Late-Winter to Early-Spring Temperature Outlook: Frigid February in East, Midwest as the West Stays Mild

The Weather Channel

Frigid air is expected to plunge into the East and Midwest for the final full month of winter, and those cold temperatures may linger into March as well, according to the latest outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

Below-average temperatures are forecast from the South to the Midwest and mid-Atlantic during the three-month period spanning February through April. Near-average or slightly colder conditions may be found from the Southwest to the central Plains, upper Midwest and Northeast when averaged over the next three months.  

Three-month temperature outlook for February through April 2019 from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

The only U.S. areas expected to experience near- or above-average temperatures for the February-to-April period are confined to the West Coast, Rockies and northern Plains.

The warmest conditions relative to average are expected in the Northwest and northern Rockies from February through April. Near-average or slightly warmer temperatures are forecast from Central and Southern California to the central Rockies and northern Plains.

“The long-anticipated cold February across the eastern U.S. continues to be strongly supported by our suite of sub-seasonal and seasonal statistical/dynamical models, resulting in an unusually high-confidence forecast,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company.

(MORE: At the Midpoint of Meteorological Winter, How Much of the Snow Season Typically Remains?)

Below, we’ll dive deeper into the month-by-month details to help you plan for the next three months.


February is going to be bitterly cold for many areas east of the Rockies – a sharp contrast to the relatively mild temperatures since the start of January.

The core of the frigid air mass will likely be found from the Southeast to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes. However, far-below-average temperatures are expected everywhere from eastern portions of the Plains states to the East Coast, including Florida.

Temperatures will also be near or below average from the Front Range of the Rockies to the remainder of the High Plains and Plains.

February 2019 temperature outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

“The combination of the impacts from the recent split of the stratospheric polar vortex and strong forcing from both the seasonal and sub-seasonal drivers suggests all-systems-go for a prolonged blocking spell, with significant and long-lasting cold across many areas east of the Rockies,” Crawford said.

The atmospheric blocking Crawford refers to is when the flow of the atmosphere and its patterns slows down, which can lead to prolonged periods of cold weather and storminess in the central and eastern states.

(MORE: The Polar Vortex Has Fallen Apart, Which is Likely to Unleash a Much Colder End to January)

Meanwhile, it will be much different in the West, where relatively mild conditions are expected in February.

Near-average or slightly warmer temperatures are forecast from Southern California to the Southwest and Rockies. Above-average warmth is likely from Central California to the Pacific Northwest.


The bitter chill from February may linger into the beginning of March in the central and eastern states.

Near-average or slightly colder temperatures are expected over a broad swath from Southern California and the Desert Southwest to the central Plains, Midwest and East. Colder-than-average conditions may be found from the southern Plains to the lower Mississippi Valley and northern Gulf Coast states.

March 2019 temperature outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

“We expect significant cold in the eastern U.S. to go through February into at least the first half of March before a ‘snapback’ warmup in the back half of March into April,” Crawford said.

Relative mildness is expected to continue in the West and Northwest while also expanding into the north-central states as March progresses.

Temperatures may be near-average or slightly warmer from Central California to the central Rockies, central Plains and northern Great Lakes. Above-average conditions are forecast from Northern California to the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies and northern Plains.


April 2019 is currently not expected to be a repeat of April 2018, when record cold dominated the Plains and the northern tier of the United States and Winter Storm Xantobrought record-breaking spring snowfall to the upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

(MORE: 5 Things We’ll Remember About the Weather in April 2018)

The southern tier of the U.S. may see near-average or slightly cooler conditions during the first full month of spring, but the rest of the nation is forecast to have near- or above-average temperatures.

April could be a relatively warm month from the Northwest to the northern Rockies, northern Plains and upper Midwest, where above-average temperatures are expected.

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