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Easter weekend snow to precede potential nor'easter

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 4/14/2022 Alex Sosnowski

It's been nearly a month since the first day of spring, but don't tell that to Old Man Winter. AccuWeather meteorologists say there will be multiple opportunities for snow to fall and even accumulate in parts of the Northeast through the middle of next week.

Spring is often a tug-of-war between winter and summer, but many might think snow is usually a thing of the past by the middle of April in much of the Northeast. However, that is often not the case as evidenced by the upcoming weather pattern, which will follow several days of warm weather that brought the return of 70-degree temperatures for some.

Snowflakes are typically seen across the Appalachians in most Aprils, and there usually tends to be at least a small accumulation of snow every two to three years in the central and southern portions of the mountain chain, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek. Dombek added that snow can fall and accumulate multiple times during the fourth month of the year in interior locations such as northern New York and northern New England.

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"Even as far to the south as the North Carolina mountains, it tends to flake every April at some point and probably snows an inch or two every few years," AccuWeather Lead Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.

Even though the sun tends to warm the ground substantially during the spring, it is actually easier for snow to fall in the spring, rather than during the autumn. This is because the upper levels of the atmosphere tend to remain cold in the spring and struggle to get cold in the fall.

The upcoming weather pattern will favor southward dips in the jet stream through the end of the month. When the jet stream behaves in this way, a puddle of cold air is created, and that can be just enough to allow wet snow to fall. Jet stream dips earlier this spring and this winter were partially responsible for dangerous snow squalls and deadly crashes on some interstate highways.

In the case of the next two jet stream dips, heavy snow squalls seem unlikely, but episodes of snow will be possible, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

The first and weaker of the two jet stream dips will coincide with a cold front that pushes through the region during the Easter weekend. As the front approaches, spotty showers are likely to erupt over the Appalachians on Saturday.

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Since the atmosphere will become quite warm ahead of the front, some of the showers are likely to turn into thunderstorms that can produce gusty winds and even small hail along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts during Saturday afternoon and evening. Temperatures will climb into the 60s and approach 70 along much of the Interstate 95 zone and into the mid-50s to mid-60s over the Appalachians.

"Temperatures will drop sharply as the cold front crosses the region from west to east," AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda said. "And over interior areas, especially the higher terrain of the Northeast, rain will change to snow, and there could even be a little slushy accumulation in spots by Saturday evening."

Lows on Easter Sunday morning will range from the mid-20s to the lower 30s over the mountains. In northern and western New York and northern New England, snow showers may persist enough to coat some grassy surfaces with a small accumulation.

Along Interstate 95, the air will not cool quickly enough for any snowflakes to fall from Saturday night to Sunday morning. High temperatures on Sunday will be 10-15 degrees lower than Saturday with highs forecast to be mainly in the mid-50s from Boston to New York City and Washington, D.C. In the mountains, temperatures may get no higher than the low to mid-40s on Easter Sunday afternoon.

"Skies will clear out for many areas Sunday night, leading to a night of frosts and freezes which will jeopardize any flowers and blooming trees that thought spring had finally arrived with the warmth this week," Sojda said.

The next jet stream dip will be a bit more robust and is likely to coincide with a storm that attempts to make a run along the coast from the Southern states to New England from Monday to Tuesday.

"The key to how much rain falls and how stiff winds become along the mid-Atlantic coast and in southeastern New England will depend on how strong that storm becomes," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

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"It is possible that if the jet stream dip really gets involved and causes that storm to strengthen significantly, there could be a significant nor'easter along the coast while some areas over the central Appalachians and central and northern New England experience a period of accumulating snow," Pastelok added. A storm moving eastward from the Upper Midwest may also play a role.

If the coastal storm develops to its full potential, there could be 4-8 inches of snow and slippery travel over the mountains centered on Monday night and Tuesday morning. People with travel plans from the mountains of northern West Virginia and western Maryland to northern New York and northern Maine should keep tabs on the forecast early next week for potential slushy and snowy conditions.

"Even if the storm along the coast does not strengthen or is slower to strengthen, then most locations in the Northeast will just experience rain showers with some mixed rain and snow showers over the mountains," Sojda said.

Rain from the coastal storm is forecast to hold off until late Monday or Monday night in eastern Massachusetts, where the 126th running of the Boston Marathon is scheduled to take place during the morning hours on Patriots Day.

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Following another warmup during the middle of next week, yet another dip in the jet stream and cold snap may occur late next week into the following weekend in the Northeast as the seasonal tug-of-war continues.

As if episodes of chilly air and snow were not enough in the coming days, AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring the Atlantic for a pre-season potential tropical storm to form and possibly track near Bermuda later next week. AccuWeather released its 2022 Atlantic hurricane forecast last month, and the forecast prepared by hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski suggested that there is a good chance that a storm could form prior to the official June 1 start date.

For the latest weather news check back on AccuWeather.com. Watch the AccuWeather Network on DIRECTVFrontierSpectrumfuboTVPhilo, and Verizon Fios. AccuWeather Now is now available on your preferred streaming platform.

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