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What’s up with the stormy weather?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With the parade of systems moving across the country and into Central New York this past week, everyone seems to want to know one thing.

Why is it so stormy?

For one, it is not so unusual for this time of year. It is January, after all. It’s more the lack of stormy weather that led up to the start of the new year.

To get the stormy weather (as we have seen recently) you need to have an active jet stream that can spawn storms down at the surface, causing lots of wind, snow or rain.  For that to happen, you need a contrast in temperatures. That was lacking in December.

We know here in Syracuse, it was warm last month.  It was 8 degrees above normal, making it the 2nd warmest December on record. But the whole lower 48 states AND Canada were warmer than normal! For example, Minneapolis was 12 degrees above normal and had only 2” of snow for the whole month.

So, obviously, things have changed.

While Syracuse is still warmer than normal (by about 5 degrees halfway through January) cold air is filtering into the western half of the country.  That is setting up a jet stream in the middle of the country where that dividing line is. That has created a fertile ground for storms, and we are right in the path.

The stormy weather continues into the third week of the month (January 15-21) but with a new twist.  The cold out west heads our way, which increases chances for snow from either storm systems moving along the jet stream to our south or, if those systems miss us, we always have a very warm Lake Ontario to provide localized bouts of lake effect snow.

Welcome to winter!

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