March Madness: 80 Degrees in the Northeast

March 22, 2012; 8:40 AM ET
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More days with hazy sunshine, unusual warmth and marginal air quality will continue into the end of the week. ( image)

Daily temperatures will continue surge to near 80 degrees in many places in New England and part of the mid-Atlantic into the end of the week as a crazy March weather pattern continues.

With the exception of a few locations from the immediate south coast of New England, Long Island, the Jersey shore and the Delmarva, temperatures will strive to reach 80 degrees in the pattern.

Today appears to be the warmest day in the bunch from many areas of West Virginia and Ohio to Maine due to a west to southwest flow combined with at least partial sunshine.

Cities on the list forecast to have a shot at 80-degree temperatures during the stretch include Albany, Baltimore, Boston, Burlington, Concord, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Trenton and Wilmington.

Portions of the Midwest and northern New England have been getting more than a taste of the warmth. In Chicago, Ill. and Fort Wayne, Ind., Wednesday was the eighth day-in-a row of record high temperatures.

Even as far north as Ontario and Quebec, Canada, temperatures are reaching amazing levels.

In Timmins, Ontario, the temperature reached at least 82 degrees (27.8 C) Wednesday, shattering the old record for March of 72 degrees (22.2 C). The normal high is 32 degrees (0.0 C).

Not only does today have a shot at breaking numerous record high temperatures for the date in the Northeast, but also to be the warmest day since early last fall.

There is the potential for some northern locations to have the earliest 80-degree day on record in this pattern.

A west to southwest breeze will set up over New England and the St. Lawrence Valley today around high pressure off the Atlantic coast and a very slow-moving storm over the Plains. The mixing air will help give temperatures a boost in northern locations.

These are but just a few of the reasons for the unusual warmth.

Farther south, light winds will continue. When winds are light this time of the year, in an overall warm weather pattern, coastal areas tend to default to a cooling sea, bay or lake breeze. This is expected from the south coast of New England to the Delmarva and around much of the immediate shores of the Great Lakes.

Light winds, cool damp ocean air, and a layer of warmth above the ground tends to trap pollutants in the atmosphere nearest the ground.

The result is poor air quality, haze, smog and fog.

As the Plains storm slowly progresses off the Atlantic coast over the weekend, cooler air will drain in from the north and west and the air will mix. The mixing should result in improving air quality and less incidents of morning fog by early next week.

A batch of chilly air in the wake of the storm could also deliver a frost or freeze to parts of the Northeast.

As the storm progresses from west to east, showers and thunderstorms will move through the region over the weekend.

The combination of warm ocean and lake temperatures, a lack of snow and ice cover in the northern United States and southern Canada and a persistent northward shift in the jet stream are contributors to the unusual warm pattern.


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