Bloomberg News

Cold Returns Briefly Before Warm Weather Takes Hold Next Week

March 09, 2012

A quick chill will return to the eastern U.S. late today and tomorrow before temperatures rise next week, possibly reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) along the mid-Atlantic coast, forecasters said.

Low temperatures overnight are expected to hit 32 degrees in New York City, 30 in Washington and Philadelphia, 27 in Chicago and 28 in Boston, where some snow may fall without sticking, according to the National Weather Service.

Even with the cold, average temperatures will be slightly above normal for this time of year in New York, said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

“It was more of a case of temperatures being so far above normal yesterday and a cold front simply returning us to reality for this time of year,” Picca said by telephone.

Yesterday’s high in New York was 71, compared with a normal of 47, Picca said. Boston’s high of 68 degrees broke a record for the date of 67 set in 1995, the weather service said.

By next week, temperatures will be approaching 70 to 75 in New York, said Rob Carolan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire.

“Welcome to March,” Carolan said.

Carolan said the milder-than-normal weather is in part due to a lack of snow cover across the U.S. If there had been snow, most of the sun’s energy would go into melting it and warming the ground, he said. This year, the sun is warming the air instead.

Warm Weather Dominates

While there will be pockets of cool air coming into the U.S. from Canada, forecasters predict warmer weather will dominate through mid-month.

Average temperatures from the upper Great Plains to New England and throughout the South may be at least 15 degrees above normal from March 14 to March 23, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Many cities should see frequent 70s with 80s in the South and occasionally up to the lower Midwest and mid-Atlantic areas,” Rogers said in a note to clients.

Parts of Indiana and Ohio may be 18 degrees above normal for this time of year, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.

As a result, the eastern U.S. may need 30 to 60 percent less energy to heat homes and businesses, he said.

Cooler in West

While the eastern U.S. warms, the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains will probably be cooler than normal or close to seasonal, said MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

California may be 5 to 7 degrees below normal from March 19 to March 23, according to MDA.

Carolan said the temperature shifts from warm to cool can cause problems for farmers because plants start to develop earlier than they should. The shifts also create conditions for severe weather such as last week’s tornado outbreak.

In New York, the normal average temperature on March 17 is about 43 degrees, according to MDA. It’s 39 in Boston, 39 in Chicago, 55 in Atlanta, 63 in Houston, 47 in Seattle and 59 in Burbank, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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