Old man winter expected to return

By SAM BROWN/Montana State News

Although winter conditions have been drier than expected this winter, weather models show recent patterns are changing.

The jet stream, a current of air that runs west to east over the United States and brings moisture from the Pacific Ocean has been off its usual track, bringing snow and moisture north to Alaska and Canada.

The North Arctic Oscillation (NOA) is the culprit forcing the jet stream north and letting it linger there for much longer than expected. The NOA is a climate pattern in the North Atlantic Ocean, where differences in atmospheric pressure affect how storms track across the United States.

Fortunately this is expected to change.

The NAO is pushing north and allowing the jet stream to dip south bringing winter to the United States.  This is expected to shift over the next few weeks and stabilize at the end of February giving us a snowy spring.

This is great news for local ski resorts like Bridger Bowl and Big Sky both of which have had a slow start to the season.

Edited by Mary Koppy.

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