A strong dome of upper-level high pressure over the western third of the country and a lack of a frigid Canadian air-mass will provide much of the Lower 48 with an early taste of spring over the next couple of days.
Daytime highs are forecast to reach the 50s and 60s over much of the Great Plains on Thursday while more March-like temperatures arrive in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The most anomalous warmth over the next couple days is set to occur in the Northern Plains and along the West Coast.
The former will be warmest on Thursday when daily temperature departures range between 15 to 25 degrees above normal from Montana and northern Wyoming to the Dakotas.
Meanwhile, this will be a daily occurrence on the West Coast and more specifically California. Daytime highs in parts of Southern California will be in the 80s through the weekend with highs near 90 degrees possible.
Due to the unusually hot temperatures for early February, Heat Advisories have been issued for Orange County and the Inland Empire through the end of the week.
Numerous record highs could be broken not just in Southern California, but along the coast and throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys through Sunday.
Florida will remain cooler than normal and dry during this period.
The first of two storm systems will track across the Great Lakes and Northeast through Thursday, but will only produce light precipitation. The cold air spilling in behind this storm will trigger some areas of lake effect snow showers, most notably in Michigan's U.P. and in western portions of the state tonight.
Some snow showers may also bring light accumulations to the interior Northeast on Thursday as the storm passes through.
Meanwhile, the second and more potent wave of low pressure is hot on its heels, racing into the Upper Midwest Thursday afternoon.
Periods of snow will blanket parts of northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan in as much as 3 to 6 inches of snowfall.
The trailing cold front and upper level disturbance tracking south through Montana delivers snow to parts of the Northern Rockies and High Plains Thursday night and into Friday.
High pressure will descend upon the Plains beginning Friday night, sending the preceding cold front and frigid air into the central and eastern portions of the country this weekend. ■