Almost right on cue, a temperature warming trend will commence during the first week of spring across much of the eastern United States ahead of an influx of wet weather, AccuWeather meteorologists say.
Spring officially begins at 5:24 p.m. EDT Monday as the sun’s direct rays pass over the equator and continue their northward journey. The sun’s rays this week will be as strong as that of mid-September and those heading outdoors during periods of sunny conditions will experience weather that is comfortable to most individuals during the midday and afternoon hours.
After a cold weekend that featured snow in parts of the Northeast and freezes deep into the Southeast as late as Monday morning, temperatures will rise dozens of degrees this week and should provide some delightful conditions to get outdoors in the coming days.
Portions of northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York received several inches of snow this weekend from Old Man Winter. Temperatures bottomed out at 21 degrees Fahrenheit Monday morning in Nashville, which is exactly 20 degrees below the city’s historical average for March 20. Temperatures dipped into the 20s in Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta; and Birmingham, Alabama, and were all approximately 20 degrees below the historical average for each of those cities.
“The warmth will peak over portions of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley to the Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Wednesday and Thursday in most cases, while the warmth will peak on Thursday and Friday along the Atlantic seaboard,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
The warmup will occur ahead of a storm system that will pivot across California with more flooding rain and feet of snow for the Sierra Nevada from Tuesday to Wednesday. As that storm reorganizes east of the Rockies, heavy rain may lead to urban and small stream flooding over the middle of the nation from Thursday to Friday.
Temperatures that were 20 degrees below average Sunday and Monday morning will reach about 10-20 degrees above average Wednesday and Thursday from the South Central states to the East Coast.
After a high temperature of 40 F Sunday, temperatures in Nashville may approach 80 F Thursday afternoon, according to Travis. When factoring in the low of 21 Monday in Nashville, temperatures there could rise by as much as 60 degrees this week.
“Temperatures around Raleigh, North Carolina, will end up being about 15 degrees above the historical average by Friday with a high in the low 80s F forecast,” Travis said.
Farther north, the cherry blossoms will be in all their glory in Washington, D.C., this week. The blossoms are projected to peak from Wednesday, March 22, through Saturday, March 25, according to the National Park Service. Factoring in anticipated weather conditions, the best bet for viewing this week is likely to be from Tuesday through Thursday, AccuWeather forecasters say. Dry conditions with at least partial sunshine and a high in the 60s are in store for Tuesday and Wednesday.
While a shower may be in the vicinity Thursday, much of the time will be rain-free and afternoon temperatures will peak in the mid-70s F around the nation’s capital. More frequent rainy episodes with a cooling trend are expected from Friday to Saturday.
People who have visited New York City or Boston in the early spring know that the weather can be quite chilly, but that will not be the case during part of this week.
Tuesday and Wednesday will feature highs within a few degrees of 60 F and some sunshine in New York City. The weather is likely to turn progressively wetter each day from Thursday to Saturday with high temperatures expected to trend downward through the 50s late this week. However, even with the late-week cooldown, temperatures will still be no worse than the average, which is in the low 50s during the fourth week of March for the Big Apple.
The warmest day of the week around Boston is set to be Tuesday, with a high near 60, or about 15 degrees above the historical average. As episodes of rain increase later this week, high temperatures may only peak in the mid-50s F Thursday and will trend down through the 40s Friday and Saturday. The historical average high for late March in Boston is in the mid-40s.
Despite the warmup, temperatures will stop well short of record levels in most cases. Established record highs are well into the 70s and lower 80s in the coastal Northeast and into the 80s in the Southeast and South Central states.
The same storm system that will bring rain to the south-central and mid-Atlantic regions later this week may culminate as a significant snow event for parts of the Great Lakes region and northern New England this weekend.
The major Midwest cities of Chicago and Detroit will feel their warmth peak by midweek with highs mainly in the 50s, or 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average. The storm this weekend will bring colder conditions and perhaps a period or two of snow or flurries to Chicago and a mixture of rain and snow to the Detroit area from Friday night to Saturday.
Travel conditions are likely to deteriorate significantly late this week and this weekend no matter where the boundary between rain and snow sets up.
That storm will usher in another bout of chilly air in its wake later this weekend to early next week, but the cold conditions should not be as extensive or extreme as this past weekend.
Produced in association with AccuWeather