Just as the warmth of spring is allowing people to spend more time outside in New England, a potentially history-making snowstorm could come blasting into the region this weekend. As NBC News reports, the National Weather Service predicts that by Friday night, arctic air will shift down into the Northeastern states, potentially bringing record cold temps with it.
Most of the country has been hunkered down in self-quarantine as a result of the coronavirus, but the warm weather has enticed people to venture outdoors in many parts of the U.S. However, that could all change with this storm. Parts of New England could see up to 8 inches of snow, with some northern areas getting up to a foot. In those places that don’t get snow, heavy rain could be in the forecast.
Temps could drop to near freezing with 40 mile-an-hour wind gusts that could make it feel even colder. Some areas are already under freeze watches.
The snow and rain will likely continue through Saturday and Sunday.
If the snow falls as predicted and the temperatures drop, it could set more than 50 record lows across the area, with temps falling to anywhere from 10-20 degrees below the average for this time of year. For cities like New York, it could mean it will be colder on Saturday than it was on Christmas Day. Some areas of New England could be colder than Fairbanks, Alaska this weekend.
It hasn’t been this cold since May 1978, when temps in New York City dropped to the 30s.
The northeast isn’t the only area expected to be hit by the winter-like conditions. Parts of the Deep South will see cooler-than-average temperatures as well.
The extreme shift comes as a result of an unusually cold air mass moving down from Canada, making the northeastern United States feel more like March than May. It’s an extreme shift from the balmy temps many parts of the region saw this past week. New York City, for instance, hit 80 degrees on Sunday. By Saturday, the high there is expected to be 50 degrees.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, parts of the west will see unusual highs. Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas are all under heat watches.
Portland, Oregon — which typically sees temperatures in the high 60s this time of year — is expected to hit the high 80s on Saturday.
A plume of above average temperatures will impact the western U.S. along a coastal trough as below average temperatures fill in behind a cold front in the Midwest and east this weekend. pic.twitter.com/WVPRODgary
— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) May 5, 2020
These extreme shifts in weather are expected to continue as many scientists point to the impact of global warming on local weather patterns. Last year, for instance, the Northeast saw an extreme heatwave in July.