Here's why a record-setting lack of snow in New York City is pretty chilling (2023)

Snow has been a no-show in New York City this winter, the longest stretch without measurable accumulation in the several decades that meteorologists have been paying attention to this figure.

New York isn’t alone, as much of the East Coast has been blanketed in a gray, rainy and noticeably warmer 2022-2023 winter.

As of Monday, New York City set a record: the deepest run into the winter season without a measurable first snow, at 325 days.

“Measurable,” at least in New York, is defined as snow sticking at a minimum of a tenth of an inch. This stretch of days beats the former deepest push into the season without a first NYC snow, a streak snapped on Jan. 29, 1973. The city usually gets its first snowfall around mid-December; last season it was on Christmas Eve.

Plus, if it doesn’t snow between now and next week in New York City, another marker for the record books will be made: the longest run of consecutive days without measurable snow, period. The U.S.’s largest metropolitan area has not tallied measurable snow since last March 22. The record currently is the 332 days with no snow set on Dec. 15, 2020.

“In reality, there are three separate chances of getting a small amount of snow in NYC, but each of these an extreme long shot. If we miss the boat on any measurable snow this week, we will likely go for at least a week to 10 days before we have another chance at measurable snow in NYC,” says David Dombek, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.

(Video) Warm weather, lack of snow a concern for Central Park

If the second record is broken, that means two of the longest snowless periods have happened in recent memory.

And while people taking advantage of a walkable NYC might cheer the chance to leave their boots at home and toss on a lighter jacket, there are bigger implications to these “enjoyable” streaks of unseasonably mild weather.

Namely, it’s what records like this tell us about climate change, and whether some characteristics might simply be chalked up to routine weather phenomenon.

Part of the New York City region’s warmer weather is thanks in part toLa Niña— a recurring warming climate pattern originating in the Pacific Ocean that is now on its third consecutive year. Weather experts say it looks like La Niña will be transitioning to a “neutral” impact later this winter into spring.

(Video) New York City Records Latest First Measurable Snow On Wednesday

Yet it’s not just this winter that is milder, and it’s clearly not an East Coast one-off. There’s been a warming trend since the 1970s, as detailed in this graphic.

Here's why a record-setting lack of snow in New York City is pretty chilling (1)

Summers may feel hotter, but the biggest global warming is in winter

Throughout most of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, this winter’s storms have either missed, or they just dumped rain because the air was so warm. The notable exception is Buffalo, N.Y., which has been walloped by several lake-effect storms that dropped snow by the foot and cost dozens of lives because people were trapped in homes or cars.

Some of the same patterns are seen as far west as Chicago, which trends colder and snowier than New York City, in part because it, like Buffalo, is on a Great Lake. In Chicago, snow accumulation has been light and the only remarkable deep freeze the entire season so far was a short-lived, frigid Christmas weekend.

Warmer temperatures may feel soothing on our skin or allow us to push our morning run a bit further, but there are consequences, including for the rest of the year. Importantly, Buffalo’s story is as much a key sign of changing winter patterns as a gray, snowless New York City.

(Video) Central Park records its 1st measurable snowfall of winter

Scientists sayextreme weather events, such as the Buffalo blizzard, could happen more often or be more intense as the Earth’s climate changes. That’s because average air temperatures have been warming across the planet for decades, and as they do, the atmosphere holds morewater vaporin some locations, increasing the potential for extreme rain and snow events, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Warmer temperatures mean it takes longer for the Great Lakes to freeze over in the fall and winter, says David Easterling, chief of the climate assessments section for NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Open water simplymeans more fuel for nature’s snow machine known as lake-effect snow.

And there is evidence that strong warming in the Arctic —two times the rateof the rest of the world — can weaken the jet stream, allowing for frigid polar air topenetrate farther souththan normal on occasion.

In other areas,warmer temperaturescreate rain instead of snow, and extreme rain at that, which can pose flooding issues and other aggravations for commuters. Much of the eastern half of the U.S. has seen an increase in extreme rainfall events in recent years.

Summers may be getting warmer, too, but nothing like what’s happening in winter. We are seeing the results of global warming the most during winter, as it is the fastest-warming season in38 U.S. states. In the Northeast, winter haswarmed three times fasterthan summer in recent decades, says Ilisa Ocko, senior climate scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund.

Northern winters have heated up the most, with more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming in Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin since 1970. Warming rates are often greater at higher latitudes partly because of a decrease in snow cover, which exposes darker land surfaces that absorb more sunlight, she explains.

