When will winter relinquish its reign in storm-battered Northeast?
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 15, 2018, 2:47:47 AM EDT
With the third nor'easter in 10 days and lingering cold this month, when will winter release its grip on the northeastern United States?
While there may be some hope for people tired of shoveling snow, the outlook is not good for fans of long-lasting warmth.
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Right around when March began, a change in the weather pattern occurred that caused the jet stream to buckle around the Northern Hemisphere. This buckling allowed cold air to consistently get jammed across eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S. The same pattern allowed storms to strengthen upon approaching the Northeast.
While this blocking pattern will change and weaken somewhat, the cold air will still put up a fight for the second half of March in the Northeast.
The most recent nor'easter will amplify the cold air much of this week.
Many days of blustery conditions are likely in its wake as well into Saturday. The pattern much of this week will also favor hazardous snow squalls.
Factoring in the wind and clouds, it may feel 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit below average.
Average temperatures are compiled over a recent 30-year period and trend upward significantly from the beginning to end of March.
In New York City, the average high on March 1 is 45, while on March 31, the average high is 55. Average nighttime lows trend upward from 31 to 40.
Not every day will be cold and blustery through the end of the month.
"There will be some days with light winds and clear skies that allow the strengthening March sun to do its work," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
During the late winter and spring, perhaps more than any other time of the year, temperatures tend to run much lower on cloudy days with precipitation and much higher on sunny days with a light breeze.
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A stretch of five to seven days from early this week to early next week is likely to be free of widespread major storms.
After that, the stormy pattern may reload.
A large storm is likely to track over the Central states early next week. The latest indications are this storm will turn eastward. That storm or a secondary storm may strengthen along the Atlantic coast by the middle of next week.
Depending on the track and strength of both of the storms, parts of the mid-Atlantic, or new England or both areas may face yet another nor'easter with gusty winds, snow inland and rain or snow at the coast.
During the fourth week of March, batches of arctic air are likely to slide southeastward into Ontario and Quebec. Some of this air is likely to slip southward across parts of the Great Lakes, New England and part of the mid-Atlantic.
At the same time, warmth is likely to build across the Deep South later this month.
Most likely, some back-and-forth temperature swings are likely with an active storm track during the last part of March and into early April.
So, while the overall pattern may bring less frequent storms and a small number of mild days, people should not expect an abrupt end to high-impact storms for the latter half of March.
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