[NOAA CFSv2 45-day temperature anomaly forecast; map courtesy Weather Bell Analytics at weatherbell.com, NOAA]
Not only will February turn out to be one of the coldest February’s ever in much of the Northeast US and Upper Midwest, but it will likely turn out to be one of the coldest months ever in many locations. For example, Bridgeport, CT, Islip, NY and Cleveland, OH are all on pace for their coldest month ever; JFK and LaGuardia Airports in New York City are likely to join with Boston, MA and end up in the top two or three for their coldest month ever recorded.
In the I-95 corridor region of DC, Philly and New York City, temperatures have averaged around 10 degrees below normal through February 24th, and there is certainly no reason to believe these numbers will change much over the remainder of the month which will continue to average well-below normal. Philly is currently on pace for its third coldest February ever and likely will end up in the top ten for coldest months ever. All indications are that this colder-than-normal weather pattern in the Northeast US will continue right through March and perhaps even into April despite some breaks along the way.
A recent temperature anomaly forecast by NOAA’s CFSv2 longer-range model shows an impressive colder-than-normal temperature pattern right through early April across the eastern two-thirds of the nation (above; map courtesy Weather Bell Analytics, NOAA). There is reason to believe this forecast is on to something by looking at the latest GFS forecasted 500 millibar height anomalies during the next few weeks. As an example, the 500 millibar height anomaly forecast for late next week (below; map courtesy "tropicaltidbits.com", NOAA) depicts the similar upper-level pattern that has brought us cold weather during the month of February – namely a strong western North American ridge of high pressure (oranges) and a deep trough in the Northeast US (blues). This combination allows for the transport of Arctic air from northern Canada into the northern US on a consistent basis.
[06Z GFS 500 millibar height anomaly forecast for March 6th; map courtesy "tropicaltidbits.com, NOAA]
The one saving grace is that “normal” temperatures are climbing pretty rapidly as we approach the spring equinox. For example, the normal high temperature in Philly on February 23rd is 46 degrees, but by the time we reach March 23rd it climbs to 55 degrees. In other words, 10 degrees below normal a month from now won’t have quite the same sting that it has right now.