As the end of winter approaches, the central and eastern areas of the U.S. will be met with a surge of frigid Arctic air. Even South Texas will feel the effects of this cold air mass, leaving no hint that spring is on its way. Here are the details on this dramatic transformation of the weather.
The winter season in the nation's heartland and East Coast has been relatively mild. Nevertheless, this mild weather doesn't necessarily imply an early start to spring.
This cold-air outbreak is predicted to influence a lot of the country's major cities. For instance, New York City is expected to have low temperatures this weekend that may reach the freezing level, and its highest day temperatures on Sunday are likely to be around 40 degrees.
Saturday will be a cold one in Chicago, with temperatures struggling to climb above freezing and lows dipping into the teens. This is a stark contrast to the usual high of approximately 48 degrees and the standard low of 32 degrees.
In the Great Lakes, gusts of 40-60 mph will cause a real feel that is 20 degrees lower than what the thermometer reads. This will make the already chilly temperatures seem even colder.
The unseasonably warm winter has caused a drastic decrease in ice coverage across the Great Lakes. Normally, the lakes would have up to 40% ice coverage on the official start of spring, however, current reports show that the lakes now have less than 10% ice coverage. This could lead to lake effect snow.
The absence of ice makes it more probable that the lake effect snow machine will start up as cold air arrives from Canada. Additionally, this weather pattern increases the possibility of potentially dangerous snow squalls, especially for motorists, where the snow can come on quickly and with a lot of intensity.
Areas of Michigan through New York are likely to experience the most extreme snowfall on Saturday. Interstates 69, 75, 94, 96, 81, 86, 90, and 196 could be affected by heavy snow squalls, so it's important to stay aware of the potential danger while travelling.
Temperatures will dip drastically in the southern states, including Atlanta and Houston, with Houston expecting temperatures to hover around the 50s this weekend, which is far lower than the usual lows at this time of year.
Atlanta will experience near-freezing temperatures over the weekend, while many parts of the central, southern, and northeastern United States face a hard freeze.
The Big Bend portion of Texas could see snowfall in the days ahead, with temperatures in southern New Mexico and across the South of Texas predicted to be 25-50 degrees lower than the normal mid-March temperatures. Overnight temperatures are likely to drop into the high 30s, potentially even setting a few new daily records.
Dallas is expected to experience an unseasonably cold weekend, with temperatures dropping into the 30s after sundown and the daytime high on Sunday potentially failing to reach 50 degrees.
At the beginning of the week, it can be expected that the temperature will start to rise again. Regions that experienced the extreme chill may even observe readings that are higher than average by the end of the week.
The Upper Midwest and New England may be less likely to warm up quickly due to the existing snow limiting the temperatures from progressing upwards.
According to the long-term forecast, the Southeast and the southern Plains will be more inclined to stormy weather in the coming weeks. This is because of the moist and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico that will keep impacting the weather in this area. This will be a contrast to the Northeast, which is expected to encounter cold temperatures until April and May.
With the rising temperatures, experts are cautioning that the north-central U.S., New England, and Southern California could face greater flooding as the thick snowpack starts to thaw.