(Video) Historic winter storm creates life-threatening weather conditions l WNT

As for the western U.S., scant snow and related drought conditions may be improving, but risks of a repeat are very real. Less snow has led to a decline in the amount of snow covering North America, and warmer weather has caused the snowpack —especially in the West— to melt weeks earlier than in the 1960s.

The declining snowpack and earlier snowmelt reduce streamflow, affecting crucial freshwater supply for agricultural, residential and commercial purposes. It alsoincreases the potential for wildfiresdue to decreases in moisture.

And even a very wet few months for California — including dangerous floods — will only partially pull the region out of its megadrought.

Mother Nature’s head fake

For much of the U.S., warmer winter weather can be devastating to crops and garden plants when theylack the cooler weatherthey need for a chilled dormancy — an important life stage that, if absent, can lead to less fruit production and weakened plants that are more vulnerable to pests. If plants bloom too early, say before migrating pollinators arrive and the last freeze happens, development cycles will be missed or those early blooms can face a spring freeze.

There’s also a bit of changed psychology to it all. “An ‘average’ winter or ‘typical’ cold streak feels colder to us now, because we are used to the warmer temperatures,” says Ocko.

It’s also true that while winters as a whole are milder, when some areas are hit with a winter storm, singular events have gotten more severe. More than 40% of counties in the country have had their biggest two-day snow totals since 1980.

(Video) Create a Short to 'Pink Venom' & show us your moves with #PinkVenomChallenge only on YouTube Shorts

“Even though the winter has been snowless so far, that does not mean that there can’t be some nasty wintry weather with snow, ice and cold temperatures later in February and even into March. In some winters, the worst weather occurs late in the game,” says AccuWeather’s Dombek.

“If late season cold and snow does not happen and we remain mild with above normal temperatures, then we could set up a situation this spring where blossoms and flowers come out unusually early and then run the risk of being killed by a frost and freeze,” he said. “If that affects agricultural crops such as fruit trees or vineyards, then it could have major impacts on supply and price.”


Are winters getting warmer in NY? ›

Across the northeastern U.S., winters are warming faster than any other season. Over the last century, average winter temperatures have increased by approximately 3°F, spring temperatures by 2°F, and summer and fall temperatures by 1.4°F. In New York, winters have warmed three times faster than summers.

What month is it most likely to snow in New York? ›

New York weather in January

The cold means that January is the most likely month to see snow and ice, with an average 6 days of snowfall during the month.

Why is New York always so cold? ›

The city is located in the eastern United States, at almost 41 degrees north latitude, on the edge of a continent that cools down in winter and heats up in summer, and where different air masses collide: the cold ones coming from Canada and the warm ones coming from the Gulf of Mexico.

Does NYC get a lot of snow? ›

Snowfall is an infrequent occurrence in the city, on average occurring on only 12 days per year, though it can be heavy when it occurs. The city can also be prone to strong winds, being a coastal location it is exposed to the Atlantic.

Why is there no snow in New York? ›

The lack of snowfall, according to Dave Radell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of New York, has resulted from the tracks of recent storms: Their centers were north and west of the city, while temperatures were warmer in the five boroughs.

Will it snow in nyc 2023? ›

Weather observers at Central Park's Belvedere Castle officially measured 0.4 inches of snowfall as of 6 a.m. EST Wednesday morning. New York City recorded 0.4 inches of snow early Wednesday morning, Feb. 1, 2023, ending a 328-day snowless streak in the city.

What is the snowiest city in New York? ›

1. Syracuse, New York: 127.8 inches. Syracuse takes home the crown as the snowiest city in America, averaging 127.8 inches each winter.

What state gets the most snow? ›

The snowiest state of all is New Hampshire, which gets an average of 174.35 inches of snow each year. This is followed by Maine, which gets 92 inches annually and Vermont, with 80.2 inches. Alaska and Wyoming come next, with 79.6 and 77.33 inches respectively.

What place in America gets the most snow? ›

Mount Rainier and Mount Baker in Washington are the snowiest places in the United States which have weather stations, receiving 645 inches (1,640 cm) annually on average. By comparison, the populated place with the highest snowfall in the world is believed to be Sukayu Onsen in the Siberian-facing Japanese Alps.

