Western New York is a little below average, and for once, residents might be happy to hear it.

The region has received 38.2 inches of snow so far this winter, 2.4 inches below the norm for this time of the year. Last year at this time, we had about 25 inches.

There’s a simple explanation, according to meteorologist Bill Hibbert of the National Weather Service.

“It just hasn’t been cold enough,” he said

The area had a much snowier November than is normal, but we’ve seen almost nothing since Dec. 20, when the temperatures rose above freezing. And down came the rain to wash the snow away.

“We always talk about the jet stream,” he said. “It’s far enough north of us that we weren’t part of that cold air.”

That luxury won’t last forever, though, Hibbert said.

“We’ve had some colder excursions, but it will eventually settle back down to a near normal cold pattern here in the second half of January.”

But it could always be worse. The snowiest winter on record was 1976-77, when the area’s most well-known blizzard dumped the majority of a 199.4 inches on the area.

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