The snows are ending in the Northeast, having buried several records. Jeff Masters sez:
When combined with the heavy snows of 1 – 2 feet that fell during the Nor’easter just two weeks ago, January 2011 now ranks as the snowiest January on record in New York City, Newark, Bridgeport, and Hartford.
Remarkably, five of New York City’s top-ten snowfalls of the past 142 years have occurred in the past decade
The series of snowstorms this winter are unusual in another way: it is a La Nina year, and
the presence of La Niña acts to deflect the jet stream in such a way [that] the predominant storm track takes winter storms into the Pacific Northwest, then down through the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley, particularly so in mid- late-winter. According to Dr. David A. Robinson, the New Jersey State Climatologist and Chairman of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, this sort of flow pattern keeps New England safe from Nor’easters,
but not this year.
Heavier snow tends to occur in warmer winters, by the way. Masters cites a study from 2009, Houston and Changnon, which found that
61% – 85% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters that were wetter than average
The takeaway: these are record-setting storms, unexpectedly unsuppressed by La Nina, and consistent with the effects to be expected of a warming world.