How do people survive cold in New York? ›

15 Tips to Stay Warm at Home and Keep Your House Warm
  1. Wear more layers. ...
  2. These down booties have been a lifesaver since my feet run cold. ...
  3. Electric blanket to heat up our bed before sleep.
  4. Let the sunlight in during the day. ...
  5. Hang insulating shades or blackout curtains on windows to reduce heat loss.
Nov 1, 2022

What is the coldest town in NY? ›

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the coldest town in New York is Saranac. January is the coldest month with an average low of 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. On average, there are 291.4 days a year where the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Why doesn t it snow anymore? ›

In addition to changing the overall rate of precipitation, climate change can lead to changes in the type of precipitation. One reason for the decline in total snowfall is because more winter precipitation is falling in the form of rain instead of snow.

Will NYC get a lot of snow this winter? ›

November 2022 to October 2023. Winter temperatures will be below normal, while precipitation and snowfall will be above normal. The coldest periods will be in early December, early and late January, and most of February.

How does NYC get rid of snow? ›

Snow melters have been used in the city for more than 20 years to help clear up the mountains of snow that can accumulate from the snow removal process. The snow is condensed into a one- to two-block radius in giant piles and melted down into sewage lines. The melted snow is then redirected to a water treatment center.

Who gets the most snow in NY? ›

New York Average Snow City Rank
RankAverage Snow ▼City / Population
1.191.37 inchesAva, NY
2.188.31 inchesTaberg, NY
3.185.42 inchesLee Center, NY
4.183.07 inchesWesternville, NY
160 more rows

Will it snow in New York for New Years? ›

New Year's Day is often snowy for much of the northeastern United States and the western mountains.
Chances of Snow on New Year's Day for USA Cities.
CitySnow on GroundSnowfall
Buffalo, New York5846
Charlotte, North Carolina22
Chicago, Illinois4125
14 more rows

Has it ever not snowed in NYC? ›

"Right now that record is 332 days," Carfagno said of the last streak, which was set on Dec. 15, 2020. "We are currently sitting in 2nd place with 326 snowless days as of Sunday Jan 29," Carfagno said. "... There has never been a season with no snow all winter in NYC."

When did it last snow in New York City? ›

Nearly half an inch of snow fell in Central Park early Wednesday morning. The last time the city saw snowfall was on March 9, 2022, when 0.4 inches were recorded.

What will NYC be like in 2050? ›

By the 2050s, New York City will be hotter than ever before. Average temperatures are expected to increase by up to 5.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and as many as 1,500 people may die each summer from intense heat — almost five times more than today.

What are the worst winter months in New York? ›

Winter in New York

During January and February, minimum temperatures can reach below zero with a maximum of 35.6°F (2°C). This temperature, plus the humidity and rain, makes it sometimes difficult to visit the city and you might want to visit other destinations during the coldest months of the year.

When was the worst snow storm in NYC? ›

The all-time snowfall record in New York City was set on Jan. 22-23 in 2016. Central Park was buried in 27.5 inches of snow – more than 2 feet – according to the National Weather Service. The 2016 blizzard eclipsed New York City's previous record of 26.9 inches set on Feb.

What is the snowiest city on earth? ›

Aomori City, Japan

What to do: Located on Honshu Island, Aomori City holds the title of snowiest city in the world, and winter is the best time to take advantage of seafood (like scallops) at the Furukawa Fish Market.

What city has the best snow? ›

Snowfall Totals by City
RankCityAverage annual snowfall
1VALDEZ, AK316.8
156 more rows

What state never has snow? ›

# 1 of states with the least snow – Hawaii

Much like Florida, Hawaii's average yearly snowfall is non-existent. It also boasts highs in the 80s and lows in the upper 60s. Weather like this should certainly make you consider saying “Aloha” to Hawaii in the winter months.

What state gets no snow? ›

Snow falls in 49 of the 50 states in most winters; Florida being the lone exception. Northern portions of Florida, especially in the panhandle, experience some flurries during most, but not all winters.

What US state has never seen snow? ›

Where Has It Never Snowed In the U.S.? Extreme South Florida: Within the “Sunshine State,” no city south of Homestead has ever observed snow. Florida's low latitude and low elevation mean temperatures rarely get cold enough for snow to fall, let alone accumulate on the ground.

Which state gets the most rain? ›

In the United States in 2021, Mississippi recorded 66.84 inches of precipitation, the highest amount of within the contiguous 48 states that year. Nevada was the driest state, with only 9.56 inches of precipitation recorded.

What is the coldest city in the United States? ›

1. Fairbanks, Alaska. With a minimum average temperature of about minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit, Fairbanks takes the cake as the coldest city in the U.S. The northernmost major city in Alaska, Fairbanks has seen record cold temperatures reaching minus 66 degrees in the past.

