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Upper Midwest faces multiple subfreezing days as more chill aims at northern US this week

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 03, 2018, 2:15:12 AM EDT


The calendar flipping to April will not mean more sustained warmth for the midwestern and northeastern United States. Instead, additional waves of chilly air are set to invade this week.

Spring warmth will make a comeback from the Ohio Valley to the lower Great Lakes and Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday. Pittsburgh will flirt with a high of 70 F on Tuesday before temperatures soar into the 60s throughout the Northeast’s I-95 corridor at midweek.

As quick as the temperatures soar, they will come crashing back down by the next day following the passage of a cold front.

East Wednesday April 1


Highs will be returned to the 30s and 40s across most of the Midwest and Northeast as temperatures are also slashed in the South.

Normal highs for early April range from the 40s and lower 50s in the upper Great Lakes and northern New England to the 60s across the Ohio Valley and southern mid-Atlantic.

A brisk wind, along with any lingering snow around the Great Lakes, can add to the chill. However, where sunshine returns, it can help to take an edge off the colder air.

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"Deceivingly warm April sunshine can turn into an extensive frost/freeze threat on Wednesday night in the mid-Mississippi and Tennessee valleys and into the Piedmont of the Carolinas," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido said.

The Upper Midwest (spanning the Dakotas to near Lake Superior), however, will endure the core of this cold press and another that is set to follow for Friday into Saturday.

“Temperatures may average as much as 15-20 degrees below early April normals across part of the Upper Midwest not only for a day but for a week-long period (April 1-8),” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.

Midwest cold April 1


In some cases, the departures will be up to 30 degrees. Highs most days this week will be held to the 20s in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota, and Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota. Record lows may also be in jeopardy.

High temperatures in early April typically rise into the 40s and lower 50s in all of these cities.

The coldest part of the week in these areas may come Friday and Saturday as the Polar Vortex plunges southward. If the full magnitude of the cold is realized, Elliott stated that many locations can see temperatures dip below mid-January averages.

“While this cold shot may challenge or break records, it is not unprecedented as three similar cold waves in 1936, 1982 and 2007 produced similar temperature departures,” he said.

While the harshest conditions may be felt across the Upper Midwest, temperatures may also be held 10-20 degrees below normal across New England next weekend (with the greatest departures in the Appalachians).

How far south the Polar Vortex dips will determine the extent of its reach across the rest of the Midwest, Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Records April 1


As the cold plunges in, the door will remain open for more snow opportunities for parts of the midwestern and northeastern U.S.

"Any snow from the end of the week to next weekend would likely be a quick-hitting event, much like what evolved from the central Plains to the Northeast to end the Easter holiday," Vido said.

For those tired of the waves of chill and snow opportunities, the second half of the month looks promising for more typical spring weather.

"The Polar Vortex should lift back up over the North Pole by mid-month, allowing a gradual change in the weather pattern to take place between April 10-20," Elliott said.

"Longer stretches of mild weather and springtime warmth is then likely to follow during the final week to 10 days of the month," Vido added.

By the end of April, normal highs increase to the 60s across most of New England and the Great Lakes to within a few degrees of 70 F in the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic.

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