ACCUWEATHER: More like May than March: Heat to break records in South, East

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

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By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

As winter hangs on across the northern tier of the Midwest and Northeast and reestablishes its grip in the West, a pattern change will allow April and May-like warmth to build in the balance of the Central and Eastern states with some locations set to experience their highest temperatures since last autumn.

“A northward bulge in the jet stream and high pressure at the surface will expand together from the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico later this week and into this weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said, and added that,” the building warmth will be very impressive, even for March.”

“The warmth will be more than welcomed and follows a major ice and snowstorm from northern Texas and Arkansas to Ohio less than a week ago,” Lundberg said. Temperatures plunged into the teens, 20s and 30s during the outbreak of winter weather.

Even as mild and cold air swing back and forth across Chicago this week, a surge of warmth could push temperatures to near 60 Saturday. And even if temperatures peak in the upper 50s in the Windy City, it would be the warmest day since Dec. 15 and 16 when the high reached 66 on both days.

Farther east, temperatures are forecast to climb into the lower 80s from Mississippi and Alabama to the Carolinas by Sunday afternoon. A record high of 80 is projected in Atlanta on Sunday with the old record of 79, set way back in 1974, in jeopardy. Atlanta’s average high temperature this time of year is 62; a reading of 80 would be more common in mid-May.

To the south in Albany, Georgia, the 90-degree mark may be reached on Monday, breaking the record of 87 set way back in 1918. Last March, Albany didn’t reach 90 degrees until March 26.

Just like in part of the Upper Midwest, cold air may linger over the northern tier of the Northeast this weekend — and a wintry mix may even occur in some locations. However, warmth will reach from the Ohio Valley to portions of the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic regions.

Temperatures may flirt with 70 in CincinnatiPittsburgh and Philadelphia this weekend. Record highs in the mid-70s may be out of reach in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but the daily record high of 71 set way back in 1935 in Philadelphia Sunday could be challenged, as well as the record high of 74 for Monday.

Highs in the 70s will be common across Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland Sunday. At this level, temperatures will be 20-30 degrees above average for early March.

New York City‘s best shot at the 70-degree mark will be Monday, just ahead of a push of more seasonable air.

The warmth will get chopped down from west to east across much of the Central and Eastern states later this weekend into early next week, but it may take until Monday or Tuesday before cooler air is felt in the mid-Atlantic and interior South. Warmth may fight on over the southeastern corner of the nation next week and could become a battle zone for rounds of rain and thunderstorms.


Just ahead of the cool push, rounds of thunderstorms, some of which are likely to be severe, will erupt over portions of the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys this weekend.