Northeastern US: Cold blast, high winds to follow brief warmup and flood risk this weekend
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 24, 2019, 3:28:37 PM EST
After sending a surge of warm air with rain, a powerful storm will blast the northeastern United States with high winds as colder air rushes in later Sunday into Monday.
The period from late February to early March can be a quick change artist in terms of the weather, and conditions coming up in the Northeast will be a prime example.
After rain raised the risk for flooding and travel hazards Saturday night into Sunday morning, the Northeast will turn briefly mild on Sunday.
Temperatures are projected to climb well into the 30s in northern New England, the 40s in central New England, the 50s in the upper mid-Atlantic and the 60s in the southern mid-Atlantic.
However, people should not get used to the warmth as a dramatic change will take place from Sunday to Monday as winds howl across the region.
Gusts to hurricane force (74 mph) can occur around the eastern Great Lakes and over the ridges and through the gaps in the central Appalachians.
Gusts between 50 and 60 mph can spread from the mountains on Sunday to the Atlantic coast later Sunday night and Monday.
Travel delays and restrictions are likely. Large limbs, trees and power lines will come down. Airline passengers may have to contend with significant turbulence.
As a result, temperatures are forecast to plunge back to seasonable levels from Sunday night to Monday night.
The combination of wind, dry air and temperatures will send AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures down into the 20s, teens and single digits F over the region by Monday.
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What's ahead for the upcoming weeks?
Cold air will tend to grow some roots in the region from the last several days of February through the first week of March.
A quick dose of snow may pivot across northern and central areas of the Northeast during the middle of next week.
It is possible that a small lobe of the polar vortex, essentially the meteorological North Pole, may make one last lunge toward the Great Lakes region by the first weekend in March.
That polar plunge may be preceded or accompanied by one last attempt at a snowstorm along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts between March 2 and 6, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
"It is not a perfect setup for a big coastal Northeast snowstorm without a blocking area of high pressure over Greenland, but it may not have to be," Pastelok said.
However, following windy and cold conditions during the first full week of March, there is a good chance the back of winter may break by the second full week of March.
"The transition to spring should be a better one this year, compared to last year, in the Northeast," Pastelok said.
While setbacks in warm weather can still occur later in March and April, especially so in the North Central states and northern New England, warm weather fans and those sick of snow and ice may be pleased over much of the Northeast with the anticipated conditions.
Spring weather may set in a little ahead of the official start on March 20 at 5:58 p.m. EDT.
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