Springlike weather pattern to deliver above-normal warmth to eastern US
A high-pressure system off the East Coast will bring above-normal temperatures to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast this week.
The weather across the East this week may have some residents doubting Punxsutawney Phil's recent prognostication as a spell of springlike temperatures is on the way.
For many across the Northeast, it has been a chilly start to February, which is statistically the coldest month of the year in the region. In Boston, temperatures averaged 11.6 F degrees below normal through the first four days of the month. In the same time frame, places such as New York City and Pittsburgh averaged around 7 F degrees below normal.
A major turnaround began on Sunday as temperatures across the region soared into the 50s during the afternoon. In fact, the surge of milder air helped Boston set a record for the biggest temperature rise over a 36-hour period. Beantown went from 9 below zero F on Feb. 4 at around 5:54 a.m. to 50 degrees around 1:54 p.m. on Feb. 5. That temperature swing of 59 degrees beat the city's previous 36-hour record of 54 which occurred from Jan. 31, 1951, to Feb. 1, 1951.
"Mild conditions are expected to continue for much of this week, not only in the Northeast but parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and the Southeast as well," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Joseph Bauer.
Bauer said that the warmup is due to an area of high pressure up off the Southeast coast. This high pressure area will pump warm air from the Gulf of Mexico into the region for several days.
With temperatures averaging 8-16 degrees Fahrenheit above average in many locations through at least Thursday, temperatures in the 40s and 50s will be common, and some areas could even record temperatures in the 60s. For February, such a temperature contrast is about 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the month.
Indianapolis is forecast to have a high temperature in the mid-50s on Thursday, while the mercury in Washington, D.C., will settle around 60 F Wednesday through Friday. Temperatures of this magnitude are more normal for late March, rather than the heart of winter.
For most locations, even though the warm spell will be quite impressive, temperatures are still expected to fall shy of record levels.
Even if the springlike temperatures leave some questioning Punxatawney Phil's prediction from last week, another upcoming change in the weather pattern might serve as a reminder for those hoping for an early start to spring that winter isn't close to being finished.
Wintry weather could return to East by weekend
Two rounds of wet weather are expected to sweep through the eastern third of the U.S. by week's end. The first storm is forecast to track into the Great Lakes and will bring rain for Michigan to New York and areas farther south on Wednesday night and Thursday. The second storm, however, may not only bring a more wintry feel, but perhaps a swath of accumulating snow to some areas this weekend.
The second storm is expected to track along the central Atlantic coast at the end of the week and into the weekend. As it strengthens, it will bring cooler air down from Canada. If enough cold air follows the storm, precipitation across the central and southern Appalachians and even the interior mid-Atlantic region could fall as snow.
"A more southerly track of the storm is looking more likely at this time, which will limit the northern extent of precipitation this weekend," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert explained. "However, there's always a chance the storm could trend slightly farther north in the coming days, so anyone along the East Coast should keep an eye on the forecast."
AccuWeather meteorologists say the potency of the cold air, as well as the storm's exact track, will be critical in determining how much snow could fall in the final days of the week. No matter the track of the storm, it is likely to erase the abnormal warmth.
"While the upcoming weekend could feature another brief round of cooler conditions, it will pale in comparison to the cold from this past [weekend]," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.
The air on Saturday might feel drastically colder compared to Friday’s warmth, but the temperature readings themselves are likely to be within a few degrees of average.
The weekend high temperatures are expected to dip back into the 40s for cities like Hartford, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, with overnight low temperatures forecast to settle at or below the freezing mark.
The return to cooler, more wintry conditions is likely to be short-lived, according to AccuWeather long-range meteorologists.
"After chillier temperatures this weekend, temperatures can moderate back to above normal before Valentine's Day," said Bauer. Above-average temperatures are expected to continue through the middle of the month.
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