Mostly snow-less winters in NJ are rare, but they do happen
You may have noticed that the strong El Nino winter has yielded very little snow in New Jersey so far, and while that's unusual, it has happened before.
Even Sunday's wintry weather only produced a dusting to about 2 inches in parts of the state.
New Jersey State Climatologist Dave Robinson at Rutgers University said the absence of a snowstorm that produces six or more inches of snow is not unprecedented.
Robinson said the winter of 1972-73 and 1997-98 lacked any big blizzards.
"The reason I mention those two winters is because they were both significant El Nino events taking place in the tropical Pacific, and that is what we have underway right now," Robinson said.
In fact, El Nino has been a factor in low snow levels over the years.
"Not every El Nino has missed having a major snowstorm, but two of our three least snowy winters in over a century in New Jersey were in an El Nino winter," Robinson said.
And while New Jersey as a whole has seen winters without a major snowstorm, South and Central Jersey have gone through even more.
So just how snow-less has this winter been?
Robinson said that as of Jan. 15, Atlantic City had yet to measure a tenth of an inch this season. And while the hills of Northwest Jersey have measured a little white stuff, many parts of Central and North Jersey have barely reached that one-tenth of an inch of snow as of late last week, while some places saw between a coating and two inches Sunday.
In Northwest Jersey, they have accumulated as much as two inches between a couple of snow events.
And while the white stuff has mostly stayed away, winter is not over yet.
In fact, in 1992, Newark got its first inch of snow as late as Feb. 12, according to Robinson. And New Brunswick had to wait for the first inch of snowfall in 1992 until March 19.
Robinson said there is a big difference between weather and climate.
"I cannot sit here and tell you that, 'Oh, it is an El Nino year, it is not going to snow,' because it only takes one weather event to give us a large portion of our annual snowfalls. So stay tuned," Robinson said.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.