Mar 13, 2012: June-Like Warmth In March?

Forecast Highlights:

– Colder yet still mild ending to week, 60 degrees near NYC
– Some rain for Friday and possibly Saturday, otherwise dry
– Peak of warmth takes place next week; 80 degrees even possible


Ahead of a cold front approaching the area, the warmth reached its peak today for most of the area, with partly to mostly cloudy skies observed, cloudy closer to the coast, along with southwest winds. High temperatures were unusually warm for March once again, reaching the lower to mid 70s across northern NJ, SE NY, and NYC away from the coast; temperatures peaked at 76 degrees in Teterboro and Newark airports in NJ, as well as Montgomery in Orange county, NY. As typical with warm spells during spring, the eastern parts of the area were much colder than the western areas; high temperatures reached the upper 50s to mid 60s for most of Long Island, southern CT, and coastal parts of NYC, with the immediate coastal areas reaching the lower to mid 50s, which was slightly colder than expected. Although thunderstorms failed to form across the area today and are not expected to form, scattered strong thunderstorms are currently developing in east central NY and northern Massachusetts, which were within the northern boundaries of the “Isolated” thunderstorm risk issued yesterday.

Behind the cold fronts, temperatures will be colder further west tomorrow while noticeably warmer towards the eastern parts of the area, but an onshore flow will develop by Thursday and Friday, possibly Saturday, keeping colder yet still warmer than average temperatures in place. Going into next week, there is still some uncertainty with the specific details, but the potential for significant warmth is there, which in the warmest possible scenario may actually result in highs near 80 degrees near NYC.

Tomorrow’s Outlook (Wednesday):

*Temperatures may end up slightly cooler in Long Island and southern CT than the graphic below indicates.*

With the cold front moving through tonight, mainly sunny skies are expected tomorrow with light NW winds. These NW winds, however, will help to spread the warmth into the eastern half of the area, and as a result, while places from NYC and further north/west will be colder, Long Island and southern Connecticut, even down to the immediate coast, will be warmer. Highs are expected to reach the mid 60s across most of the area, possibly a bit lower near the immediate coast and far NW parts of Sussex/Orange counties, although temperatures in the mid 60s should also cover most of long Island and southern CT. Warmer temperatures in the upper 60s are expected in northern NJ, NYC and parts of SE NY, with lower 70s likely in parts of NE NJ as well.

Thursday – Saturday: More Clouds, Rain, Colder

The more widespread warmth tomorrow will be short lasting as a back door cold front continues to push through, with an onshore flow developing for Thursday and Friday with SE/ESE winds expected. As a result, temperatures on Thursday are likely to reach the lower to mid 60s in northern NJ and SE NY, upper 50s to lower 60s near NYC, and the lower to mid 50s across most of Long Island and southern Connecticut, near the upper 50s closer to NYC and near the upper 40s in the immediate coast and eastern areas. Although these temperatures are a part of a cool down and are noticeably colder than those of today, Thursday will still end up warmer than average, only showing the magnitude of this warm spell where even a colder air mass is still warmer than average. The models are also suggesting that a more widespread sea breeze could develop, meaning that high temperatures except for interior NJ and SE NY could peak earlier in the day, with temperatures dropping into the 50s and 40s during the rest of the afternoon and evening hours.

The next cutoff low pressure will move towards the region on Friday, with the warm sector getting closer but still staying southwest of the area. There is uncertainty with the extent of the warmth on Friday, although at this time, I am expecting high temperatures to end up in the mid to upper 50s across most of the area, with lower 50s towards parts of Long Island and southern CT and lower 60s towards parts of northern NJ. Due to the weak low pressure, occasional showers are expected throughout the day, with scattered showers lasting into the overnight hours. Isolated showers are still possible on Saturday with otherwise partly cloudy skies and highs slightly warming up into the lower to mid 60s except for Long Island and southern CT, where temperatures will remain in the 50s.

Sunday – Next Week: Strong Warmth Likely To Return

There is some uncertainty with the forecast for Sunday and Monday, with some models delaying the warmth and others already bringing the strong warmth in by Sunday, although the CMC currently appears to be an outlier with how it handles the set up through Tuesday by stalling the Saturday storm just off the coast, preventing the stronger warmth from reaching the area even going into next week. While this solution will be monitored, for now I am siding with the rest of the model guidance with a SW flow returning by Sunday or Monday. Should this scenario verify, temperatures would gradually rise for both days, with highs in NYC reaching the mid to possibly upper 60s on Sunday and the upper 60s to possibly lower 70s on Monday.

Should the cutoff low stick around just offshore as the CMC is indicating, temperatures would remain in the 50s and 60s through Tuesday/Wednesday. While this is not as likely at this time, this possibility will be followed. Assuming that the cutoff does not stick around and ends up moving away as the rest of the models show, however, the early week will only be the beginning of a nearly week long stretch of near record breaking temperatures for this time of the year. With a high pressure to the south resulting in SW winds, temperatures away from coastal areas would warm up well into the 70s by at least Monday or Tuesday, and with the intensity of the ridge and the warm air mass, it is not out of the question that in this scenario, at least one day, if not more, between Tuesday and Friday reaches 80 degrees or more near NYC; average highs for this time of the year are still in the lower 50s for parts of the area. Again, this assumes that the cutoff low does not stick around, and while at this time that does not appear as likely, the strong warmth solution is still a potential at this time, and it is possible that a still warm but not as warm outcome verifies, keeping temperatures in the 60s and lower 70s later on next week. Stay tuned for more information on next week’s warmth.

Long Range Overview: Uncertainty increases beyond next week as usually happens with the longer range, although the latest model guidance is pointing towards a colder ending to March and start of April. Although a cold and snowy pattern will not establish itself as it has failed to do so this entire winter, a somewhat colder ending to the month may be possible, although with any colder pattern, based on the latest indications it would not be accompanied by any snowstorm. More information on the longer range will be posted as details become clearer.

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