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    Central US to swing from late-spring warmth to a blizzard this week

    By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
    March 21, 2016, 7:46:39 AM EDT

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    A dramatic swing in temperatures will bring a surge of warmth and then a blizzard to the central United States for the first week of spring.

    The upswing in temperatures will challenge record highs during the first half of the week. At midweek, the return of colder air will set the stage for snow and blizzard conditions to sweep from the northern Rockies to the Upper Midwest.


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    “As is expected in the spring, a volatile pattern is shaping up through the new week across the central U.S.,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee said.

    “After some chillier air this weekend, a dome of high pressure will control the weather through midweek. This will usher in much warmer air with some places experiencing high temperatures nearly 30-40 degrees higher than over the weekend.”

    Highs across most of the north-central states will rise into the 60s and 70s early in the week.

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    In the southern Plains, temperatures will swing from the 50s and lower 60s this weekend to the 70s and 80s. Some communities in the southern High Plains will even flirt with or crack the 90-degree Fahrenheit mark.

    The warmth will challenge record highs in Pueblo, Colorado; Dodge City, Kansas; Oklahoma City; and Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas.

    As quickly as the warmth makes a comeback, colder air will advance southward.

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    “A developing area of low pressure across the Plains will drag a cold front through the central U.S. on Wednesday and Thursday, stifling the burst of warmth,” Vallee said.

    Snow will emerge from the northern Rockies and track to the Upper Midwest. While the snow should initially melt, slippery travel will still unfold.

    Gusty winds will also howl, threatening to create even more treacherous blizzard conditions.

    Denver is among the communities that could see highs near 70 F fade to snow and highs in the 30s at midweek.


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    South of the snow, the strong winds will significantly heighten the fire danger across the southern High Plains.

    The cold front will also bring severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours to the south-central states.

    “While likely not as chilly as this weekend, high temperatures to end the week [in the south-central states] will likely be 10-20 degrees lower than what they will be at midweek,” Vallee said.

    As is typical of spring, an end to the temperature roller coaster for the Plains will likely not arrive until the weekend.

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