Spring fever, record warmth overspread Central, Eastern states this week

Above Average Temperatures East of the Rockies

By Quincy Vagel, The Weather Channel

Spring has sprung as a major change in the weather pattern brings a surge of warm air across the country through the coming week. The warmth is breaking records and will only continue to do so through much of this week across the central and eventually eastern United States.

This upcoming round of warmth should be even more widespread than what the country experienced around the middle of February.

Pattern Change For Second Week of March

An upper-level ridge of high pressure sets up across the East early this week, setting the stage for the prolonged spell of springlike warmth. A southwesterly flow of air around a Bermuda high will allow for warmer temperatures to spread across areas east of the Rockies.

Here is a breakdown of when and where the warmth will prevail.

Plains, Midwest, South Warmth

The warmest weather, relative to early March averages, overspread the Plains this weekend.

FORECAST: Dallas | Denver

High temperatures reached the 70s as far north as the Dakotas and the warmth was impressive enough to break several record highs on Sunday. Bismarck, North Dakota, shattered their daily record high by 9 degrees after reaching 75. Just last Saturday, Bismarck set a new North Dakota state February temperature record, reaching 73 degrees.

Just a few of the other daily record highs broken on Sunday include Valentine, Nebraska (78 degrees); Minot (73 degrees); Pierre, South Dakota (73 degrees); Billings (71 degrees); Fargo (66 degrees); Grand Forks (60 degrees).

READ MORE: North Dakota State Record Set

As high pressure advances toward the East Coast, warmer air will be pulled east into the Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Some of the most impressive warmth in the region will be felt Monday and Tuesday ahead of a storm system developing over the Plains. Additional record highs are expected on Monday, including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Forecast Into Next Week
A look at expected weather conditions and high temperatures across the central states.

The Great Lakes, which already have considerably less ice cover than this point last year, should enjoy temperatures rising into the 50s and 60s, a welcome change for some after recent snowstorms.

The warmth also spreads east from Texas into the Southeast, with widespread highs in the 70s and some 80s near the Gulf Coast and Florida. The warm conditions may also fuel strong to severe thunderstorms with heavy rain early in the coming week over parts of the Plains and Mississippi Valley.

FORECAST: Chicago | Atlanta | Orlando

A weak cold front gradually makes its way across the central states by the middle of the week, after which temperatures warm right back up from the Plains and Rockies to the Upper Midwest.

Eastern States Warm Up Too

A return of the Bermuda high, an area of high pressure in the western Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda, will bring a surge of warm air up much of the East Coast this week.

By Tuesday, temperatures are expected to rise into the 60s and 70s across the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic region. Even the Hudson Valley and parts of southern New England will make a run at the 60-degree mark.

Highs Compared to Average Wednesday
Forecast temperatures compared to average across the eastern half of the country.

Really impressive warmth is forecast for Wednesday, as 60s and 70s overspread most of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, sending temperatures up to 30 degrees above average in some locations. Some as far north as southern New England may make a run at 70 degrees, and daily record highs may be threatened in Portland, Maine (55 degrees), New York City (69 degrees) and Philadelphia (73 degrees).

This also means temperatures at night largely stay above freezing at night, melting away any snow cover that remains across the region.

FORECAST: Albany, New York | Hartford | Boston

Eastern Forecast Next Week
A look at expected weather conditions and high temperatures across the East.

With high pressure likely to stall off the Southeast coast, the warmth may linger into Thursday and Friday across parts of the East Coast. There are uncertainties, including "backdoor" cold fronts that may cause temperatures to quickly cool across New England.

To be fair, as often is the case in March, this warm-up won't necessarily be "cloud-free".

Periods of rain, locally heavy in some areas, or simply days with either cloudy skies can be expected in most of these areas.

MAPS: 7-Day Rain/Snow Areas | National Highs/Lows

Then again, if you're truly sick of winter, a cloudy, rainy day in the 60s might feel downright tropical to you.

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