Mar 20, 2012: Record March Warm Spell Continues

Record highs on Tuesday, March 20, 2012:

Islip, NY
71 degrees (tied record: 71 degrees – 2010)


Today was yet another unseasonably warm day across the area and the region, with morning fog observed in most areas becoming partly sunny by the afternoon. The warmest temperatures in the region were once again located over New England, where some locations observed their 4th consecutive 80+ degree day, almost unheard of during this time of the year. Temperatures ended up close to the forecast, reaching the lower to mid 70s north and west of NYC with lower 70s in NYC and mid to upper 60s in southern CT. Temperatures in Long Island, however, ended up warmer than expected; the onshore wind was originally expected to prevent coastal areas from reaching the upper 60s-low 70s range today, yet most of Long Island still managed to get close to, if not over the 70 degree mark.

Temperatures are expected to continue to warm up through Thursday, and it is not out of the question that parts of the area pass 80 degrees north of NYC. A back door cold front will move through on Friday, bringing an end to the May-like conditions and bringing back a more typical March pattern, with rain for the weekend and highs returning into the 50s and 60s for next week.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

There is some uncertainty with tomorrow’s outlook regarding how far south the warm air mass will extend. The warmest temperatures will once again stay in New England, although the models have been shifting around, with some keeping highs in the upper 60s near NYC and other models showing highs near the upper 70s. Other than cloudy skies in the morning and areas of fog, partly sunny skies are expected by the afternoon with SSE winds. I am currently expecting tomorrow’s temperatures to end up similar to those of today, with lower to mid 70s north and west of NYC and mid 60s to lower 70s in most of Long Island and southern CT, with lower 60s near the immediate coast. Temperatures in parts of northern NJ and SE NY are likely to reach and/or slightly pass 75 degrees, but interior Connecticut has the highest chance of passing 75 degrees.

Forecast Overview:

– Thursday is still expected to be the warmest day; there is still some uncertainty, however, regarding the southern extent of the warm air mass, which will determine how warm temperatures end up. Currently, most models show highs in the mid 70s, with the NAM showing upper 70s. Considering that the NAM so far had the better handle on temperatures, I am leaning towards the warmer solutions, expecting highs to reach the upper 70s to lower 80s north and west of NYC and the lower to upper 70s across the rest of the area, but the temperature forecast is still subject to minor changes.

– A back door cold front will move through on Friday, bringing isolated showers for the late afternoon hours. As a result, the warmest temperatures will take place early on in the day, with highs likely to reach the mid to upper 70s west of NYC and the lower to mid 70s across the rest of the area.

– Temperatures are expected to cool down into the 50s and 60s by next weekend and early next week, but the exact temperatures depend on an approaching cutoff low which the models do not have a very good handle on yet. At this time, occasional showers are shown for Saturday and Sunday, but it is a reasonable possibility that the storm could end up wetter with amounts perhaps getting up to 1 inch, potentially even higher in the warmer case scenario. In this case, temperatures would remain in the 50s across the area.

– Uncertainty increases for next week, but it appears that temperatures may slightly warm up again closer to the upper 60s towards the middle of next week. Another weak cool down may be possible for late next week.

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