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Colder than average temperatures
likely dominate through mid-April
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Long Range Outlook

Important information:

  • Weather Weeklies video, found at http://epawaweather.com/weather-weeklies/ will continue every Sunday throughout the Winter season.
  • Ongoing discussions and comprehensive model analysis ahead of any storm threat is conducted exclusively in the EPAWA Premium Forum, and not publicly until a threat is imminent. To become part of the advanced discussion, and to get long range updates on Mondays and Wednesdays in addition to this Friday public update, visit http://epawaweather.com/my-pocket-meteorologist/ and select “Premium Weather Forum”.
  • The EPAWA app is available and is completely FREE and does not require a download from the app store. This is a progressive web app that replaced the old app in December. From a mobile device, simply open your browser and go to https://m.epawaweather.com/ and be sure to accept notifications and allow the app to detect your location for full functionality of the app. You then have the ability to save the PWA to your home screen, and it will work similar to a native app.
Screenshot (1)
3/17-3/19TemperatureNear averageVery high
3/20TemperatureSlightly below averageHigh
3/21TemperatureBelow averageHigh
3/22-3/24TemperatureSlightly below averageHigh
3/25-3/28TemperatureNear to slightly above averageModerately high
3/29-3/31TemperatureSlightly below averageModerate
4/1-4/8TemperatureSlightly below averageModerate
4/9-4/15TemperatureNear averageModerately low
3/20-3/21Nor’easter #4We will continue to watch this system closely, as most models suggest a prolonged event that covers 30+ hours with heavy snow in the interior, and rain/mix to heavy snow in between, and rain to the far south; uncertain is the storm evolution, the breakdown of precipitation types at this range at any given location, and upside potential for accumulating snowModerately high
3/25-3/26RainAn area of low pressure and its associated cold front move through late next weekend, bringing rain to the region at a time where temperatures are expected to be milderModerate
March as a wholeTemperatureSlightly below average (-1.0°F to -2.0°F)High
March as a wholePrecipitationSlightly above average (+0.5" to +1.5")Moderately high
March as a wholeSnowfallAbove averageVery high
April as a wholeTemperatureNear to slightly above average (+0.0°F to +1.0°F)Moderate
April as a wholePrecipitationNear average (-0.5" to +0.5")Moderate
April as a wholeSnowfallNear averageModerate

Outlook table last updated: Friday March 16th, 11:30am.  Next scheduled update: Friday March 23rd.

This is a weekly updated public long range guidance product from EPAWA. For daily long range updates and more detailed updates M-F, please join the EPAWA forum. More information/sign-up at: http://epawaweather.com/my-pocket-meteorologist/ 

*Indications of above or below average temperatures in the table above are relative to what is considered “normal” using data collected over the long term for a particular date. This is collected and maintained by the National Climatic Data Center in conjunction with the National Weather Service actual data from previous years collected at official ASOS/climatology stations across our coverage area. Also note that as time moves forward into a different period as shown above, average temperatures for those dates will also change. See the example below using Philadelphia, PA as the climo station:

DateAverage Hi/LoEPAWA projection
March 17th53°F/35°FNear average
March 24th56°F/37°FNear to slightly above average
March 31st58°F/39°FSlightly below average
April 7th61°F/41°FSlightly below average

The departure from normal uses the average temperature for the date, averaging temps over 24 hours for any given location, using both high and low temperatures hourly during any particular day. This outlook determines warm vs. cool periods relative to normal temperatures.

Long range analysis: Technical discussion is below for advanced readers:

Technical discussion below will feature two (2) subcategories: Precipitation, and Pattern Discussion. Storm possibilities will be discussed exclusively in the Premium Forum with intense model analysis leading up to any major rain or severe events, not publicly. To join this discussion and hear our updated thoughts from our team, visit The My Pocket Meteorologist Page by clicking HERE and select the “Premium Weather Forum” option.

Precipitation Discussion:


We have one more Wintry threat to watch closely Tuesday and Wednesday, and came as a bit of a surprise after seeing 3 nor’easters already this month, and after we declared the March 12th/13th system would likely be the last one. But hey… things change, and we roll with the punches…

Could this be the 4th? We think so, and this one has the potential to bring more coverage of snow to a larger part of our coverage area than the previous few, although the March 7th storm was quite impactful in terms of heavy snowfall for parts of SE PA and NJ away from the coast. The upper air pattern continues to mimic a March 1958 look, and the projected 500mb heights projection for this storm potential next week is eerily similar to the upper air pattern between March 18-21, 1958 that brought a historic storm to this region. Are we ready to go there? Not yet… but the potential exists for something significant or major with this one next week. A wide range of possibilities still exist with this storm potential, including a system that is flat/progressive and remains largely south of the region. There is the 1958-like upside potential to this as well… but the most probable solution at this point in time is something in between. Not as impactful as the late March 1958 storm, but impactful enough that some areas will see a major snowfall out of this system – for now favoring interior locations just playing the odds, but that too is uncertain at this time. This system will be handled in short range forecasts, so continue following along over the weekend and especially early next week.

