Finally! 70 degree temperatures possible this weekend

After a long, cold winter which was characterized by below normal temperatures and above normal snowfall, even the slightest sign of spring in 2014 has felt incredibly refreshing. Temperatures this week, so far, have warmed into the 60’s with a noticeable westerly breeze. The cold, freezing nights are becoming a memory at this point as air masses modify and the source of dramatically cold air moves farther away from our area. Things look to improve even further by late this weekend, when a warm southerly flow could warm temperatures into the 70’s.

Forecast models have been jumping around  a bit with their exact handling of multiple disturbances moving through the United States during the latter half of this week into the weekend. But recent agreement on the evolution of the pattern lends confidence to the idea that warmer air is on the way by later this weekend. After a front moves near the area on Friday afternoon and slows down a bit, allowing for a period of rain later Friday into Saturday, the front will wash out and weaken by Saturday morning. And so as a storm system develops well to our west over the Central United States, warm southerly winds will usher in milder air that will ultimately bring our temperatures near or over 70 degrees by later this weekend.

NAM model forecasting high temperatures in the mid 60's throughout the area on Saturday, with cooler air near the coast.

NAM model forecasting high temperatures in the mid 60’s throughout the area on Saturday, with cooler air near the coast.

The developing forecast model agreement, at this stage, is at the very least encouraging. All models agree that temperatures will move into the mid to upper 60’s during the afternoon hours on Saturday. Despite being cooler relative to our surroundings, warmer temperatures in the mid levels (850mb in specific) underneath full sun and light southerly winds will aid in the temperature rise. The high pressure system passing near the area will move offshore eventually, so the wind direction may shift to southeast (albeit weakly) allowing for cooler air near the coasts.

By Sunday, a squeeze play develops with our area between a Western Atlantic high pressure system and a developing system to our west. Southerly winds will pick up and warm air advection will raise temperatures in the mid levels even further. And so with plenty of sun, models agree that temperatures could exceed 70 degrees in many locations. Again, coastal areas will be under a close watch for potential sea breezes. This time of year, cold ocean waters can wreak havoc on temperature forecasts there.

GFS model forecasting high temperatures in the 70's on Monday.

GFS model forecasting high temperatures in the 70’s on Monday.

The warm looks likely to continue into Monday with the cold front still back to our west over Western Pennsylvania. Models are in good agreement, even at that range, that temperatures will move into the 70’s during the day.

After what we endured this winter, it’s time to sit back and prepare for a few days of warmer and spring-like weather.