Two Weak Winters
There's no doubt the past two winters along the heavily populated Northeast Megalopolis have been, well, underwhelming from a snow perspective.
Here's a list of the significant winter storms to affect the Northeast the past two winters, in reverse chronological order:
- Winter Storm Euclid (post Christmas 2012): Heavy interior Northeast snow
- Winter Storm Athena (Nov. 7-8, 2012): Post-Sandy snow in Sandy-ravaged areas
- Superstorm Sandy's snowy side (Oct. 29-30, 2012): One to three feet of Appalachians snow
- "Snowpril" (Late April 2012): Mainly interior Pa., parts of New York state
- "Snowtober" (Late October 2011): Massive power outages in Northeast; heaviest snow so early in several locations.
Each of these storms definitely left their mark in some areas.
However, with the exception of Athena in parts of the "five boroughs" of N.Y.C., each of these storms failed to deliver heavy snow in the cities of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
Note much of the U.S. has been warmer than average since Nov. 1, 2012, as indicated by the light green, yellow and orange shadings. (Image credit: NOAA/ESRL Physical Science Division)
There are several reasons for this Megalopolis snow underperformance:
- It's been warm. With the jet stream exhibiting more frequent dips, or troughs in the West, storms arriving from the Midwest pump warm air northward into the East, producing more rain, not snow.
- Quick-hitting, moisture-starved "Alberta clippers". When weather systems slide into the Northeast with cold air in place (particularly this January and early February), they move sweep quickly out to sea, with relatively little moisture to work with.
- Coastal storms have produced more rain, than snow. The all-important "rain/snow line" has, more often than not, been north of the I-95 Boston to Washington, D.C. corridor over the past two winters, even with a coastal storm track.