Mar 5, 2012: Warmer Pattern To Develop

Forecast Highlight:

– After brief cold temperatures, unseasonable warmth to return
– Up to 65-68 degrees in NYC on Thursday with partly sunny skies
– Slightly cooler weekend, still dry
– Even more warmth may return again next week and beyond


Behind yesterday’s coastal low pressure that kept the rain just off the coast, skies cleared overnight as another snowstorm stayed to the south of the area, this time affecting central Virginia. Mostly sunny skies were observed today along with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s inland (NW NJ/SE NY) and the lower to mid 40s across the rest of the area.

The latest radar to the left shows no precipitation across the region, as a high pressure is settling over the region, keeping these dry conditions in place across the region through Thursday evening. With the high pressure, temperatures will also significantly warm up by the second half of the week, reaching the mid to upper 60s on Thursday. Although temperatures will drop by the weekend, a warmer than average pattern is still expected to continue.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Tomorrow will be the last cold day in the region until the weekend, when the next short lasting cold air mass arrives. Mainly sunny skies are expected again across the area with highs reaching the upper 30s to lower 40s for most places. Light NW winds in the morning will shift to the SW by the afternoon and evening hours.

Wednesday – Friday: Much Warmer

With the high pressure moving offshore, southwest winds will develop across the region, with SW winds at the 850mb layer also bringing a warmer air mass into the region. With mostly sunny skies expected, temperatures will once again return into the 60s. Wednesday will bring temperatures into the upper 50s to lower 60s from NYC and further north/west, with highs reaching the mid to upper 50s in Long Island and southern CT except for the immediate coast, where temperatures will remain colder. Thursday will be the warmest day, with partly sunny skies and a SW wind. Highs will reach the lower to mid 60s across the area, again excluding parts of Long Island especially closer to the coast which will see highs in the mid to upper 50s, and parts of the immediate NYC area are also likely to pass 65 degrees, reaching the upper 60s range.

A cold front will move through on Thursday night, bringing scattered showers with near or less than 1/4 inch expected, with dry conditions returning for Friday along with highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s. With no significant rain out of the only rain producer of the week, drier than normal conditions are becoming a potential concern; despite all of the very wet storms of last year, a less active pattern began to develop in early February, with parts of the area so far only near 50% of the average rainfall from January 1st to March 5th. While there are currently no drought conditions across the region, the pattern going into the middle of the month does not appear to be a wet one.

Longer Range: Uncertainty With Cutoff Low

A cutoff low pressure is expected to develop by the end of next week, and as with most cutoff lows, there is uncertainty on where this one will end up, as it does not appear to be quickly merging back into the main flow. Some models, such as the ECM and 0z CMC, slowly drift this cutoff into the northern US and Canada while bringing a very warm air mass across almost the entire US. The GFS is more moderate with the warmth, but removes most of the cold as well while showing the cutoff low drifting towards the area. At this time, I am thinking that the cutoff could perhaps affect the area sometime around early next week, although with the uncertainty regarding the cutoff low’s track and intensity, this is still subject to change. Depending on the timing, another warm surge may move into the region ahead of the cutoff, especially if it takes more time to reach the region, in which case temperatures could once again surge well into the 60s. Going beyond early next week, the long range models develop a much warmer pattern across all of the United States and parts of Canada. As with some of the other warm periods during the winter, the models may be exaggerating the intensity and coverage area of the warmth, but the overall idea is there that a warmer than average pattern should continue through at least mid March, if not beyond.

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