It’s been a rather cold 30+ days overall for much of the Central and Eastern US, and a similar pattern has continued into April. Temperatures are running over 15 degrees below average for much of the Northern Plains and the Midwest. The Lower 48 of the US as a whole is running at 3.6 below normal since that beginning of April. That cold air will persist through mid-next week as rounds of cold air associated with the Polar Vortex swing through the Northern Tier, ushering in temperatures as much as 40 degrees below average.

The next incoming round of cold will arrive this weekend, leading to widespread high temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees below the typical average high temperatures for this time of the year east of the Rockies. This cold air will even reach the Gulf Coast, where highs will near levels of up to 15 degrees below normal. If you’re hoping for a warm, comfortable spring weekend, you’re going to have to head to the Southwest where temperatures will be as much as 25 degrees above average. That translates to actual highs in the 80s and 90s for many. Of course it’s all relative — if you’re a fan of the cooler than average temperatures, then the 60s may sound nice in the Southeast. Now where it’s going to feel miserable outside — at least in our opinion — will be in the Northern Plains and Midwest this weekend. Over 30 record low maximum temperatures will likely be broken on Saturday as temperatures only peak into the teens and 20s. Over a dozen of record lows will likely be broken as well, especially on Saturday as temperatures drop down into the single-digits and teens. Portions of North Dakota and Montana will even dive down below zero.

This cold will persist into the first half of next week. The resilient ridge centered over the West Coast of the nation will allow for yet another upper-level trough of low pressure to swing down and into the Eastern US, which may even spark the development of a nor’easter around the Tuesday time period. Therefore, the chance for snow exists for many in the Northeast but the uncertainty remains extremely high at this time.

What we do know is that cooler than average temperatures will be in place. Occasional record low temperatures are possible, especially in the Northern Plains on Tuesday when temperatures plunge into the teens. On Monday, widespread high temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees below average is forecast for much of the Eastern US. Further south toward the coast, temperatures will generally be within 5 degrees below and above average. Warmer air will then begin to intrude into the western Plains while much of the Northern Plains and most areas east of the Mississippi River continue to experience the winter-like chill. Temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees below average will remain the general theme for many. It’s not until Wednesday as the pattern begins to change.

With this pattern change, we’re going to see a strong trough diving southward from the Gulf of Alaska toward the US West Coast. This will spark a ridge of high pressure into the East. This ridge will begin on the weak side at first, thus not allowing for the warmer air to surge into the Northern Plains. Meanwhile to the south, temperatures will be up to 25 degrees above average. This warmup will brief, however, because by the weekend, the trough over the West Coast will shift into the Central US, which may spark severe weather. Over the East Coast, this ridge will further amplify, so while strong storms slam portions of the middle of the country, temperatures of up to 30 degrees above average takeover the Eastern Seaboard next weekend.

Upper-Level Pattern Now through Next Weekend

Cooler weather will then return the following week and will persist through the end of April overall. There will still be brief rounds of warmer air, but this upcoming warmup is your best shot for above average temperatures in quite awhile, so be sure to enjoy it because it will only last for 2 to 3 days. At least the chances for snow are slowly dwindling as we progress further into spring.


Jackson is Head of Content and Social Media at WeatherOptics. He is currently a student at the University of Miami, studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism. Dill produces forecast articles for the website and helps to manage the content schedule. He has also led the growth of WeatherOptics’ social media accounts, working to keep them aligned with the company’s evolving vision.

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