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Year in Review: The Most-Read Weather Stories of 2014

From fierce snowstorms and extreme cold in the East to the dancing lights of the aurora borealis across northern skies, take a look at the most-read topics AccuWeather.com featured through 2014.

Record-Breaking Winter Storms Battered the Eastern U.S.

From late January through early March, extreme cold, ice, freezing rain and heavy snow continued to strike portions of the country, shattering expense records for some state transportation departments and causing chaos for commuters in the South.

In late January, numerous daily snowfall records were broken as a result of a winter storm stretching across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Up to 15 inches of snow fell in parts of New Jersey.

In Philadelphia, 13.5 inches fell which broke the previous record for Jan. 21 of 3.4 inches from 1917. In New York City, 11 inches was measured at Central Park, breaking the record for Jan. 21 of 6 inches from 2001.

Days later, thousands of motorists became stranded across Atlanta's ice-covered, gridlocked highways due to a rare ice storm that swept across the South.

From Feb. 11 through Feb. 17, another winter storm followed, blasting areas from the South to the Northeast with ice and heavy snowfall once again. This storm dropped snow and ice across the South and cut power to more than 500,000 between the Carolinas and Georgia.

As the storm pushed northward, snowfall records were shattered in the Northeast. According to the Associated Press, at least 21 people died as a result of the storm.

Polar Vortex Plunged Midwest, Great Lakes Region and Northeast Into a Deep Freeze

The 2013-2014 winter season was one of the coldest winters to hit the Northeast and Midwest regions in two decades.

"It's probably the coldest the Northeast has seen since 1993-1994," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Dombek said in March.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston, the record-breaking winter season was due to a blocking high pressure ridge over Alaska, the Yukon and the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

"That system deflected the jet stream across the North Pole, down through Canada and into the United States," Boston said, citing unseasonably low temperatures as a result of this burst of arctic air.

A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, which sits over the polar region during the winter season. This frigid air can find its way into the United States when the polar vortex is pushed south.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, February 2014 ranked in 37th place for the coldest February on record nationwide. Due to the intense cold of this past winter season, ice coverage on the Great Lakes exceeded all other measurements since 1979.

"By a long shot, this is the most ice we've had on Lake Superior in 20 years," Associate Professor at the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, Minn., Jay Austin said in March.

During a typical winter, 30 to 40 percent of the Great Lakes are covered by ice.

September Aurora Danced Across Northern Skies

Normally dark skies were ignited by a vibrant display of colors on the night of Sept. 12 as the northern lights, or aurora borealis, dipped unusually far south.

A stronger-than-normal coronal mass ejection (CME), or a cloud of charged particles from the sun, reached the Earth's atmosphere around midday, setting the stage for the rare nighttime display.

Locations from the Pacific Northwest to the central Plains, as far south as Nebraska and Iowa, and across the Great Lakes and Northeast, were able to catch a glimpse of the dancing lights.

The aurora is more noticeable and enhanced when the sun fires out a stronger burst of charged particles. These particles excite atoms and molecules of Earth's atmospheric gases, primarily oxygen and nitrogen. As the molecules return to their normal state, they release energy in the form of light, typically blue, green and red, depending on the gas.

The Mount Washington Observatory captured time-lapse footage of the aurora on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, as clouds rolled beneath the dazzling light display.

Hurricane Arthur Made Landfall in North Carolina; Historic Hurricane Iselle Blasted Hawaii

While there were only 10 tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin in 2014, eight reached tropical storm intensity, AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said in December. Six of the storms became hurricanes with two reaching major hurricane status.

The first named storm of the season, Hurricane Arthur, slammed into the East Coast near the Outer Banks, North Carolina, bringing dangerous surf, torrential, flooding rainfall and gusty winds to the area for Independence Day.

An observation site in Hatteras, North Carolina, reported a 4.65 feet of surge on the sound side of the coast. Sustained winds of 56 mph with a 99-mph wind gust at Ocracoke, North Carolina, on July 4.

The eastern Pacific was more active for tropical developments this year with a total of 21 tropical cyclones, including Hurricane Iselle, the strongest storm ever to make landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Iselle's maximum sustained winds were recorded at 140 mph. The storm made landfall on Aug. 8 with sustained winds near 60 mph and higher gusts, which blasted the area along with heavy rainfall and dangerous surf.

Monster Storm Becomes Alaska's Largest Storm on Record

The former Super Typhoon Nuri tracked northward into the Bering Sea in early November, moving between Alaska and Russia. The storm became the strongest and most intense storm to ever impact the region in recorded history.

On Nov. 8, the Ocean Prediction Center analyzed the central area of low pressure to be 924 millibars (27.29 inches of Hg).

This makes the November storm the most powerful storm ever to move over the Bering Sea in terms of central pressure.

Previous to this storm, the old record stood at 925 millibars (27.32 inches of Hg) from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on Oct. 25, 1977. To put this in perspective, the lowest pressure recorded in Hurricane Sandy was 940 millibars (27.76 inches of Hg).

Winds gusted to 97 mph at Shemya, Alaska, home to the U.S. Eareckson Air Station. The storm continued across the region impacting Alaska, Russia and even the contiguous United States later in the week by causing a blast of arctic air to push southward through Canada.

Several AccuWeather.com meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.