March will start cold over much of the northeastern third of the United States before giving up during the middle days of the month.
"It appears the last significant cold outbreak of the winter season will spread from the northern Plains to the Midwest, interior South, mid-Atlantic and New England states at the end of February into early March," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
The cold outbreak will follow a brief episode of chilly air in the wake of the major storm later this week and a brief warmup this weekend.
As the leading edge of the cold air sweeps eastward next week, there could be a period of snow from the northern Plains to the Northeast, followed by lake-effect snow showers in the traditional areas downwind of the Great Lakes.
Compared to other cold outbreaks this winter and in prior winters, this one will pale in comparison.
"Even though the air will be coming from the Arctic, the air in that source region is not that cold to begin with," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
"Beyond Canada, a lack of snowcover and the largely unfrozen Great Lakes as well as the strengthening sun will go a long way toward moderating the air as it moves southward," Anderson said.
For example, highs will be in the 30s F around Chicago and Detroit on multiple days next week, which will be a few degrees below normal.
As the cold air spills downhill of the largely snow-free Appalachians and Atlantic Seaboard, it will further moderate.
The weather during most days next week will likely be no colder than average around New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. Normal high temperatures in these areas next week are mainly in the 40s.
Where there is snow on the ground, which is mostly across southern Canada and parts of the Midwest, the cold will pack the most punch.
"The pattern during the first third to half of the month favors in-and-out cold, rather than persistent cold," Pastelok said.
Regardless, beginning toward the middle of March and on into April, above-average temperatures are in the offing over much of the Central and Eastern states as a westerly flow of Pacific Ocean air becomes established.
"The lack of snow cover and unfrozen [relatively warm] waters of the Great Lakes will work toward giving temperatures a boost early this spring over much of the Midwest and Northeast," Pastelok said. "It could also contribute toward building dryness moving forward later this spring."
Pastelok stated that there could still be a cold storm with wet snow in a few locations during March and April, but that would be an anomaly in an otherwise warm weather pattern.
"The pattern during the middle to latter part of March will bring a return of storms with rain and mountain snow to California," Pastelok said.