Will This Unrelenting Winter Tighten Its Grip?

Winter snow totals are pushing into the top 5 to 10 for some major cities of the Northeast, and temperatures have plummeted well below normal at times across the region and across the Midwest.

January temperatures across a zone spanning from Chicago to New York City were as much as 4-8 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.

With rising fuel costs, propane shortages, numerous rounds of winter storm travel disruptions, salt shortages and long-duration power outages from recent storms, many have taken to social media to lament the seemingly never-ending winter.

Due to the latest snowfall Thursday, Philadelphia has moved this winter into at least the top five snowiest with about 53.5 inches of snow as of noon. The fourth snowiest winter on record was 1977-78, when 54.9 inches fell.

The snowiest winter on record in Philadelphia was in 2009-10, when 78.7 inches fell.

" With the current storm, snowfall so far this season in New York City may top 51 inches," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. The current 10th-snowiest winter on record is 53.2 inches set in 1906-07, so the city may be within reach after this storm. The snowiest winter in the record books for the city stands as 1995-96, when 75.6 inches fell.

Brief Reprieve From the Cold

"There's going to be some rough weather at times, but there will be some breaks from cold and storms that will bring some brightness for people," AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Temperatures will climb next week as milder air originating from the Pacific Ocean sweeps across much of the nation.

Highs will soar into the 60s and 70s across the Southeast next week. In the mid-Atlantic and portions of the Appalachians, highs will reach into 50s and 60s briefly next week.

"Snowpack in the Northeast and New England will not allow it to get as warm as areas farther south," Pastelok said.

While many will welcome the milder weather, there may be some concerns that come along with it. Episodes of travel-disrupting fog could shroud portions of the South, Midwest and East with any warm spells through the end of February and early March.

Farther south, there may be localized flooding issues for portions of the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee as the rapid thaw occurs.

See-Saw Temperatures, Storms Into March

"Behind this warmup next week, there will be some cold for the Midwest and Northeast at the very end of February," Pastelok said. "We're going to warm up again after that, though, so it will be a back-and- forth pattern going into March."

When cold returns to the Midwest and Northeast at the end of February, temperatures could drop below normal once again.

Even when it warms up, the nights may still be quite chilly across portions of the Great Lakes and Northeast, due to the nearby source of cold with the extent of ice across the Great Lakes.

With clashing warm and cold air, storms are likely to form in the battle zone. There will be chances for snow in both the Midwest and Northeast into early March.

Chicago could get snow through early in March, Pastelok said, if the cold comes in time to meet up with storms.

For the I-95 corridor, from Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to New York City and Boston, there may be more storms that unleash a messy wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain into March.