Arctic air which surged through the Great lakes and Northeast late last week briefly generating double-digit below average temperature anomalies is considered likely to be the final winter-like cold airmass to reach the Eastern U.S. until next fall or winter. Progressive (fast) flow already scoured the transient arctic airmass out of the East late this present weekend, while record warmth continues to expand across more of the Plains and Midwest at 25°-35° above average intensity. Unseasonably warm central U.S. temperatures more typical of May than February are on the way eastward to peak near 70° as far north as Chicago and in the 60s across most of the Northeast during the 1st half of this week. Meanwhile air conditioners already running due to mid-upper 80° heat underway across the south central U.S. centered on Texas will be needed into Tuesday as temperatures peak in mid 90s ahead of a strong cold front ejecting out of the West Tuesday night. This colder air will be most intense across the northwest quadrant of the U.S. before progressively moderating as it spreads east of the Rockies, producing only seasonal to slightly below average temperatures at best across the Midwest Wednesday and the Northeast Thursday. More importantly all models agree below average or seasonal temperatures in any one region of the U.S. this week will remain brief (1-2 days), before quickly reversing back to well above average levels for several consecutive days ahead of a weaker cold airmass poised to progressively shift from coast to coast next week (Mar 3-9). Longer range forecasts of the 30-day MWA ensemble indicate the 2nd half of March will not be as anomalously warm as the unseasonably warm start to spring across the eastern half of the U.S. However mainly precipitation-induced cooling devoid of arctic air favors the Southeast for coldest temperatures in late March (slightly –moderately below average), while most of the U.S. remains seasonably warm typical of El Niño.
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