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Northeast snow drought nearing 700 days

By Brian Lada, Accuweather.com
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking through a heavy snow fall in New York City on March 9, 2022. Snowfall has been scant in the Northeast for the past couple of winters. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking through a heavy snow fall in New York City on March 9, 2022. Snowfall has been scant in the Northeast for the past couple of winters. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Shovels have gathered dust and snow blowers have lain dormant for nearly two years in some of the major cities in the Northeast, a snow drought that could finally come to an end this winter.

Snowflakes have fallen in nearly every spot in the Northeast this season but have not amounted to much. Of all of the major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor, Boston leads the way with 0.2 of an inch of snowfall accumulation so far this season. For residents in many other cities, the wintry weather has only been in the form of flurries.

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It has been nearly 700 days since an inch of snow has accumulated in one calendar day in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington or Baltimore, dating back to the opening weeks of 2022. Boston is the exception to the list, as 1.8 inches of snow fell on Feb. 23, 2023.

"We've been stuck in this pattern as far as not having enough cold and not having the right storm track," AccuWeather long-range expert Paul Pastelok said. The result has been storms that deliver mostly rain to the I-95 corridor while accumulating snow falls farther inland.

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Flashback to last winter: Baltimore experienced its least-snowy winter on record last season when only 0.2 of an inch of snow fell. The historical average seasonal snowfall in Baltimore is 21.1 inches, with weather records dating back to the 1890s. A similar story unfolded in Philadelphia, where 0.2 of an inch tied the record for the second least-snowy winter, second only to the winter of 1972-73 when no snow accumulated throughout the season.

Snow lovers across the I-95 corridor may finally see the return of heavy snow this winter, but they will likely need to wait a little bit longer before all the ingredients for a snowstorm come together.

"It's kind of like having a football team. You draft all these good picks, you got the players, but they're just not working together just yet, but it's getting there," Pastelok said.

Chances of snow will increase across the Northeast during the second half of January and into February due to an El Niño-fueled weather pattern. El Niño occurs when the water near the equator of the eastern Pacific Ocean is warmer than the historical average for an extended period.

During the winter months, El Niño promotes a southern storm track, which, for the East Coast, translates to a higher chance of big storms coming out of the south with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

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AccuWeather's winter forecast doesn't waver: On Oct. 4, AccuWeather released its annual winter forecast and highlighted the increased chance for snowstorms in the Northeast during the second half of January and through February. Despite the chance of major snowstorms, AccuWeather meteorologists still believe that temperatures across the Northeast throughout the season as a whole will run near to slightly above the historical average.

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