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No fooling: Wintry blast to strike Northeast to start April
By Jake Sojda, AccuWeather meteorologist
Record-breaking warmth will soon be replaced by a potent storm system as temperatures plummet across the region.
After near-summerlike warmth in much of the Northeast just days ago, it may seem like a cruel April Fools’ Day prank as a wintry blast is set to push into the region. Well below-normal temperatures, biting winds and even the potential for some accumulating snow will mark the start of the new month.
The Philadelphia International Airport reached 81 degrees at 2 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 26, according to the National Weather Service. Philadelphia does not usually hit 80 degrees until the first week of June. AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said the final high for the day ended up being 82 degrees in the city, beating the previous record high for March 26, dating back to 1921, which was 80 degrees.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, also shattered its March 26 record that was previously set in 2003 at 71 degrees, when the temperature climbed to 83 degrees on Friday.
In addition, Richmond, Virginia, hit the milestone of surpassing 80 degrees for the first time this year. Not only did temperatures surpass 80 degrees for the first time since last October, but the temperature kept climbing until it reached 86 degrees. This high beat the previous record set in 1939 of 85 degrees.
This will all seem like a distant memory as temperatures take a tumble for the second half of the week.
“A potent storm system tracking through the Canadian Prairies will tap into some of the last remaining Arctic air and send it plunging into the eastern half of the U.S. later this week,” explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Courtney Travis.
Temperatures will soar 10-20 degrees above normal on Tuesday and Wednesday, but a dramatic downturn in temperatures will occur on Thursday. Highs will plummet 10-20 degrees below normal for the start of April across the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Northeast.
However, the cold won’t be the only wintry aspect in the Northeast late in the week. Along the leading edge of the cold blast, another storm system will begin to shape and move northward as well, tracking from the southern Appalachians to the New England coast and into Atlantic Canada.
“Rain will track from the Ohio and Tennessee Valley Tuesday night, into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday into Wednesday night. This will kick start the cold shot moving in across the region,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
For interior portions of the Northeast, a mix or change to snow is likely as the cold catches up. This could allow for some locations in upstate New York through New England to see several inches of wet snow by Thursday morning.
“The best chances right now for any accumulating snow at this time appears to be mainly on non-paved surfaces and in the higher terrain in the Appalachians of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, through much of upstate New York and parts of northern New England,” Roys said.
“However, flakes can still fall in the lower elevations of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, upstate New York and western New England Wednesday night and early Thursday morning as well.”
Blustery winds accompanied by rain and snow squalls will continue to pester the Northeast through Thursday as well. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph combined with low temperatures can bring AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures into the 10s and 20s through the day Thursday in interior sections of the Northeast. Even areas close to coast will spend much of the end of the week feeling more like temperatures are in the 20s and 30s.
“The stronger April sun should help keep roads mainly wet during the day Thursday, but any heavier snow Wednesday night into early Thursday morning could create some slushy and icy spots,” Roys warned. “Heavier snow squalls could still rapidly reduce visibility to near-zero through the day Thursday as well, creating some travel hazards even if roads stay wet.”
Heavier showers could also contain graupel, which is also called “soft hail” or “snow pellets.”https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=ADL3626462419
“The stronger April sun heating the ground, combined with the pocket of very cold air coming to the Northeast is ideal for the formation of graupel in early spring,” explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller.
The blustery, wintry weather comes just in time for one of the unofficial signs that spring has arrived, the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. All 30 teams will be starting the 2021 season on Thursday. New York City, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., are all set to host opening day games.
Both players and the limited number of fans being permitted at some stadiums will have to bundle up.
While the core of the cold will be short-lived, with temperatures heading closer to, but still a little below normal for Easter weekend, forecasters say it could be a while until warmth like the Northeast has been enjoying returns.
“It will still be chilly by Sunday and Monday for any Easter and Dyngus Day activities across the Great Lakes and Northeast,” Roys said. “It may take until the second week of April before more Spring warmth returns.”