, Salem, MA

The Nation

March 8, 2011

Late-winter wallop shocks New England, upstate NY



"We had almost a tropical air mass across southern New England that was trying to push north at the same time a polar air mass was trying to push south," National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Taber said. "It was that battleground that created this intense snowfall."

The storm helped push the winter of 2010-11 up the record list. The 13 inches that fell in Syracuse, N.Y., made it the fourth-snowiest winter on record there, with a seasonal total of 173.5 inches compared with the record of 192.1, set in 1992-93. Rochester, N.Y., surpassed 112 inches of snow by Sunday, more than 30 inches above normal.

It's the third-snowiest winter on record in Burlington, at 121.4 inches, and the latest storm dropped enough snow to top the Valentine's Day blitz in 2007, when 25.7 inches fell, meteorologist Andrew Loconto said Monday night.

"It was also the snowiest snowstorm ever to occur in Burlington in the month of March," topping a record notched March 5-6, 2001, when 22.9 inches of snow blanketed the city, he said.

Mark Wysocki, a meteorologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, said the storm was just the latest in a string of storms spawned by a weather pattern that set up in November and is likely to remain in place for a while.

"We're in a very active weather pattern where we have very cold air sitting over the Midwest and Plains," Wysocki said. "It's changed the storm track so storms are coming up the coast and tapping into a lot of moisture off the Atlantic."

And as residents clean up yet again, forecasters warned that they shouldn't get too comfortable.

"The next storm is already shaping up over the Rockies and will be here by midweek with rain along the Hudson River Valley and snow through western New York, Ontario and Michigan," Wysocki said.

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