Where's the snow? Why parts of the Northeast, Midwest should not 'write off winter' just yet

For snow lovers across the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, this winter has been a bit of a bust — but don't write it off just yet.

The National Weather Service said that January 2020 has seen well above normal temperatures across the eastern half of the country. While no records were broken, many places finished the month with a top 10 warmest January on record, according to the NWS.

Several cities also recorded below-normal snowfalls for the month. Hartford, Conn., recorded the 20th least snowy January in history, while Boston saw its 19th least snowy January.

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So what's behind the lack of snow in areas used to digging out in the winter?

It has to do with where storms coming from the West are setting up as they make their way across the country, according to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean.

"It’s all about the Jetstream – this year the storm tracks have not been favorable for snowy weather to hit the Northeast," Dean said Wednesday.

Most of the storms this winter have tracked out of the West or Rockies, and into the Central or Southern Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, and New England, according to Dean.

The Pacific Northwest, for example, has seen a series of storms that brought heavy snow and flooding, but then took a more northern track. Since those storms stayed north, places like Great Falls, Mont., Grand Forks, N.D., Caribou, Maine; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Marquette, Mich., have all passed their seasonal averages.

Snowfall totals this season as of Tuesday, Feb. 4 show while the major cities in the Northeast and Great Lakes are seeing a deficit, other locations are seeing a surplus of snow.

Snowfall totals this season as of Tuesday, Feb. 4 show while the major cities in the Northeast and Great Lakes are seeing a deficit, other locations are seeing a surplus of snow. (Fox News)

In order to get snow in the major cities of the Northeast from a typical winter storm, such as a Nor'easter, those weather systems coming from the West need to take a different path.

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Storms would need to shift farther south or track up the East Coast so that those regions are on the colder northern and western sides of the low-pressure systems, according to Dean.

"That would increase the odds of colder air sticking around and the precipitation falling as all snow instead of rain/wintry mix," she said Wednesday.

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A strengthening winter storm across the Plains and Midwest this week will spread snow and ice into the region through Thursday, but the major cities will see mostly rain. Dean said the "wintry mess" will impact the interior Northeast and New England.

A storm this week will bring snow to the interior parts of the Northeast.

A storm this week will bring snow to the interior parts of the Northeast. (Fox News)

For the rest of the month, the NWS' Climate Prediction Center said the second half of February looks "likely to be bad news" for snow lovers in the East, as a warm pattern is emerging.

But while conditions have been pretty mild this winter and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, that doesn't mean winter is done. In 2019, Central Park had a season total of 20.5 inches of snow, of which 10.4 inches came in March.

"Keep in mind, February is one of the peak months for Northeast snow storms, and we can have some pretty big snowmakers in March, so don’t write off winter just yet," Dean said.

Fox News' Janice Dean and Brandon Noriega contributed to this report.