- Weather may put a damper on MLB Opening Day festivities in the Midwest and Northeast
- Final gust of winter expected Sunday and Monday
Nearly two weeks into spring, a large swath of the nation may experience a final gust of winter Sunday and Monday, putting a damper on Opening Day festivities at ballparks in the Midwest and Northeast.
When the Washington National's held the annual Blossoms and Baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, temperatures reached the low 80s. The exhibition is part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival -- billed as the "nation's greatest springtime celebration."
But the brief taste of spring will be followed by a surge of cold air across the East.
A freeze warning will touch some 14 million people from much of the Ohio Valley through the Appalachians on Saturday evening, with temperatures plunging slightly below the freezing mark.
Most of Massachusetts will be under wind advisories Sunday, with strong to damaging winds near hurricane force possible, according to the National Weather Service.
Snow, and even thunder snow, is likely, with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches away from the state's coastal plains, the agency reported.
The turnaround comes days after temperatures in Boston hit the 60s. On Friday, the city saw a high of 69. The high is forecast to be 38 on Sunday.
From the Great Lakes into New England, winds could play havoc with fly balls as the 2016 Major League Baseball season kicks off.
Much of the New York metro area will be under wind warnings through the weekend.
And gusts could exceed 60 mph through Sunday evening in some parts of the region. Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average in parts of the Northeast.
The first pitch of the season will be Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates host the St. Louis Cardinals, with a high temperature near 42, according to the National Weather Service. Rain and snow showers were expected late Saturday.
On Monday, when the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox, the high will be 42, with a mix of rain and snow showers likely, the weather service said.
And the New York Yankees face the Houston Astros on Monday afternoon in the Bronx, with rain and snow looming and a high of 52 degrees.
At least no one is expecting a repeat of the April Fools' Day blizzard which pounded New England with up to 20 inches of wet, heavy snow. The nor'easter arrived on April 1, 1997, following days in the 60 degree temperatures. No joke.
Fortunately, baseball officials had months earlier scheduled teams such as the Red Sox and the New York Mets to start out in the West, in the South or in parks with domes -- far, far away from the miserable Northeast.