Coldest Morning Behind East, Midwest but More Winter to Go

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
March 6, 2014; 6:25 AM ET
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The coldest weather is likely behind much of mid-Atlantic and the Ohio Valley until next winter. However, winter may go away neither quietly nor quickly.

Temperatures bottomed out at record low levels for March Monday and Tuesday at a number of locations, including Dover, Del., Baltimore, Charlottesville, Va., Atlantic City, N.J., Washington Dulles Airport, Va., and Kansas City, Mo.

The good news for folks who are tired of the deep freeze is that a moderating trend is forecast for much of the Central and Eastern states later this week.

According to Northeast Weather Expert Dave Dombek, "Tuesday will likely be the coldest morning from New York City to Washington, D.C., until next winter."

There will be more days with high temperatures in the 40s and 50s compared to what has occurred in recent weeks in parts of the Midwest and Northeast, and that will feel good to millions of people struggling with the cold and high heating bills this winter.

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration or EIA, as of Feb. 11: "U.S. average heating degree days were 12% higher than last winter (indicating colder weather) and 8% above the previous 10-year average. The Northeast was 11% colder than last winter, the Midwest 17% colder, and the South 20% colder, while the West was 3% warmer. The cold has had the greatest effect on propane prices, particularly for customers in the Midwest. Residential propane prices in the Midwest rose from an average of $2.08 per gallon on Dec. 2, 2013, to $4.20 per gallon on Jan. 27."

Most areas along the mid-Atlantic coast should be done with the single-digit low temperatures until next winter, likewise for sub-zero readings for most of the central Appalachians and the Ohio Valley.

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Normal high temperature trend from the beginning to the end of March are 40 to 53 F in Chicago, 34 to 49 F in Minneapolis, 40 to 53 F in Detroit, 50 to 62 F in St. Louis, 45 to 55 F in New York City, 51 to 61 F in Washington, D.C., and 42 to 52 F in Boston.

However, it will not mark the end of the colder-than-average weather and may not mark the end of snow.

According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok, "Additional waves of cold air will move southeastward from northern Canada during much of March and into April in the Midwest and the East."

While these air masses will moderate thanks to the strengthening sun, the cold ground and other factors will play a role for some time.

Actual temperatures on a number of days will lag behind the normal upward temperature trend by 5, 10 or even more degrees in some cases. The higher-than-average demand for energy will continue into the spring.

During March, the upper levels of the atmosphere remain quite cold. The cold upper atmosphere can allow storms with temperatures just above the freezing mark to bring a change to snow. This is a possibility in parts of the interior South and along a portion of the mid-Atlantic coast later this week.

The largely frozen Great Lakes, colder-than-average Gulf of Mexico and the chilly waters of the Atlantic may also play a roll in holding temperatures back for a time.

According to NOAA's Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis, approximately 90.5 percent of the Great Lakes were still covered with ice as of March 4, 2014. This winter season has delivered the second greatest coverage of ice since records have been kept in the late 1970s. In 1979,the coverage of ice on the Great Lakes reached 94.7 percent.

Whether it turns warmer or not, this weekend is time to spring forward and turn clocks ahead an hour. Spring officially starts on March 20.

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