Starting around the latter part of January, a little over a year ago, the weather across our region suddenly turned very stormy. Snowfall through February and March was excessive, and a dry beginning to the winter led to spring flooding. The weather remained somewhat wet through summer, and then became excessively so in the fall and early winter. But again, around the middle of January, it very nearly stopped snowing. It is as if a precipitation switch had been full on and then was turned off.

The problem for weather forecasters is that these switches are difficult to perceive as they are happening. Our ability to see future weather with any useful precision really fades after about a week or so. There is never a grand look to the weather pattern that indicates it's about to go very wet or very dry for a long time.