Mar 7, 2012: No End To Warmth In Sight

Forecast Highlights:

– Very warm Thursday; 70+ degrees near NYC likely
– Scattered showers overnight followed by a chilly and drier weekend
– Warm pattern sets up again next week; 70+ degrees possible again


With the high pressure still offshore but not too far from the region, mainly sunny skies continued as SW winds brought in a much warmer air mass. Temperatures today were warmer than those of yesterday; highs reached the lower to mid 60s in SE NY, northern NJ, and most of NYC, while coastal locations of NYC, Long Island and southern Connecticut only reached the lower to mid 50s.

This year’s winter, which can barely even be called a winter due to its persistent lack of cold and snow, has already gone down as the 2nd warmest winter in recorded history for Central Park. The December-February period, however, was not the only warm frame; the warmth extended back into the fall, when unusually warm conditions were observed at times during October and most notably during November. The warm pattern still shows no signs of breaking apart as unseasonable warmth will continue through the next 10-15 days, once again making this March warmer than average, as mentioned in my March outlook, while also possibly making this a top 5 warmest March on record; temperatures during this time frame will be much more April-like than March, reaching 70 degrees tomorrow in parts of the area, and after a brief break this weekend returning into the 60s and possibly 70s again next week.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Partly cloudy and windy conditions are expected tomorrow, with SW winds gusting up to 40 mph in parts of, if not most of the area. The biggest story for tomorrow will be the warm temperatures for parts of the area, however. Highs are expected to reach the upper 60s in northern NJ, SE NY, and NYC, with lower 70s also expected in parts of the immediate NYC area, especially in NE NJ and around Newark. Due to the onshore wind, colder temperatures will be observed near coastal areas, with highs in the lower to mid 60s across most of Long Island and southern CT and the immediate coast staying near the mid to upper 50s.

Thursday Night – Saturday: Slightly Colder

A cold front will move through on Thursday night, bringing occasional showers with up to 1/4 inch of rain expected. Behind the front, skies will clear on Friday with highs reaching the mid 40s to lower 50s across the area. The coldest temperatures are expected on Friday night, with mostly clear skies and lows dropping into the mid to upper 20s inland and the upper 20s to mid 30s across the rest of the area. Saturday will be the last chilly day for a while, with highs in the mid 40s across most of the area, reaching the upper 40s in parts of the immediate NYC area and lower 40s further inland.

Sunday – Next Week: Warming Up Again

Yet another ridge will build into the region on Sunday, with warmer temperatures expected to return. Mostly sunny skies are expected with highs reaching the lower to upper 50s across most of the area, with the warmest temperatures near NYC. Uncertainty increases for Monday, however, as another variable in the forecast complicates the warmth potential even more, with the cutoff low pressure now modeled to split, coming into the region in two parts; instead of a single rainy day on Tuesday, occasional showers are now possible between Monday and Wednesday night, limiting the extent of the warmth. Temperatures are currently expected to reach the mid to upper 50s, locally lower 60s, during the first half of next week, but should any of these days be drier than expected with more sunshine, highs may reach the mid to possibly upper 60s in parts of the area.

With the cutoff lows moving out, by the second half of next week there are more signs supporting the warmth actually making it into the region. The warmest temperatures are expected to stay towards the central US, and it is a possibility that additional cutoff low pressures or “back door” cold fronts come through, keeping the region not as warm while the central US continues to see very warm temperatures, but should the warmth be able to reach the area, regardless of whether it’s for an extended period of time or just 1-2 days late next week, which at this time it does appear likely that at the very least a 1-2 day period of warmth, if not more than that, is possible, high temperatures may exceed 70 degrees across a larger part of the region, including the area. Stay tuned for more information on the longer range.

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