Last year at this time the Garden state was buried under several feet of snow – and new storms were sweeping in every couple of days. Many Jersey residents said it was like living in the North Pole.

This past October – when a major snowstorm crippled many parts of the state – there were dire predictions that the upcoming winter might turn out to be one of the coldest, most brutal winters ever in Jersey- but it seems just the opposite has happened, with temperatures running 10 degrees above normal and hardly any trace of snow whatsoever.

So, what’s going on here?

Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers Dave Robinson says one reason why the winter has been so tame, is a weather situation known as La Nina.

“Generally a La Nina brings you rather mild, tranquil winters” he says, “it all has to do with the jet stream…La Nina is an ocean atmosphere phenomenon that is centered in the tropical Pacific… it has to do with equatorial Pacific distribution of warm water and cold water in the Pacific…It helps to drive the jet stream north of us and keep coastal storms at bay.”

What’s a little odd, says Robinson, is that we also had a La Nina situation last year – when it was so snowy and cold in January – but that was when “something called the North Atlantic Oscillation trumped La Nina.”

What does he think will happen from this point forward?

Robinson says “the next two weeks look to be on the mild and somewhat tranquil side in terms of storms…it’s possible we won’t see any snow this winter, however it would be rare…it’s more likely that we’ll pop a couple of snowstorms later in the season – and goodness, we’ve seen in recent years it only takes one big storm to give us a good push towards our seasonal average…predicting the weather more than 2 or 3 weeks in advance is extremely difficult because the reality is we’re about halfway between the poles and the equator – we’ve got a continent to our west and an ocean to our east – and it really confounds anything of any level of success or skill in long range projections on the weather or climate.”