Rain, Snow and the Battle Between Warm and Cold

I just wanted to give everyone a fairly brief update on what to expect the rest of this month. When you go back and look at this month so far, the overall temperatures haven’t been too bad. My focus this entire time has been on the last third of this month, so I didn’t give as much attention to the first two-thirds. We’ve definitely had some weather to talk about but nothing that isn’t typical during the transition from winter to spring.

The last 7 days have brought above average temperatures for a large area of United States:

March warmth

Rain, Snow and More Cold:

The end of this month going into very early April still looks very interesting to me, although the cooler temperatures could be delayed for parts of the Southeast. Currently moisture is pumping northward along the East Coast, and there will be enough cold air in place to support snow/mix depending on the location. Places from northern Virginia and northeastward will get snow out of this before the low pressure system moves off the coast. There has been some cold air damming down the east side of the mountains, which kept things quite cool today for even parts of the Southeast.

By late weekend going into early next week, cold air is going to rush in and bring even colder temperatures to the Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic. It looks like another surface high pressure system will be moving into the Northeast, so this will pull down cooler air all along the East Coast and into parts of the Southeast.

While all of this is going on, an upper-level feature is going to begin moving in from Baja California and eventually move into Texas causing surface low pressure to develop and move into the Southeast from this weekend into early next week. The pattern remains very active, and plenty of moisture is going to get pulled in from the Gulf of Mexico. So you can expect rain (even heavy in some locations) from Texas across the Gulf Coast states and Southeast. This event could bring several inches of rain to many of these locations.

The Weather Prediction Center’s Day 1-3 Rainfall Forecast (in inches):

Rainfall Map

An Interesting End To The Month:

The end of this month still looks quite interesting to me, and it could bring a surge (or two) of cold air to end the month going into early April. I’m confident that the Northeast will get the core of the coldest air; however, it remains questionable as to how far south this trough will dig. When we’re making the transition from winter to spring, it’s usually difficult to accurately predict the overall pattern beyond a few days. I do believe that the focus of the cold will be in the eastern third of the nation.

The Climate Prediction Center’s Temperature Anomaly Forecast from Late March into Early April:

temperature forecast

The overall pattern is going to remain active across parts of the South and up towards the North. Several storms systems will likely move across the northern U.S. through the Northeast, giving many of those regions additional snowfall. The southern U.S. will have several shots at getting some precipitation also. The northern and the sub-tropical jet stream are both expected to remain very active.

Forecast model guidance has been hinting at a late-season winter event that could try to move across the U.S. and eventually exit off of the East Coast very late March into April. I would say that it’s very possible for some locations to get some wintry weather out of this, but it needs to be watched several more days before any detailed predictions need to be made. If we were in the middle of winter, I’d be jumping all over this, but like I said the other day, I tend to be more conservative in my long-range forecasts during these transitional periods simply because those forecasts can easily bust.

Remember, it’s late March so below average temperatures are not the same as what they would be in January or February. Most likely, most regions will experience swings in temperatures with a possible late season Arctic plunge or two. The only exception to that will be over parts of the Northeast, where more prolonged cold will probably occur.

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