Record Warmth Will Unleash Spring Fever Into Presidents Day Weekend

Linda Lam
Published: February 14, 2017

The central and eastern U.S. will likely experience spring fever late this week and through the Presidents Day holiday weekend. The warmer-than-average temperatures may break a few records.

Many areas have seen fairly mild temperatures recently and this trend will continue into late February.

This next round of warmth will be courtesy of an upper-level ridge of high pressure that will develop as the jet stream surges northward toward the Canadian border.

Warm setup late this week into early next week.

This surge of mild temperatures will last for several days for areas east of the Rockies, making it feel more like spring than mid-February.

(MORE: Spring 2017 Temperature Outlook)

Spring-Like Outlook

The next round of above-average temperatures will expand from the Rockies and northern Plains into the central Plains and parts of the Midwest by Thursday. 

By Friday, temperatures will be warmer than average from the Rockies through the Midwest and into the Southeast. Highs will be 20 to 30 degrees above average for parts of the central Plains into the mid- and upper-Mississippi Valley.

Forecast Highs

Most locations from the Rockies to the East Coast will see temperatures soar well-above average for mid-February. Highs in the 60s will reach as far north as Chicago, with mid-50s in much of South Dakota and southern Minnesota.

The mild conditions will persist into Sunday, with temperatures the greatest above average in the central Plains, Midwest and into the Ohio Valley. Temperatures may climb into the 70s as far north as Virginia and Missouri, including St. Louis.

(MAPS: Current Temperatures)

Temperatures this warm may also set new daily record highs, potentially including (current record in parentheses):

  • Friday: Fargo (48 degrees); Minneapolis (55 degrees); Des Moines, Iowa (68 degrees)
  • Saturday: Green Bay (50 degrees); Milwaukee (57 degrees); Madison, Wisconsin (57 degrees); Chicago (62 degrees); Indianapolis (66 degrees); Grand Rapids (56 degrees); Cleveland (62 degrees); Columbus, Ohio (63 degrees)
  • Sunday: Fargo (52 degrees); Minneapolis (57 degrees); Springfield, Illinois (70 degrees); Paducah, Kentucky (71 degrees); Memphis, Tennessee (76 degrees)

Forecast Highs Compared to Average

Early next week, an area of low pressure will develop in the Plains and a southerly flow ahead of this system will likely intensify the warmth. This will result in the warmer-than-average temperatures continuing into early next week, including the Presidents Day holiday. 

It will feel more like spring than winter for much of the Midwest, as well as the central and northern Plains, early next week. Temperatures in the mid-50s in Fargo and Minneapolis are average highs in mid-April. Chicago will see highs closer to average for mid-to-late April and St. Louis may reach the lower 70s, the average in late April.

(MAPS: Average Monthly Temperatures)

Areas in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. will also see low temperatures 15 to 30 degrees warmer than average early next week. This translates into lows only dropping into the 40s in parts of the Midwest and temperatures may not drop below freezing as far north as the Canadian border. 

Forecast Lows

Lows in the 50s will be common across the South and into the mid-Mississippi Valley. Much of New England, however, will not see lows significantly warmer than average.

A few record warm low temperatures are also possible on Monday, possibly including (current record in parentheses): Fargo, North Dakota (33 degrees); Minneapolis (35 degrees); Sioux Falls, South Dakota (34 degrees) and Springfield, Illinois (46 degrees).

(MAPS: 10-day Forecast)

There are indications that the overall warm pattern may last through much of next week. 

The latest temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center highlights the Midwest, South and mid-Atlantic as having a 90 percent chance of above-average temperatures Sunday through Thursday of next week.

6-10 day temperature outlook showing where the highest probabilities of seeing above- or below-average temperatures are located.
(Climate Prediction Center/NOAA)

Warm 2017 So Far

Much of the East and South have seen much warmer than average temperatures so far in 2017. 

Several locations saw a top-five warmest January on record including Bridgeport, Connecticut, which experienced its warmest January with an average temperature of 36.9 degrees.

(MORE: Where January 2017 Ranked One of the Warmest, Coldest or Wettest

Many locations in the South are on track to recording a top-five warmest February, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. This includes Dallas, Houston and New Orleans.

So far this year, record highs are being set at a much faster pace than record lows, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Number of daily and monthly temperature records from Jan. 1 - Feb. 12, 2017.

Record highs outnumber record lows at a ratio of 3:1 through Feb. 12. This ratio increases to 3.6 to 1 when record highs and record warm lows are compared to record lows and record cold highs.

(MORE: All-Time February Heat in the Southern Plains)

In addition, several all-time record high temperatures for February were set this past weekend in Texas including, Midland, Lubbock and Wichita Falls where highs soared into the 90s. Denver also set a new record earliest 80-degree day on Feb. 10, breaking the previous record by more than a full month.

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