In any given winter season, a few cold snaps and an occasional warm spell are not that uncommon. This year, however, the temperatures in the northeastern US have been swinging from warm to cold to warm again as if on relentless rollercoaster. This week the region saw another round of this type of weather whiplash, albeit more dramatic than usual.
Here in New York City, the temperature went from a record low of -1°F on Sunday to a high of 54°F on Tuesday. That is a 55° difference in just two days. Our normal high for this time of year is 42°F and our normal low is 29°F.
For the past two winters, multiple extended artic outbreaks courtesy of the polar vortex kept the region colder than average for most of the season. This year, with a strong El Niño in place over the Pacific, warmer than normal conditions have made a strong showing. But, it seems like neither El Niño nor the Polar Vortex has been able to maintain a leading role this winter in the northeast. Rather, they seem to be alternating their appearances leaving us somewhat uncertain as to what will come next.