South Brunswick kids whose sleds were collecting dust last school year from the lack of snow may be in for a heavier blast of winter weather this year.
After a mild winter marked by only experts are anticipating a much more active season this school year. Last winter, about nine of the country's snowiest cities had less than 60 percent of their normal snowfall in an average year, according to USA Today. The lack of snow allowed many schools to end the year early and provided some extra days off during the spring for South Brunswick students.
The strength of El Niño or La Niña is used to project how active the winter season is going to be, according to AccuWeather.com. With meteorologists projecting a weak El Niño this year, that could be good news for snow day starved kids.
Weak El Niños have typically led to snow filled winters for most major Northeast cities, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.
"Historically, both strong La Niñas and weak El Niños have produced higher-than-average snowfall in the Northeastern U.S.," Boston said. "In contrast, "weak La Niñas and strong El Niños historically bring lower-than-average snowfall."
A weak El Niño in 2009 brought record snowfall in December to Philadelphia, which saw about 23 inches of snow, according to AccuWeather.
For 2010-11, South Brunswick was forced to extend the school year by adding days in April and May to account for several days cancelled by heavy snow and ice.
District officials said that accounting for the safety of students walking to school is one of the most important factors at play in a cancellation, as well as road conditions for 72-passenger buses. Officials advised residents to not judge a decision to cancel school based on what another district decides to do, because each district has different factors involved, such as the number of students who walk to school.
"We can make up a school day, but if something happens to a kid in transport to school, that is something we can't make up,"
While the timing of Hurricane Irene allowed the despite damage to several township schools, New Jersey may not be out of the woods yet for hurricane season this year.
AccuWeather.com predicted an average season of about five hurricanes and 12 tropical storms this year, which is less active than the seven hurricanes and 19 tropical storms in 2011. Hurricane season peaks in September and runs through the end of November.
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