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El Nino’s impact on air masses behind below average snowfall

January 28, 2016
By A.J. Rao ( , Westfield Republican

Those feeling weary of winter's snowy weather can take comfort in knowing that snowfall this year has already been - and is expected to be - considerably less than previous years.

According to the National Weather Service office in Buffalo, the impact of El Nino and its funneling of milder air toward the northeast has caused cities like Jamestown to see well below average snowfall this year.

During the 2013-14 winter season, the city experienced 17.8 inches of snow in November; 22.5 inches in December and 21 inches in January.

The 2014-15 season fared similarly, with the city experiencing 23.3 inches in November; 13.3 inches in December and 33.2 inches in January.

This season, however, the city only experienced 0.8 inches in November and 9.1 inches in December. Numbers for January have also been well below normal, according to the NWS.

Bill Hibbert, meteorologist with the NWS in Buffalo, said snowfall totals in the past two seasons were approximately 98.9 and 113.2 inches, respectively.

"(This year) we'll see substantially less ... (possibly) cut in half," Hibbert said.

The NWS indicated that communities north of the Chautauqua Ridge - Cassadaga, Westfield, Dunkirk, etc. - have experienced more snowfall than Jamestown, which is typical. Average snowfall in these areas, however, will still be below normal levels.

According to, the current El Nino weather pattern is believed to be the strongest El Nino in the last 50 to 60 years. With a lack of Arctic air pushing into the Great Lakes region, snowfall and precipitation will persist, but not be heavy.



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