What salary do you need to survive in New York? ›

Typical Expenses
0 Children2 Children
Required annual income after taxes$44,449$96,098
Annual taxes$8,893$22,901
Required annual income before taxes$53,342$118,999
7 more rows

How do homeless people survive in extreme cold? ›

To help them endure rainy, cold weather, people experiencing homelessness depend on donations of winter coats, warm hats and gloves, socks and blankets.

How do people survive in NYC summer without AC? ›

Put your bathroom fan and your kitchen exhaust fan to use. They remove the warm air that rises from the stove or the shower, leaving your apartment home crisper and cooler. And as NYC cools off at night, you might comfortably reap benefits from going AC-free when you're sleeping.

Where is it 70 degrees year round in the United States? ›

Where is it 70 degrees year-round in the U.S.? While temperatures fluctuate throughout the year in most U.S. states, there are some that see averages around 70-degree weather year-round. These states include Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico.

What's the hottest city in New York? ›

You could even ask "which place" is the warmest? According to Cheapism, the warmest town or city in New York is in fact, New York City. The warmest place period, on average, is La Guardia Airport, which averages 1 degree higher than the rest of the city at 63 degrees.

What's the warmest place in New York? ›

New York City, Hudson Valley, and Long Island are the warmest in New York State because of warmer ocean temperatures which keep these area between 37–42 °F (2 to 5 °C), warmer than locations upstate. Downstate nights typically range between 27–31 °F.

What year will snow stop? ›

Scientists say a winter without snow could be here as early as 2040. Here's everything you can do to help fight climate change. In most places, winter doesn't feel complete without snowfall.

Are winters getting colder? ›

But the scientific jury is still out. The data is clear: Rising global temperatures mean winters are getting milder, on average, and the sort of record-setting cold that spanned the country Friday is becoming rarer.

Will it stop snowing due to climate change? ›

Global warming is a factor that most probably will change snowfall and snowpack in the future.

Will January 2023 be cold? ›

Further fall in minimum temperatures by about 2°C very likely over many parts of Northwest & central India till 17th January and gradual rise by 3-5°C during 18th-21st January. Fall in minimum temperatures by 2-3°C very likely over East India till 17th and gradual rise by 2-3°C during 18th-21st January.

Has it snowed in the summer in New York? ›

Between June 6th and June 8th accumulating snow was observed as far south as the Catskills in New York (where one inch was reported) and highlands of central and northwest Pennsylvania. Snowflakes were seen at sea level as far south as ten miles north of tidewater on the Hudson River just above New York City.

How likely is it to snow in New York at Christmas? ›

On average, New York City receives 4.8 inches of snow in December. The first measurable snowfall typically takes place around Dec. 14. Statistically, Central Park has only an 11% chance each year of having that happen.

How many inches of snow will NYC get in 2022? ›

AccuWeather is predicting 18 to 23 inches of snow will fall in New York City this season, below the normal of 29.8 inches.

How much snow will NYC get 2022? ›

More than 92 inches of snowfall was experienced by the city with a population of nearly 277,000 people by Dec. 25, 2022. Typically, 28.3 inches of accumulation is experienced there by Christmas.

Who cleans the snow in NYC? ›

According to the NYC Administrative Code, every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any lot or building must clean snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent (i.e., in front of, on the side of, in back of) to their properties.

Will New York have a cold winter 2022? ›

Cold and snowy weather will make appearances in the New York City area during the first half of the winter but will be broken up by spells of milder, snowless conditions. The second half of the winter will play out much differently with more chances for Arctic outbreaks and snow, including the chance for nor'easters.

What will winter 2022 be like in nyc? ›

A near-normal temperature profile is expected this winter in NYC, with colder risks early and warmer risks later in the winter. Precipitation is forecast to average above normal for the winter months. Snowfall is expected to average slightly above normal.

Are winters getting hotter? ›

Climate Central reports that winters across the contiguous US have warmed by an average of nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last half century. And northern states are seeing an even larger impact, with over 5 degrees Fahrenheit of average winter warming in Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Will 2022 be a hard winter? ›

Winter temperatures will be much milder than normal, with the coldest periods in mid- to late November, early December, and late January. Precipitation and snowfall will be below normal, on average, with the snowiest periods in early November, mid-December, late January, and early February.

What month does it start getting cold in NYC? ›

During January and February, minimum temperatures can reach below zero with a maximum of 35.6°F (2°C). This temperature, plus the humidity and rain, makes it sometimes difficult to visit the city and you might want to visit other destinations during the coldest months of the year.


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