The 2nd system is likely coming at a time that coincides with a projected milder period, and looking at it at arm’s length, we see this as a rain event around the 25th-26th. The associated cold front that moves through with this system will have slightly below average temperatures behind it again, that will be reinforced several times thereafter in late March and early April. This means slow start to Spring this year (see pattern discussion below). This also means that we can’t completely eliminate the early Spring thread-the-needle snow possibilities, especially for the far interior and mountainous regions. Overall, the best chance for heavier and more widespread snow lies with the system next week.

Overall, the active precipitation pattern will continue through the end of the month, and then projected to be near average in the month of April.

Breakdown of precipitation departures from normal over the next several weeks:

March 17th-March 23rd: Above average, wintry/snow event possible around the 20th/21st

March 24th-March 30th: Slightly above average, wintry/snow events possible, but not considered likely

March 31st-April 6th: Near average, wintry/snow events possible, but not considered likely

April 7th-April 13th: Near average, wintry/snow events not likely

Public/free available maps will be updated when a threat is imminent for significant weather or snowfall on the weather alerts page throughout the Winter:  http://epawaweather.com/weather-alerts/


Note:  Any image in the outlook is clickable for larger viewing

The GFS upper air pattern (projected) around the time of our storm potential March 20th/21st is very similar to that of the March 18-21, 1958 upper air pattern that also produced a late-season heavy snowfall


Compare the prior GFS image to the upper air pattern (actual) between March 18-21, 1958 that produced a slow-moving heavy late-season snowfall to the region, and a historical/NESIS category 2 storm with high impact.


Pattern Discussion:


The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO): Currently in the circle of death (COD) with the MJO not running the pattern. Projections are for the MJO to remain in the circle of death through the foreseeable future, which should eventually lead to a more seasonable outlook to temperatures past the first week of April when seasonal climatology takes over. This process involves wider wavelengths and a more zonal W-E pattern and a retreat of the PV back to the Arctic regions.

Recent colder spells and the three strong storms thus far in early March were both a result of using past analogs to our advantage. Early March took on a March-1962 look, followed by a mid-March 1958 pattern ever since. It was recognition of this pattern from several weeks ago that aided our projections. The upper air pattern will still be favorable for a storm that could produce in the March 20th/21st time frame as the -NAO continues to rise toward neutral. Some of the best storms historically have occurred as the -NAO has risen toward neutral after spending an extended period in the far negative. Projections are for the NAO to reach neutral and then turn positive beyond next week’s storm threat, which will invite milder risks to start showing occasionally. Right now one of these milder periods we project will be between the 25th-28th of the month.

Spring’s arrival will likely be delayed, but climatology will eventually take over with the PV retreating to the Arctic Circle, less pronounced wavelengths of the jet, and a more zonal pattern more typical of seasonal transition. It will come, just not in the next 2-3 weeks most likely aside from transient milder periods.

March projections are for slightly below average temperatures (-1.0°F to -2.0°F) for the month as a whole. This is largely due to the expected below average temperatures over the next few weeks, but it is good to remember that “below average” is relative to the time of year. Average temperatures continue to increase with time, and by the end of March, all areas see average highs in the 50s. Early look at April would suggest a colder than average start, followed by moderation in the 2nd half of the month, and enough of a moderation to allow for near to slightly above average temperatures when the dust settles at the end of April.

Note:  Any image in the outlook is clickable for larger viewing

Ensembles show that after our Tuesday/Wednesday storm exits, a few days after that we will see a transient milder period that arrives around the 25th and near to slightly above average temperatures are possible.


Ensembles also show a return to slightly below average temperatures to close out the month, with the PV setting up over Hudson Bay. The Euro weeklies suggest this hangs tough through the first week of April.


Next 3 weeks of US temperature departures

Images below are clickable for better viewing

1-5 day temp departures – confidence: VERY HIGH


6-10 day temp departures – confidence: HIGH


11-15 day temp departures – confidence: MOD. HIGH


16-20 day temp departures – confidence: MODERATE


Current U.S. Snow Cover

Below is a look at the latest snow cover propagation across Canada and the Contiguous United States.

This image will automatically update daily.

My Pocket Meteorologist

The My Pocket Meteorologist text alert program is a year-round program, and seasonal options for Spring/Summer will be available soon. Click on the image below for more information.


Forecaster: EPAWA Meteorologist Bobby Martrich
Discussion last updated:  Friday March 16th, 11:30am