Published: Jan 21, 2011 9:59 PM EST
Updated: Jan 21, 2011 6:59 PM EST

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Major cities up and down the East Coast have gotten clobbered with more snow one month into winter than they usually get all season.

Cornell University professor Art DeGaetano says the culprit is an unpredictable phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation. It's an interaction of subtropical highs and polar lows that controls the flow of air along the East Coast.

 The colder air turns precipitation that would normally fall as rain into snow - even in the South.

Schools across the region are wondering how they'll make up for a week or more of snow days. Cities have used up their snow-removal budgets. And residents are already tired of buttoning up.

Danbury, Conn., Mayor Mark Boughton says he's "spending a lot of time praying for spring." His town hasn't had a chance between storms to take down Christmas lights on Main Street.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)