Despite early warmth, chilly trend forecast for mid- to late March

Maryland and the rest of the east got a taste of spring this weekend, but that warmth is not here to stay, according to weather and climate forecasts.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reached 62 degrees Saturday and 59 degrees Sunday, and it is expected to near or surpass those marks Monday and Tuesday despite clouds and rain moving in.


But by the end of the week, colder temperatures are forecast, and that general trend could continue to the end of the month.

The National Weather Service is forecasting highs only in the mid- to upper-40s by next weekend. Normal for this time of year are highs approaching the mid-50s and lows slightly above freezing. By the end of the month, highs are typically about 60 degrees with lows just below 40 degrees.


So far, March is running 1.1 degrees below normal at BWI.

The Climate Prediction Center in College Park is forecasting decent chances of more colder-than-normal temperatures. Outlooks through about March 24 call for as much as 40-50 percent chances of below-normal temperatures.

The forecasts meanwhile call for about normal precipitation levels overall.

A strong high-pressure system over Greenland -- known for encouraging major coastal snowstorms in winter -- is expected to be locked in place, trapping cold air in place over the East Coast, explains Rick Grow of Frederick-based blog Free State Weather.

Grow analyzed various past months of March with similar climate conditions, and is predicting temperatures to run as much as 3 degrees below normal for the month. That would make March the second consecutive month but only the third in about two years to post a below-normal average temperature.

Despite the chilly trend, that doesn't make a March snow a strong likelihood. As last week's busted snow forecast showed, accumulating snow is rare this time of year unless it falls overnight or heavily during the day. Still, such snows are possible, according to history.