The official start to spring is just around the corner, with the new season set to begin on Monday, March 20, but a burst of Arctic air and snow showers may have some in the central and eastern United States double checking their calendars. Will Mother Nature get the memo and return warmth in time for the first week of spring?
AccuWeather meteorologists say that as a whole, next week will trend milder, with temperatures returning back to, and then above, historical averages for most of the eastern two-thirds of the country.
At this point in the year, as the sun climbs higher in the sky and the amount of daylight continues to increase, daily historical averages steadily climb 1-2 degrees every few days.
Conditions will be downright cold for the latter half of March from the Plains states eastward to the Atlantic Seaboard into Monday morning. For many across the South, freezing temperatures at night can put plants that have begun to bloom at risk.
In portions of Texas, daily record low and low maximum temperatures are likely to be challenged through Sunday as temperatures dip as low as 30-40 degrees below the historical average.
Brutal winds will howl across the Great Lakes region and Northeastern states for the final days of winter, resulting in even lower AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures than the actual thermometer reading.
AccuWeather meteorologists say a change in the wind direction will usher milder air across these areas next week and allow for a steady climb in temperatures.
“It will feel a lot more like spring for many locations,” AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said.
A high pressure system with origins from northern Canada has been the main driver of the late-season cold burst across the Central and Eastern states. As this high shifts off the East Coast by the middle of next week, this will allow milder southerly and southwesterly winds to flow across the region.
“After starting the weekend feeling more like the middle of January, temperatures will recover quickly in Chicago with highs around 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the first day of spring on Monday,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said. Temperatures may climb into the middle 50s by Tuesday, around 6 degrees above the historical average.
“Temperatures will remain several degrees above the historical average through at least the middle of the week,” Pydynowski said, adding that there can be gusty winds each day that add a bit of chill to the air.
Farther east in New York City, where AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures may stay below freezing throughout the day on Sunday, the thermometer could hit the 60-degree mark by Tuesday. The Big Apple’s historical average throughout next week is in the lower 50s.
The warmer weather will take a bit longer to fully take hold of the South. In Atlanta, for example, the start of spring will remain cool with a high in the middle to upper 50s forecast on Monday, compared to the historical average of 67.
Once the floodgates of warmth open, however, AccuWeather experts say temperatures will be off to the races. By late week, Atlanta’s high temperature could approach 80.
Houston will experience a similar chilly start to spring before temperatures rise above historical averages by the middle of next week.
AccuWeather’s team of long-range meteorologists caution that even though milder weather is on the way for the first week of spring, bursts of cold air and snow can still occur over the coming weeks across the northern tier.
“While we are moving out of the winter season, we can still have another cold shot across the East as we close out the month, although this cold shot doesn’t appear to be as potent as the one this weekend,” DaSilva said.
“It looks like we can still have a few more chances for accumulating snow across interior portions of the Northeast even into the start of April; however, snow lovers along the coast might be out of luck for any more chances at a significant winter storm,” DaSilva.
AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to provide updates on the 2023 spring forecast.
Produced in association with AccuWeather