Have you been struck with confusion about the weather this winter? Massachusetts is known for having blizzards and heavy snowfall during the cold season, and in the past, snow has presented a danger to daily commutes to workplaces and schools. However, recent years have shown dwindling measures of snow, and most snow days have been induced by pity.

According to The Fifth National Climate Assessment, winters will contain more wet precipitation in areas like Concord where snow would normally be expected. This is due to the warming climate, as well as El Niño. El Niño is an atmospheric and oceanic occurrence that is the warm phase of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The pattern describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the Equatorial Pacific. La Niña is the cold counterpart. The phenomenon occurs irregularly around every 2-7 years and contributes greatly to severe changes in the atmosphere and weather. The length of each pattern lasts around 6-24 months. The Climate Prediction Center reports that there is a 75% to 85% chance that we see a “strong” El Niño this winter and a 30% chance it will conclude as the most powerful ever recorded. Since El Niño brings extra precipitation to the southern half of the country, its impacts on Massachusetts seem to vary. However, according to WWLP22News, trends indicate that New England normally experiences less snow during winters impacted by strong El Niños.

CA experienced an icy first day back from winter break on Monday, January 8; the Quad was covered in snow, and buildings were decorated with icicles. Whispers of “it is so pretty,” abounded during breaks and transitions between classes. It was a magical first day back, and though many were able to enjoy it, the weather caused delays for some international students traveling to campus. Many flights from other countries were delayed for hours or even days, causing some boarders to miss the first few days back.

Though January was not the most generous snow-wise, CA had the first (half) snow day of the year on January 16. All classes were canceled after 12:35 p.m., giving students a break for the rest of the day. Since then, snow has remained on campus, having turned slightly icy but still granting students the fitting feel of winter. In February, Concord can expect more snow, and hopefully more snow days as well! Though there will be less likelihood of looking out of the Stu-Fac window and seeing a winter wonderland, the slimmer chances of snowfall have made the rare days abundant with snow more deeply cherished, and thus more valuable.