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Taste Of Spring To Tease Eastern US As Temperatures Soar

Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of six more weeks of winter has not come true

For the most part, Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication of six more weeks of winter hasn’t been on track.

The eastern United States has already been pacing warmer than average, and a big warmup is about to grip the region with the potential for record-challenging temperatures for many areas, AccuWeather meteorologists say.

Temperatures during much of the week will be above historical averages and especially Wednesday and Thursday, daily high-temperature records may be set in some locations from the Midwest to the Appalachians and along parts of the Eastern Seaboard.

The unusually warm weather for this time in winter will arrive ahead of storm systems pressing through the central U.S., which will dish out snow on their northwestern flanks from the central Plains to the Upper Midwest and ignite severe weather across the South Central states.

It will be warm enough that many people will be able to ditch extra layers and winter gear altogether, as the weather will feel much more like late April rather than mid-February in the East, especially Wednesday and Thursday of this week, forecasters say.

“On Wednesday, the core of the warm air and the potential for record highs to be set will extend from Michigan and Ohio to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and upstate New York,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. “Highs in much of this zone at midweek will range from the upper 50s and 60s to the lower 70s.”

Many of the anticipated temperatures Wednesday will approach the daily records for Feb. 15 that have stood since the 1970s and in some cases since the 1950s.

Pittsburgh’s forecast for Wednesday calls for a high of 67 degrees Fahrenheit, just a few degrees over the record high set on February 15 in 1954 at 69. Detroit and Columbus, Ohio, will both see temperatures in the 60s. ACCUWEATHER

For example, the high in Pittsburgh is projected to reach 67 F Wednesday, and the record for Feb. 15 sits just a couple of degrees higher at 69 from 1954. Temperatures in Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit will be in the 60s with records of 70 and 66, respectively. Both records Wednesday were set in 1954 as well. Temperatures of this magnitude are more common during the final days of April rather than the middle of February.

“On Thursday, the core of the warm air may extend from the Appalachians to much of the Interstate 95 corridor,” Anderson said. “In the mid-Atlantic and New England, high temperatures will be well into the 60s from Washington, D.C., to Boston while parts of Virginia may reach the 70s.”

Temperatures in Boston may reach or exceed long-standing record levels on Feb. 16. The record is 60 degrees set 113 years ago in 1910. A high in the low to mid-60s is in store, forecasters say.

The record high on Feb. 16 in New York City of 71, previously set in 1954, is likely out of reach. However, temperatures should have little trouble reaching the 60s in the Big Apple. 

“While it will still remain unseasonably warm west of the Appalachians to the Ohio Valley on Thursday, clouds and eventual rainfall will put a lid on the temperature rise during the afternoon,” Anderson said.

A storm system tracking across the heartland is likely to trigger severe weather in parts of the Ohio Valley to perhaps the Great Lakes and western slopes of the Appalachians.

Record highs will be challenged in the Southeast as well Thursday, including as far to the south as Florida. Some records dating back as far as the Great Depression Era may be approached, tied or broken. Highs will be well into the 80s over much of the Florida Peninsula.

“This surge of warmth may also trigger the emergence of spring bulbs and blossoms on some of the early flowering bushes,” Anderson said. “The spring green-up in the South is running two to three weeks ahead of schedule, and, in some spots, it may be a record early emergence.”

Colder air will push from west to east across the Appalachians and much of the East Coast Friday. It is possible that a brief period of snow or snow showers will follow rain showers as the colder air arrives in parts of the Appalachians late Thursday night to early Friday.

Following an early-day high in the lower 60s in New York City Friday, afternoon temperatures are likely to fall through the 40s. The historical average high in New York City Friday is in the low to mid-40s. In Pittsburgh, temperatures may not get out of the 30s Friday, compared to a historical average high in the lower 40s.

The Appalachians and much of the East Coast will experience colder air Friday as it moves from the west to the east. ACCUWEATHER

“Much colder weather may move into these regions by early March, which could be a problem for some early emerging plants and buds,” Anderson said.

Many locations had a very warm January. The temperature was 9.8 degrees above the historical January average, which factored in all high and low temperatures for the month, in New York City and now ranks as the warmest on record. The old record was an average temperature of 43.2 degrees set in 1932. January 2023’s average temperature was 43.5 degrees. As of Feb. 12, New York City was already at 3.4 degrees above the historical average and that includes some days early in the month when temperatures were 10-20 degrees below the daily average.


Produced in association with AccuWeather.

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