Those who’ve been hit by larger-than-normal snowstorms this season might not take much comfort in the fact, but meteorologists have an explanation for them—and a prediction that we’re going to see more larger-than-normal storms well into next month.
According to AccuWeather.com, the storm that brought nearly 25 inches of snow to Boston in early February and the follow-on about a week later that brought another 5 inches, as well as the record-setting storm in Kansas last week and the higher-than-usual snowfall in New York and elsewhere, were caused by “blocking.” The phenomenon occurs when warm air and areas of high pressure are anchored across Canada and Greenland, forcing cold air south to the US. The same sort of effect can cause storms to move more slowly across the US, like a roadblock—imagine that “you’re on a highway, and there is a crash up ahead,” says one AccuWeather forecaster—and the slow-moving storms deposit tremendous amounts of snow over a relatively small area.
Meteorologists have termed these storms “overachievers,” although those who are shoveling sidewalks or stuck in airports may have other names for them. Overachievers are predicted for the Ohio and Tennessee valleys in the first two weeks of March.