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Why Is The Big Apple Seeing So Much Snow?

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Thursday's storm made January 2011 the snowiest the Big Apple ever saw since records were kept. And consider this: February is usually our snowiest month. Many people are asking why there's so much snow and why so often?

One factor, CBS 2's meteorologist John Elliott says, is changing wind patterns. Normally, the low pressure systems that bring precipitation would be to the west of us. Nobody knows why, but worldwide, winds have shifted.

This winter, those systems, with their precipitation, have blown into our area. Mix that with colder than normal temperatures, and voila, lots of snow.

Bringing those persistent cold temperatures is something called arctic oscillation, which has shifted the boundary between warmer and colder air masses.

That line has moved south and that has allowed the colder air from the polar regions to move into the entire eastern seaboard.

With all that cold air, it doesn't take much moisture to produce snow and produce records.

Normally, we get 22.4 inches of snowfall a season, but so far this season, we've had 56.1 inches and 19 inches with this storm alone.

With forecasts of continuing below average temperatures, it may help to sit back and try to make the best of it.

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