With the persistence of winter in March and re-occurring cold and snow during early April, millions of people in the Northeast and Great Lakes are wondering when springtime warmth will finally settle in.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists have been tracking a significant upcoming change in the weather pattern for several weeks. That change will materialize during the second week in April in the mid-Atlantic and much of the Midwest, while chill hangs on a bit longer farther to the northeast.
According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok, "After this weekend, areas in the Ohio Valley and along the I-95 corridor in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic are likely done with this risk of accumulating snow."
"We may have finally broken the mold of winter in a big chunk of the Northeast," Pastelok said.
A pattern favoring cooler, wetter conditions in the West and warmer weather in the East will develop later next week and last until nearly the end of the month.
Adding to the support of lasting warmth in the Northeast will be a thrust of cold air into Alaska and northeastern Asia.
"This setup usually pumps warmth into the eastern United States, similar to a see-saw effect," Pastelok said.
Temperatures will average near to slightly above normal for much of the time spanning the approximate middle 15-20 days of the month in the Northeast.
Starting late next week, more consistent highs in the 50s are in store for northern New England, upstate New York and the upper Great Lakes. Highs on multiple days are likely to be in the upper 50s to the 60s farther south. From the Ohio Valley to the southern part of the mid-Atlantic, highs in the upper 60s to the 70s will be common. A few locations could touch 80 on a couple of days.
There will still be some chilly episodes in the northern tier of the Midwest and in the Northeast into next week, but these areas will get breaks.
According to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Part of the mid-Atlantic and New England will have a few days with a chilly flow of air off the Atlantic Ocean, combined with clouds and wet conditions next week."
The wet weather will not be limited to the Eastern states.
"The pattern during much of April is likely to be fairly wet over a large part of the nation," Pastelok said.
It may be a challenge to find long-lasting dry conditions from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic. Wet soil and the rounds of rain could make digging in the garden or plowing fields difficult.
A positive impact is that some rain will reach portions of California. Some snow is in store for the Sierra Nevada and parts of the Rockies.
However, more episodes of severe weather are likely in portions of the Central and Southern U.S.
"The next few weeks will also be very active in terms of severe weather with multiple-day severe weather events pushing slowly eastward from the Plains to the Mississippi Valley, South and Midwest," Pastelok said.
Rounds of cool air pushing out of the Rockies will clash with surging warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Strong winds aloft will give the storms that erupt extra volatility.
Pastelok cautioned that beyond the middle of the month, the Northeast will not completely be done with chilly weather, while much of the Midwest will stay mild.
"Off-and-on cool weather is possible toward the end of April and into part of May with the risk of frost north of the Mason-Dixon Line," Pastelok said.