Northeast to climb slowly out of winterlike pattern
A blast of February-like weather sent temperatures nosediving to freezing, with gusty winds and even some snow to start April. Even in areas that won’t get a late-season snow, colder air will have a firm grip on the region through late in the week. For those looking forward to warmer weather ahead, AccuWeather forecasters are cautiously optimistic. Temperatures are forecast to rebound, but there will be some trouble due, in part, to a storm over the Atlantic. An intense weather system dragged much colder air into the Northeast and dropped accumulating snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning across portions of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state. Nearly half a foot of snow — 5.8 inches — buried areas north-northeast of Royalton, Ohio, located in the northeastern part of the state, and 5.5 inches fell just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania, in the northwestern corner of the state. “For some places, it looks like we’re smack dab in the middle of winter,” AccuWeather On-Air Meteorologist Brittany Boyer said, who added that it’s almost hard to believe Thursday was the first day of April for some communities that were buried under several inches of snow. Rain started the day along much of the Interstate 95 corridor on Thursday but will be followed by blustery and abnormally cold conditions into Friday. Heat already building across the Western states will have an easy ride to the Great Plains and much of the Midwest this weekend, before it meets some obstacles farther east. Temperatures are forecast to surge into the 70s and 80s over much of the north-central region on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures are predicted to trend upward in the Northeast by early next week, but a quick 25-degree turnaround is likely to be limited to areas along the western slopes of the Appalachians and the lower part of the mid-Atlantic. For example, high temperatures are forecast to trend from 41 F on Friday to 54 on Saturday, 64 on Easter Sunday and 68 on Monday in Pittsburgh. In Washington, D.C., where the cherry blossoms are just past peak, high temperatures are expected to trend from 47 on Friday to 57 on Saturday, 67 on Easter Sunday and 72 on Monday. Farther to the east, however, the warmup will slow, stall and may even fizzle out in New England. A southward dip in the jet stream is forecast to persist in the Northeast with areas on the eastern side of the dip likely to experience lingering chilly air and gusty winds. A storm is also forecast to develop a few hundred miles east of New England this weekend, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dean DeVore said. “In this position, the circulation around the storm and the jet stream dip will allow a stiff wind to persist and keep chilly air held in place, especially over the eastern half of New England,” DeVore added. The exact position of that offshore storm may determine how much the weather improves or deteriorates this weekend to early next week in New England. Should the storm drift farther west, clouds and cold rain could dampen the region. On the other hand, if the storm drifts a couple of hundred miles farther to the east, milder air and a greater amount of sunshine will be in store. It is also possible for the storm to wobble with some day-to-day variation in temperature and weather conditions in New England. In Boston, high temperatures are forecast to trend upward in earnest. The temperature is predicted to reach 45 on Friday, 51 on Saturday, 55 on Sunday and 57 on Monday. New England can sometimes be one of the last places in the Lower 48 states to warm up in the spring. This is due in part to an influence of cold Atlantic waters that border the region as well as intrusions from cold air lingering over eastern Canada. A west or southwest wind is typically the only way to usher in warmer air, which may only occur on a handful of days during March and April. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP There is another system AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking, and it could throw a wrench in pleasant conditions for some other parts of the Northeast as well. “While this will be far from a strong storm system, a weak disturbance that will originate from south-central Canada may gather enough moisture to produce clouds and spotty showers for a time as it drifts into part of the Northeastern states during the Easter weekend,” DeVore said, “This could spoil an otherwise mainly sunny forecast.” Where the sky remains clear at night and winds manage to drop off, such as over parts of the central Appalachians, mid-Atlantic and western New England, temperatures can plummet to cold levels. This means that people taking morning walks or venturing out to sunrise services on Easter morning may need to bundle up. But, when the sun will shine in the afternoons this weekend to early next week, the April solar rays can act to negate the chill — enough to combat a cool breeze — and provide some comfort. Temperatures over Easter weekend may shape up to be close to historical averages. During the first weekend of April, typical highs range from the lower 40s in northern Maine to the middle 60s in southern Virginia. “For most of the region, the weather over the Easter weekend in the Northeast will not be that bad, but not as pleasant, nor as warm as some of the days experienced during the middle and latter part of March,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said. The weather on Easter can vary tremendously as the date of the holiday fluctuates from year-to-year based on the Gregorian calendar. Easter can be as early as March 23 and as late as April 25. Throw in the variable state of the weather this time of the year, and there can be tremendous swings in the weather on the holiday from one year to the next. One of the warmest Easters on record was on April 18, 1976, when a heat wave was responsible for pushing high temperatures into the 90s over a broad area of the Northeast during several-day stretch, according to National Weather Service records. One of the coldest and snowiest Easters in recent decades for parts of the central Appalachians was on March 29, 1970. A storm brought close to a foot of snow to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and allowed temperatures to dip into the teens. More than 100 years ago, a blizzard hit the mid-Atlantic coast on Easter Sunday, April 4, 1915. The storm buried Philadelphia under 19 inches of snow and deposited 10.5 inches of snow in New York City. At least for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts this Easter weekend, no widespread areas of heavy precipitation are foreseen, and many locations may have totally dry conditions. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, FuboTV, Philo, and Verizon Fios.