Hpac 1766 Weather

Spring Forecast: Winter Won't Quit in NE; Severe Weather Across Plains

Feb. 21, 2017
AccuWeather forecasters are predicting winter weather will linger into spring across much of the United States.

AccuWeather forecasters are predicting winter weather will linger into spring across much of the United States.

From coast to coast, cold air will maintain its grip across the northern tier of the country. Meanwhile, rain, thunderstorms, and severe weather will threaten to kick off farther south, leading to a volatile season for many.

Warmup May Be Delayed Across Northeast, Midwest

Spring will start off on a wet note for the I-95 corridor, including Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia.

Rain and snow will fall through mid-March in most of the Northeast, holding back temperatures.

"As far as a significant warmup goes in the Northeast, I think you have to hold off until late April and May," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Chilly air also will stretch westward into the Midwest.

"It seems like all the cold and all the snow has been really piling up across that area, and it's going to be no different going into the early spring," Pastelok said.

With a significant snowpack remaining, it is difficult to judge when the cold air will retreat.

Showers and Thunderstorms to Dominate Springtime in Southeast

Showers and thunderstorms will dominate the springtime weather pattern across the southeastern United States.

Florida may mark the only exception.

"Florida is a tricky spot, especially the central and southern part of the peninsula," Pastelok said.

Frequent thunderstorms and significant rainfall may dodge areas from Orlando, Fla., down to Miami and Fort Myers, Fla.

Explosive Severe Weather to Threaten the Plains

The Plains states may be in for an active severe-weather season, thanks in part to winter's lingering pattern.

A northern jet stream that brings cold air to the upper levels of the atmosphere may be slow to retreat, Pastelok said.

"If it's slow to move out, which is typical of a weak La Niña season, you're going to get more explosive systems, more severe weather, and that's a good possibility in the southern Plains this year," Pastelok said.

The active weather could kick off as early as March, so building owners will want to be prepared.

In the northern Plains, flooding will be of concern.

"Fast, rapid warmups cause more river flooding in the northern Plains states," Pastelok said. “We're not expecting that right now, but we do have a lot of water that's just waiting to come down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers."

Rain, Storms to Continue Across Northwest, Northern California

Wintry conditions will continue across the northwestern United States in March, with rain and snow frequenting the region.

Some of this precipitation also will reach down into northern California.

Following a winter in which Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, and Sacramento, Calif., each doubled its normal seasonal rainfall total, spring flooding cannot be ruled out.

"Getting farther south from Fresno to Bakersfield, that area still may deal with some minor drought conditions, but it's improved dramatically," Pastelok said.

Southwest to Warm Up Quickly as Dry Weather Dominates

The Southwest will be much less active than its northern counterpart.

High pressure will allow drier- and warmer-than-normal conditions to dominate from southern California to central Texas.

"It's not going to take too long to get those temperatures to bounce in the Southwest," Pastelok said.