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Late-week rain to clear for Easter weekend in northeastern US

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A storm, which will produce showers and thunderstorms in the mid-Atlantic and an icy mix in the northern tier of the Northeast, will depart allowing skies to clear for Easter weekend.

The late-week rain and blustery conditions will mark the end of well above-average warmth for the mid-Atlantic.

Thunderstorms will accompany the rain in some locations. The greatest chance of strong thunderstorms will exist over and west of the central Appalachians during Thursday evening. A small number of the storms could bring wind gusts strong enough to break tree limbs off and cause sporadic power outages from Pittsburgh to Charleston, West Virginia.

In the coastal mid-Atlantic, the bulk of the rain, with perhaps some thunder and lightning, will fall during late Thursday night.

"Spotty rain will linger into the Friday morning commute from New York City to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Mussoline.

"The rain will not be particularly heavy by the time it reaches the Interstate-95 corridor and will be more of a nuisance."

Rain and scattered thunderstorms will push eastward across central and southern New England during the day Friday.

"For much of the region, the rain will be swept out to sea by the Friday evening rush hour," Mussoline said.

The combination of rain and wind could knock a significant amount of the cherry blossoms off the trees in Washington, D.C.

The sweep of rain will be associated with a cold front, trailing south of the storm.

Temperatures immediately in the wake of the front, compared to the peak of the warmth at midweek, will average 20 degrees Fahrenheit lower from the Appalachians on west to about 10 degrees lower along the Atlantic Seaboard on Friday and Friday night.

After a period of blustery conditions and very spotty showers during Friday night, dry and tranquil conditions will expand over the Northeast on Saturday and into Easter Sunday.

Temperatures during Saturday and Sunday will trend to near- or above-average levels once again.

On Sunday, highs will range from the lower 50s around Boston to the upper 50s in New York City, the middle 60s in Philadelphia and near 70 in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Use caution when considering planting anything other than cold weather flowers and vegetables at this point. Indications are than another cold wave or two will circulate southeastward from Canada through the middle of April.