Spring is on the East’s doorstep, but it certainly won’t feel that way this week across the Eastern US. An arctic blast will have a bitter grip along and east of the Rocky mountains through late week ahead of a swift transition to spring-like temperatures. Temperatures will generally fall roughly 20-30 degrees below average through Wednesday before rebounding late week.

The arctic blast is being guided by an upper-level area of low pressure centered near the frozen Henry Hudson Bay in central Canada. This same airmass helped fuel the snowstorm that recently dumped over a foot of snow over parts of southern New England. As of Monday afternoon, the cold has already overspread the Upper Midwest and Northern Rockies, where temperatures are expected to plummet near or below 0°F Monday night through Wednesday night in cities like Green Bay, Minneapolis, and Bismarck. Normal low temperatures for early March for this region are in the teens and lower twenties. Little rebound is expected during the day, as highs fail to rise above 20°F until Wednesday or Thursday.

Temperatures will be slightly more moderated across the lower Midwest and southern Plains but it will still be frigid. Low temperatures will bottom out in the single digits and low teens Monday night and Tuesday night. These minimum temperatures will be as low as 25° below normal in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Wichita. Although winds are expected to be light, they will be strong enough to make it feel subzero across the entire Midwest.

Temperatures will be slightly more moderated across the lower Midwest and southern Plains, but it will still be frigid. Low temperatures will bottom out in the single digits and low teens Monday night and Tuesday night. These minimum temperatures will be as low as 25° below normal in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Wichita. Although winds are expected to be light, they will be strong enough to make it feel subzero across the entire Midwest.

Fortunately, the cold will not last long in the Midwest. Remnants of a Pacific storm will redevelop east of the Rocky Mountains midweek and draw warmer air from the Gulf of Mexico to counter the arctic blast. A swath of light snow in the central Plains and the upper Mississippi and Ohio Valleys will accompany the moderation late Wednesday night through early Friday.

The core of the bitter cold was still spreading across the East Coast Monday, but will settle in by Monday night. Single digit cold will invade almost the entire Northeast Monday night, falling just short of the I-95 corridor, where temperatures will only bottom out in the teens thanks to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The worst of the cold will be Wednesday night, when cities in the interior Northeast like Scranton, Syracuse, Pittsfield, and Burlington fall to just a few degrees above 0°F. It will be warmer in cities along the I-95 corridor, where temperatures will only bottom out in the middle teens. But for cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, these minimum temperatures will still be 15-20°F below normal.

High temperatures for these cities likely will not rise above freezing until Friday, and Saturday for cities the interior. Normal high temperatures for the first week of March range from the low 40s in Boston to the upper 40s in Philadelphia along the I-95 corridor. Across the interior they will range from the middle 30s in Burlington to low 40s in Scranton.

The South will not be exempt from the arctic blast but minimum temperatures in the 20s and low 30s will be toasty compared to the subzero temperatures gripping the Midwest. The extent of the subfreezing cold is more remarkable than its intensity, with freezing temperatures reaching all the way to the Florida panhandle! These temperatures will be 15 – 20° below normal. The cold will be at its worst Monday night, when temperatures in the low to mid 20s will overspread cities as far south as Austin, Jackson, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Further south, temperatures will fall below freezing all the way to the Gulf Coast, including cities like Houston, Biloxi, and Pensacola. High temperatures through Wednesday will be capped in the 50s but temperatures will return to the 70s by Friday.




Author

Josh is a lifelong nature and weather enthusiast as well as the Head Meteorologist at WeatherOptics. He began regularly forecasting for New Jersey, Long Island and New York City in 2014 on social media, contributing to community pages such as SBU Weather. He holds degrees in Physics and in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from Stony Brook University, from which he graduated in 2018. In the Fall of 2018 Josh will start graduate school for his M.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook, continuing his research on approaches to non-convective wind gust forecasting.

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