Temperature turnaround for northeastern US

In just as dramatic fashion as it arrived, the polar vortex and its record-breaking cold will move away from the Northeast and pave the way for a return of above-average temperatures for early February. And, AccuWeather meteorologists believe the mild weather has a good chance of sticking around through at least the middle of the month.

By Sunday afternoon, temperatures will trend upward by close to 40 degrees in some locations. The greatest positive swings will be across northern New England.

In Boston, where two record lows were set within the span of a few hours on Friday night, temperatures will climb into the upper 40s on Sunday afternoon.

In New York City, where the thermometer bottomed out at 3 on Saturday morning, temperatures will climb to near 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of the weekend.

In early February, the average high temperature for Boston is the upper 30s, while the normal high for New York City is near the 40-degree mark.

Following a low of 15 degrees below zero early Saturday, temperatures in Burlington, Vermont, could rebound to near 40 on Sunday afternoon.

The temperature roller-coaster pattern contributed to the first month of 2023 being one of the top-three warmest Januarys on record for over a dozen cities from Maine to Kentucky.


Temperatures in New York City averaged nearly 10 degrees above normal. A temperature departure for an entire month typically ranges from 2 degrees above to 2 degrees below normal.

"New York City has never had a January where every single calendar day averaged above normal until this year," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said. "Usually, there is some mix of days with above and below average during the month."

"There is every indication that the month of February as a whole will be above average in the East," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

AccuWeather's long-range team anticipates that while there can be some ups and downs, especially during the latter part of February, temperatures along much of Interstate 95 from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City and Boston are likely to average 3 degrees above normal or greater.

"From Washington, D.C., south, it could be closer to 4 degrees above average," Pastelok said.

Despite the warm outlook for much of the month, the total dismissal of snow in the heavily-populated I-95 zone cannot be done at this time. In some cases, such as in New York City and Philadelphia, normal snowfall is greater in February compared to January.

Philadelphia averages 7.1 inches of snow in January and 8.4 inches in February. Both locations did not record snowfall of 0.1 of an inch or greater this past January but picked up a few tenths of an inch on Feb. 1. For the Big Apple, it was the latest in the season the city has gone without recording measurable snow.

During much of February, the jet stream will take an approximate west-to-east configuration, which tends to lock up the coldest air across Canada.

During this setup, the I-95 corridor in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England are likely to be on the warm side of most storms that track from the Plains to the Midwest and northern tier of the Northeast. But, there could be an exception or two.

"It is possible there is some buckling of the jet stream for a brief time around Feb. 11-12, and that may lead to a storm and possible snow event along the I-95 corridor," Pastelok said. "However, a number of complex conditions would have to develop to formulate an ideal setup."

AccuWeather's long-range team also has some insider data that suggests a potential shuffle in conditions high in the atmosphere may occur during late February. Such a change could cause the polar vortex and frigid air to once again shift southward and send temperatures tumbling across part of the U.S.

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