall over parts of the central Appalachians and the eastern Great Lakes region.

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South

By the time Good Friday arrives, the cold weather will have already left the South, except for some chill in the Carolinas.

Highs by Saturday and Sunday will generally be in the 60s and 70s over much of the region with temperatures touching the 50s even in the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians.

As high pressure slides to the east, a moist flow from the Gulf of Mexico will develop through the weekend.

The end result will be a zone of clouds and showers expanding eastward from the upper Texas coast.

While widespread severe weather is not expected, there can be random hard downpours and a couple of heavy thunderstorms thrown in causing intermittent delays at some of the airports and major highways.

Despite the spread of moisture in the region, much of Florida should be rain-free through Sunday.

Plains and Midwest

Like the South, a southerly flow will gather moisture over portions of the Plains and Midwest during the Easter weekend. Travel problems will be sporadic and mostly due to rainfall.

By no means will the weekend be a washout anywhere, but a zone of spotty showers will develop over the Plains Friday and is forecast to become more extensive and spread eastward Saturday and Easter Sunday. A couple of thunderstorms are possible in southern areas.

Temperatures will recover to seasonable levels in most areas, but a cold front will invade the northern Plains during Saturday and will drive southeastward during the rest of the weekend.

There could be enough cold air back in place to bring a snowfall to part of the Great Lakes region later Sunday into Monday.

California and the Southwest

The warm weather pattern will hold over much of the deserts through the Easter weekend, but a system will move slowly onshore from the Pacific Ocean affecting California before drifting inland.

The system will spread cooler weather into California in the form of clouds and rainfall.

Any rainfall, even at the price of a holiday weekend, would be welcomed from agricultural interests.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "Much of the weekend is likely to be unsettled with times of rain from northern California to the central California coast."

Clouds and spotty rain and perhaps thunderstorms will spread into parts of southern coastal California by Easter Sunday. Spotty rain is also forecast to develop over parts of northern Nevada, Utah and Colorado.

While snow will be limited to the highest elevations in the region, the weather should not be so nasty to hamper skiers from heading to the resorts.

Snow is not expected over the passes in Southern California, but the spotty rain can lead to sporadic flight delays and slick roadways.

Most of the deserts should stay dry through Monday.

Northwest

Relatively speaking, some of the nicest weather in the nation will occur over the Northwest this weekend. In particular the area from Portland to Seattle will have some sunshine and above-average temperatures.

The California storm is likely to roll south of most of the region.

Farther inland, some moisture will gather over the northern Rockies and the basin areas in the form of patchy clouds and spotty showers, but snow will generally be limited to the high country.

No widespread travel problems are expected in the region as any patchy morning fog will yield to strengthening sunshine.

All of us at AccuWeather.com wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Easter-related photographs and thumbnails by photos.com.

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