If you live in the Northeast, the first day of spring definitely won't be the first spring day — not with a Nor'easter brewing that could bury parts of New England under snow this weekend.
It will certainly be chilly — as much as 30 degrees colder by the time a low-pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico pushes warm, moist air over the Northeast on Sunday, creating a proper Nor'easter and "laying down the foundation for a potential winter storm" on the first day of spring, the National Weather Service said.
"You might be wearing short sleeves today, but by the time that cold air settles in, you won't be wearing them Monday," said Kait Parker, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.
Preliminary forecasts suggested that New York City and Hartford, Connecticut, could get 3 to 5 inches of snow, with 4 to 8 inches falling north from Boston to Maine. Some locations could see a foot.
The cold temperatures will be only a two- to three-day blip, with spring temperatures returning quickly — meaning rapidly melting snow could create coastal and urban flooding later in the week, according to the National Weather Service.
But forecasters stressed that even a slight shift in the paths of either system could make a big difference.
"If that low's a little farther off-shore, we may get very minimal snow, just right along the coast," Parker said. And "if it moves closer to the coast, we could see some big snow totals."
And in a weekend forecast issued Thursday, Matthew Doody, a forecaster for The National Weather Service in Boston, said that "while we might all like to say here are the answers, it is still just too soon to nail down" exactly what's going to happen.