Dramatic Temperature Swing brings NYC Another Bout of Winter

With unseasonably warm temperatures causing trees and flowers to bloom early across New York City, it has felt like spring here for more than a few weeks. But now, as April begins, winter has come fighting back for an encore performance.

The high temperature in Central Park on Friday was a balmy 79°F.  Today, it was only 45°F and even colder conditions are expected as the week goes on. So, what’s causing this dramatic cool down? The answer lies in the changeable pattern of the jet stream.

A persistent area of high pressure had been sitting off the eastern seaboard recently, creating a ridge in the jet stream and blocking any cold air from moving southward. Now, the pattern has shifted and a trough in the jet stream is allowing cold air to spill out of Canada and across the northeast.

The first wave of chilly air moved through on Sunday and caused powerful winds to whip through the area. The NWS reported winds gusts of 45 mph in Central Park and 64 mph at JFK airport.

Another wave of arctic air is expected tonight. With the temperature projected to plummet into the 20’s, the NWS has issued a freeze warning for the city and surrounding area – bad news for all the early blooming plants and trees. The forecast high for Tuesday is only 39°F. The city’s normal high for this time of year is 57°F and the normal low is 41°F.

As spring is a transitional season, temperature swings between warm and cold are not uncommon. But, after the city’s second warmest winter and fourth warmest March on record, many folks are finding this spring cold snap more than bit jarring.