Spring temperature swing to freeze, then thaw the Northeast

The chill that descended upon the northeastern United States this past weekend will be reinforced early this week, but relief is on the horizon.

Temperatures plummeted from the 50s to the 30s and 20s across the Midwest and Northeast late on Wednesday afternoon, startling residents who had been enjoying the pleasant spring day. It has been windy and chilly since then, with some respite expected for Sunday before another chilly blast descends upon the region.

"We are back to a below-normal round of temperatures for much of this week as another Arctic air mass slowly builds across the Northeast," AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samhuel said.

early week 3/23

Despite an average high temperature of around 50, temperatures will struggle to reach into the mid-40s on Monday and Tuesday. According to Samhuel, these days will be the coldest of the week.

Along with clouds and some wet weather across the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and southern New England, it will feel especially raw in these areas on Monday.

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Metra trains go in and out of the Western Avenue Station in subzero temperatures on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 in Chicago. This is the busiest station with over 300 trains passing through here on weekdays. The tracks are heated with gas-fired switch heaters that help prevent switching problems in extreme weather. Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said, 'They are like giant gas grills.' (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
A pedestrian stops to take a photo by Chicago River, as bitter cold phenomenon called the polar vortex has descended on much of the central and eastern United States, in Chicago, Illinois.
The city skyline is seen from the North Avenue Beach at Lake Michigan, as bitter cold phenomenon called the polar vortex has descended on much of the central and eastern United States, in Chicago, Illinois.
Workers help clear the parking lot at Monocacy commuter rail and bus station January 29, 2019 in Frederick, Maryland.
Commuters wait for the bus on South Pinckney Street in downtown Madison, Wis. as extreme temperatures hit the region.
Commuters drive into downtown Madison, Wis. on East Washington Ave. as extreme temperatures hit the region. 
A man and woman brave the elements during a polar vortex on as they prepare to cross the corner of Main Street and Salem Avenue in Carbondale, Pa.

Farther north, sunshine and light winds can make it feel a bit more like a more pleasant spring day despite high temperatures in the 30s and low 40s. Temperatures will plummet once the sun sets, so anybody working outdoors, playing sports or otherwise spending time outside should prepare for a sharp temperature drop around 7:15 p.m.

For most, temperatures are forecast to fall into the teens and low 20s by early Tuesday morning, even as far south as Pittsburgh, Columbus and Louisville.

For anyone heading to work, school or out for a workout that morning it will feel more like midwinter.

In contrast to Monday, Tuesday will start out cold but also sunny and calm across the mid-Atlantic. Despite temperatures up to 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit below average, it can feel like a more normal spring day in the sunshine with RealFeel® Temperatures closer to 50.

"This air mass is modified and we are heading into the end of March, so it's not quite as cold as previous air masses," Samhuel said.

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According to Samhuel, warm-weather lovers will need to hold out until the middle of the week, when a surge of milder air is expected to creep up the East Coast.

High temperatures on Wednesday will be 10 to 15 degrees higher than on Tuesday, with another 5-degree jump expected on Thursday and again on Friday.

By the end of the week, temperatures will be in the upper 50s and 60s throughout the Midwest and Northeast. Despite increasing clouds on Friday and a stormy weekend outlook, this will likely mark the beginning of more permanent springlike temperatures.

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