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This cold start to April will thaw just in time for Easter

This cold start to April will thaw just in time for Easter

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A child looked for more Easter eggs at Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center during an Easter egg hunt hosted by Richmond’s park department.

Sunny high pressure will prevail over Virginia for the next few days, so the Easter weekend forecast is really just a matter of temperatures.

In short: wintry to start, perfectly springlike to finish.

A weak cold front could send a few extra clouds our way late Sunday — it’s a long shot chance for even a sprinkle — and there’s no substantial rain threat for the region until the second half of next week.

Friday

Metro Richmond: Despite mostly sunny skies, this is likely our coldest day since mid-March with a high in the mid-to-upper 40s. More blustery winds from the northwest and very low dew points will add to the wintry feel of the day.

Statewide: Generally mid-to-upper 40s for highs east of the mountains, with 30s in the higher elevations. A stray sprinkle or flurry could blow through Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore, or in the Alleghany Highlands.

Saturday

Metro Richmond: Temperatures in the upper 20s at daybreak could be the low point of this particular cold snap, but we’ll notice some improvement later in the day. Winds will be much lighter, and afternoon readings could rise back into the mid or upper 50s. That’s still about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year. The evening drops back into the chilly 40s.

Statewide: Most areas will be somewhere in the 20s to start the day, with 30s near the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Some spots in the Piedmont may get to 60 during the afternoon, with 50s likely for most in the mountains and Tidewater.

Sunday

Metro Richmond: The warming trend arrives just in time for Easter, but early morning plans will still involve temperatures cold enough for a jacket or coat. From lows near 40 degrees, we’ll hit 60s around lunchtime and get close to 70 during the afternoon. It’s almost the definition of typical. Based on the past 30 years, you’d plan for a 44-to-68 spread. More on that below.

Statewide: Expect 30s throughout the mountains and Piedmont in the morning, with 40s east. Highs should range from upper 50s and lower 60s in the mountains to lower 70s in the Piedmont and mid-upper 60s near the coast because the water is still rather cold.

***

In lieu of a challenging forecast, here are some interesting statistics about our Easter weather history.

Due to its shifting spot on the calendar, Easter has the widest range between the hottest and coldest weather for any major holiday in Richmond.

There’s a 77-degree range between those extremes:

  • 95 degrees on April 18, 1976 (with a low of 56)
  • 18 degrees on March 24, 1940 (with a high of 33)

Statistics do back up a “hot one year, chilly the next” reputation. Easter has the greatest year-to-year variation for high temperatures. (Christmas is slightly more volatile when it comes to lows, but not by much.)

But that theme actually hasn’t been on display lately, and this year shouldn’t stray very far from recent conditions. The past three Easter Sundays ranged from 69 to 76 in Richmond, and each had unremarkable lows in the 40s.

By contrast, Labor Day has the steadiest highs in a statistical sense, while typically-muggy Independence Day shows the smallest year-to-year variation for lows. Rainfall is clearly another story.

Check Richmond.com/weather for John Boyer’s forecast updates. Contact him at JBoyer@timesdispatch.com.

Meteorologist

John Boyer is the first staff meteorologist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the RTD newsroom in November 2016. Boyer earned his degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

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