A big cold blast is possible next week

Firsthand Weather is monitoring the potential for a big cold blast late next week into next weekend for areas east of the Rockies. While the March temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center suggests a good chance for temperatures above average for the month, that doesn’t mean cold snaps along with wintry precipitation cannot happen in areas that are forecast to be above average for the month and that’s this case with this possible cold blast.

March temperature outlook from the CPC

The first week and a half will be above average for eastern parts of the country but that looks like it may abruptly end late next week into the following weekend. Models are suggesting an Arctic air mass will move out of Canada into the northern U.S. Rockies late Wednesday (March 9) into early Thursday (March 10). This cold air mass will race southeast into central and eastern parts of the country from Friday (March 11) through Saturday (March 12). This cold air mass looks to impact most areas east of the Rockies including the Deep South & Southeast.

American model 850 mb temperature departure from average (Sunday, March 13)

European model 850 mb temperature departure from average (Sunday, March 13)

This is a good reminder to not plant those gardens just yet despite the warm temperatures over the next several days. There are questions about the specifics of this cold air intrusion but there’s growing confidence in this possibility and the potential for a freeze for many areas east of the Rockies and north of I-`10. While it’s too early to determine how long the cold will stick around, it does appear it will be a fairly quick-hitting cold air mass with most areas only staying cold for 48-72 hours.

It’s too early to determine if wintry precipitation will accompany this cold air mass but this will be ironed out over the coming days.