The Backward Weather of Fall 2011

December 27, 2011; 9:22 AM ET
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Mild air settled in for much of fall 2011 across the Northeast, following a record-setting snowstorm Halloween weekend. Meanwhile, more snow fell across portions of Texas than Chicago.

All around, the weather may seem like it was backward during fall of 2011.

"There has been no blocking pattern," said Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity about why the fall weather has been so strange. "You have to get big cold highs over northeastern Canada with a blocking pattern to allow cold air to rush into the Northeast U.S. ahead of storms."

"With blocking, storms slow down near the East Coast and really get cranking with good snowfall in the Northeast."

Historic Halloween Weekend Snowstorm

Perhaps the most memorable storm during the fall of 2011 was the Northeast snowstorm late in October, which struck Halloween weekend. Snowfall amounts from the storm shattered records.

An unprecedented 2.9 inches of snow for October was measured in New York City's Central Park.

A foot or more of snow clobbered areas from northeastern Pennsylvania through southern New Hampshire. Some of the heaviest snow totals included: Peru, Mass., 32.0 inches, Jaffrey, N.H., 31.4 inches, Plainfield, Mass., 30.8 inches, and Chesterfield, Mass., 28.0 inches.

SEE ALSO: Pictures, Videos from the Historic Northeast Snowstorm

The weight of snow on still leaf-bearing trees sent large branches crashing down, resulting in downed power lines and power outages for more than three million customers. Hundreds of thousands were in the dark for days after the storm due to the nature of damage. Connecticut was hardest-hit with long-lasting power outages that lasted more than a week for many.

The weight of snow proved too much for this tree, which crashed into a home in Berks County, Pa., during the Halloween weekend snowstorm. This photo was submitted by Facebook Fan Page Steve K.

Before the snow arrived in the Northeast, rare areas of the South were whitened first.

Warmth, Warmth and More Warmth for Midwest, East

With mild weather setting in following the Halloween weekend snowstorm in the Northeast, many have been left wondering whether winter will ever start.

Temperature Departures From Normal in Fall 2011

Degrees F
Burlington, Vt.
Boston, Mass.
Buffalo, N.Y.
Albany, N.Y.
New York City
Philadelphia, Pa.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Baltimore, Md.
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta, Ga.
Detroit, Mich.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Chicago, Ill.
Minneapolis, Minn.

It was such a mild fall across portions of the Midwest and Northeast that flowers were still in full bloom in December!

Lack of Snow, Abundance of Rain for Midwest, East

The above-normal warmth allowed for a snow deficit to accumulate across portions of the Midwest and Northeast for the season. However, numerous rounds of rain allowed many cities to set their wettest year on record during the fall.

Percentage of Normal Snowfall Received in Fall 2011

Boston, Mass.
Buffalo, N.Y.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Chicago, Ill.

Cities that received enough rain this fall for 2011 to go down in the record books as the wettest year on record include: Columbus, Toledo, and Cincinnati, Ohio, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Allentown, Pa., Bingamton, N.Y., and Newark, N.J.

Topsy-Turvey with More Snow in Parts Texas than Midwest, Northeast

"The storm track has been pushed down into the Southwestern states, allowing cold air to come down farther south in the Rockies (this year). This has set the stage for snow events in the Texas Panhandle," according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

A deadly blizzard slammed the southern Rockies and southern Plains the last week of fall, dropping record snow across portions of the Texas Panhandle.

A snow plow clears the road along I-70 near Solomon, Kan., Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. A deadly storm that halted travel throughout the Great Plains weakened Tuesday and officials reopened Interstate 40 in the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico, and portions of Interstate 70 in western Kansas that had been closed in both directions. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Dalhart, Texas, received 8.3 inches of snow during fall of 2011, nearly two times the normal snow for the season. At the same time, Chicago only got 1.7 inches for the season, while the normal snowfall there is 6.9 inches.


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