Forecasters are describing the next week or so of weather in the Buffalo area as like being on a roller coaster.
After another ridge of warm air during the middle part of this week, there will be a dip at the end when a cold front passes through late Thursday and then another even colder one over the weekend that could bring a piece of the polar vortex into Ontario.
Some of the coldest air to grip the region in weeks is expected, with polar air behind that second cold front.
“There will be a strong ridge out over the west coast and Alaska. This will produce the strong trough in the east that’s bringing the cold air down,” said Steve Welch, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
“There’s a pretty good chance we could be 20 degrees below normal” Sunday, Welch said.
Daytime highs might not escape the 20s. And, overnight lows are forecast to dip into the lower 20s.
The cold blast could even churn up the lake-effect snow machine for a rare late-season shot of snow.
Lake Erie’s temperature Tuesday was 40 degrees. It’s been nearly 100 percent ice-free since March 8, according to statistics from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
“There is some potential,” Welch said. “It’s still five days out.”
The models are still evolving. As of Tuesday afternoon, none seemed to show more than 2 to 4 inches total anywhere in the region through next Monday.
Even so, it’s a drastic change and a rollback of spring after a March that’s on pace to go down as the seventh-warmest March on record at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
It will also go down as the eighth consecutive month of above-average monthly temperatures at Buffalo.
April will start far below normal.
After highs in the low 60s Wednesday and Thursday, the mercury slips back into the 40s Friday and Saturday before the bottom really drops out later in the weekend. Sunday’s high, which averages 49 degrees, will only flirt with 30 degrees.
Temperatures will rebound slightly Monday into the mid-30s, but another shot of colder air is possible late next Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the forecast.
The average daytime high temperature for the first week in April in Buffalo is about 50 degrees.