Temperatures were more typical of March across the Northeast to start the week, but AccuWeather forecasters say the unusual chill is expected to ease up by later this week and this weekend. And, there is more good news for those that love spring warmth, as the warmup may not be as fleeting as previous surges of warmth.
"Brisk conditions overtook much of the Northeast and Great Lakes just in time for Mother's Day weekend, with snow falling and creating a wintry landscape in some areas," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
Slushy snow fell across parts of Pennsylvania on Mother's Day, and where it wasn't snowing, it was raining across much of the Northeast, and heavily in some places. Brunswick, Ohio, about 27 miles southwest of Cleveland, racked up over 3.5 inches of precipitation on Sunday.
Saturday was the coolest day for New York City and Boston, when temperatures failed to rise above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is nearly 15 F below normal. Philadelphia dove to 57 F on Mother's Day, while it normally sits in the lower 70s in early May.
Several freeze warnings and frost advisories were in effect across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont early Tuesday morning, as officials warned that "frost could kill sensitive outdoor vegetation if left uncovered." Temperatures dropped into the 30s in places.
This chilly period has left many Northeasterners wondering where the familiar May warmth has gone. Fortunately, for gardeners and warm weather enthusiasts alike, warm air will be spreading across the region this week.
Temperatures at the beginning of this week were running almost 10 degrees below normal in major cities of the Northeast, but will gradually climb to near and maybe slightly above-normal levels by the weekend. Normal high temperatures on Saturday range from 66 F in Boston to 71 F in New York City, 74 F in Philadelphia, and 71 F in Pittsburgh.
With high pressure remaining across the Great Lakes this week, the cool, northerly flow will continue to keep temperatures capped across the eastern United States through the middle of the week, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz.
"There remains a threat for a frost or even freeze across the Great Lakes, parts of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians," said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Randy Adkins, more cold-tolerant plants like kale, spinach or peas may be able to tolerate the cool spell.
Forecasters warn that chilly air can even stick around through Thursday morning, but a return to normal is coming. Temperatures will climb in earnest into the weekend as the area of high pressure shifts east and begins ushering in a milder flow of air, according to Benz.
Highs across the Northeast will gradually climb into the 70s by later this week or early this weekend in major cities like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where temperatures have been below normal since last Thursday.
"That translates to near-average temperatures for mid-May by this weekend for most people and it will feel a whole lot warmer compared to where we started off this week," said Benz.
This weather will be a far cry from the 40s and 50s F with rain many parts of the region experienced on Mother's Day. The risk for frost will also dissipate as nighttime temperatures rise back to normal and even above normal in some areas.
"This warming trend will especially be the case this weekend as high pressure shifts over the western Atlantic allowing southerly winds to return across much of the eastern U.S.," Benz said.
Temperatures in Boston are expected to peak around 70 F on Friday, then fall back to just above normal due in part to cooler air from over the ocean. New York City's temperatures are anticipated to be highest over the weekend when they settle around 70, the antithesis of last week's chilling Mother's Day.
After gradually increasing late this week into early next week, temperatures will remain relatively high and rise even higher in places during the third week of May, according to Pastelok.
Another significant warmup could occur from the central to northeastern U.S. between May 17 and May 22, according to the Climate Prediction Center. States from Nebraska down to Oklahoma, all the way to New York and Virginia have the greatest chance at experiencing above-normal temperatures in that time frame.
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