March Has Been Warm for Most, But Once Spring Officially Arrives, Many Will Trend Colder

Brian Donegan
Published: March 19, 2020

Most of the United States has enjoyed a relatively warm March, but a cold front will usher in colder temperatures late this week, making it feel more like winter than the beginning of spring.

The vernal equinox is Thursday night at 11:49 p.m. EDT, marking the official start of spring, but Mother Nature often doesn't follow a calendar.

Temperatures in the Plains, Midwest, South and East are expected to be 15 to 25 degrees above average on Thursday, and as much as 30 degrees above average in the East on Friday.

Highs in the 60s are likely as far north as Chicago and Cleveland on Thursday. By Friday, 70-degree temperatures are possible as far north as upstate New York and southern New England, with upper 70s and lower 80s from Washington, D.C., to the Carolinas.

A few record highs might be in jeopardy on Friday in the mid-Atlantic states, but there's an even higher likelihood of record-warm lows Friday from New England to the South.

The warmth will be accompanied by scattered showers and thunderstorms from an approaching cold front, so don't expect much sunshine to go along with the springlike temperatures.

(MORE: Stormy Pattern May Bring Flooding Rain, Severe Storms


Forecast Highs Late Week

Behind the cold front, temperatures will drop sharply beginning Thursday in the Rockies and Northern Plains, Friday in the rest of the Plains and upper Midwest and this weekend in the Ohio Valley, South and East.

High temperatures will be some 20 to 30 degrees colder after the passage of the cold front when compared to the peak of the warmth during the second half of this week.

That means many places in the Plains, Midwest and Northeast will have highs drop from the 60s and 70s to the 30s and 40s in just a couple of days.

(MORE: 5 Reasons March Weather Frustrates You


Forecast Highs This Weekend

The cooler temperatures may not last long, however.

The latest 6- to 10-day temperature outlook from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center shows that areas from the South to the Ohio Valley and East are favored to have above-average temperatures next week.

Parts of the West may remain cooler than average, while some areas of the Plains and upper Midwest have equal odds of being above or below average.


Long-Range Temperature Outlook

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.