There has been much talk this week that this weekend’s storm is the same one that hit our area around Christmas. The mixing of warm tropical air with the colder weather in the arctic triggers waves to form in the upper-level wind flow over the Northern Hemisphere. These waves of varying shapes and sizes generally flow slowly from west to east around the globe. Low pressure systems tend to form on the troughs of these waves.
The wave that helped develop the snows around Christmas has been slowly circumnavigating the globe, but the original area of low pressure that triggered our heavy snow event around Christmas dissipated as it moved into northeastern Canada. But the atmospheric wave associated with the storm did trigger additional areas of low pressure of differing intensities as it moved around the globe. Therefore, one storm did not move completely around the world, but the same piece of atmospheric “energy” has reappeared in the United States.