Northeast to ride temperature roller coaster after painful cold

Courtney Spamer

Following weather more typical of the inside of your freezer to end this week, temperatures are forecast to rebound to above average levels in the days leading up to and just after Christmas.

Temperatures plummeted following dangerous snow squalls across portions of the Northeast on Wednesday, leaving much of the region shivering and some places registering lows in the teens and single digits Fahrenheit and dangerous AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures.

"AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures dove down well-below zero in places like Burlington, Vermont, Boston and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday night into Thursday morning," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

While the Arctic air lingered in the region on Friday, milder weather is on the way starting this weekend.

A northward shift in the jet stream will allow a pool of warmer air to push north into the center of the country this weekend.

During this time, temperatures will trend upward across the Northeast. By Sunday, highs in the lower to middle 40s can be expected from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to Syracuse, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island.

"The core of the mild air will not arrive in the Northeast until early next week," added Anderson.

Afternoon temperatures will reach the lower 50s by Monday in cities like Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, as much as 10 degrees above normal for late-December.

In combination with the milder air, dry conditions will promote sunshine and even higher AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures.

The sunny and mild weather will also play a role in the prospects of a white Christmas in the Northeast. Lesser snow piles already on the ground will be melting in the days leading up to Christmas, meaning fresh snow will be needed to increase the chances for white-Christmas hopefuls.

"Unfortunately, kids of all ages should not get their hopes up for a fresh snowfall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"While there's enough snow on the ground from northern Pennsylvania to northern Maine to last through the upcoming thaw with the low sun angle and long nights this time of the year, most areas that have a few inches of snow or less on the ground will lose that snow by Christmas morning," he added.

The timing of a push of chilly air is expected to bring temperatures back to near normal late next week, but fluctuating temperatures are likely prior to the start of 2020 and into early January.

Temperatures during late December typically range from the middle 20s over the northern tier to the upper 40s in the Chesapeake Bay region.

"This far out, it's a toss-up as to whether or not painful Arctic air blasts in by New Year's eve for revelers or holds off a while longer," Sosnowski said.

The speed and track of a storm toward the end of the year is likely to determine whether it's mild or much colder again by the first holiday of 2020.

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