Many folks across the eastern portion of the United States are wondering why this winter has turned so cold and ugly. It has to do with a couple of weather events. The most important is El Nino. El Nino, a warming of the Pacific Ocean equatorial region, has given us numerous storms this fall and winter. It certainly has encouraged a wet and chilly weather pattern. Also, significant warming has occurred in the Arctic region this winter. This warming typically forces colder air farther south than usual. The combination of those events and a few other variables has give most of the East one of the most brutal winters in about 30 years. We've seen some of the coldest temperatures in eastern North Carolina than we've seen in almost 30 years. The forecast over the next two weeks offers little encouragement. It may definitely go down as a winter to remember.