After a spike in temperature on Monday, much colder air will sweep across the Midwest and Northeast through the middle of the week.
In the wake of a cold front, temperatures will be slashed by 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit during Tuesday and Wednesday, following above-average to record warmth from Monday.
The first wave of colder air will sweep from Minneapolis and Chicago to New York City and Washington, D.C.
However, the chill will not be limited to a day or two from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast. Multiple shots of cold air will drop in from central and eastern Canada through the start of astronomical spring and on into April.
Astronomical spring officially arrives on Friday, March 20, at 6:45 p.m. EDT (5:45 p.m. CDT).
According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Meteorologist Mark Paquette, "While there could be a day or two of warmth ahead of any cold front, the weather pattern is not favoring any sustained warmth across the East into April."
Below-average temperatures are likely to outnumber warmer-than-average days by at least two to one from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast through early April. From portions of the Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley and the interior South, the waves of chilly air will be much less frequent and not as long-lasting.
The pattern will make it uncomfortable for outdoor sports that typically ramp up early in the spring, such as golf, baseball, soccer, fishing and track and field.
While the chilly weather will continue to be a strain on the heating budget, the upcoming pattern will limit the risk of flooding in the Northeast in the absence of heavy rain. The chilly weather will slow the rate of melting snow and the runoff by bringing nights below freezing and days above freezing.
Melting snow and rounds of heavy rain have caused flooding on the Ohio River Basin and were causing water levels to rise on the lower Mississippi River.
While the pattern is going back to what occurred during much of the winter with warmth dominating the West and colder air pouring into the East, longer daylight hours and strengthening sunshine will negate some of the chill.
Many ski resorts are likely to remain open through Easter weekend in the Northeast.
Along with the chill, the upcoming pattern may create opportunities for late-season snow.
A storm forecast to travel slowly across the South this week could turn up the Atlantic coast on Friday into Saturday and will raise the risk of wet snow or a wintry mix in parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England as spring arrives.
The track and strength of that storm will determine which areas receive snow versus rain versus no precipitation.
AccuWeather.com will provide updates on the potential wintry storm as the week progresses.