Today in New York Weather History: January 30
Today in New York Weather History: January 31

A History of New York City Snowstorms Since 1900

Clipart_shoveling_snow

 

Since 1900 New York has experienced 31 snowstorms of one-foot or more (about once every four years).  An additional 23 storms have dumped between 10 and 12 inches.  The summary of storms that follows lists not only these big ones but others in the five to ten-inch range, since even these can be debilitating, especially in Manhattan (these smaller storms often produced greater accumulations in the suburbs).  The storms, approximately 125 in total, are arranged by calendar date.  If you'd like to see a list arranged by each winter, double click here.  So, without further adieu, let the  the roll-call of snowstorms begin ...

 

 

JANUARY

Jan. 1, 1971 - Old Man Winter waited until New Year's Eve revelers returned home before dumping the largest snowfall of the winter.  6.4" of snow accumulated between 4AM-4PM, with much of it falling in the storm's initial three hours.  This was the century's largest New Year's Day snowfall (and second all-time after a nine-inch snowstorm way back in 1869).

Jan. 2, 1925 - A blizzard dumped close to a foot of snow (11.5").  Snow began falling around daybreak and lasted until 11PM.  In addition to snow there were also periods of heavy sleet in the early afternoon.  Temperatures throughout the storm were in the mid-20s, but howling winds gusting between 35-40 mph produced wind chills in the single digits.

Jan. 2-3, 2014 - A sprawling winter storm moved into the area during the evening with snow beginning at 6:30 and continuing into the overnight hours.  In total 6.4" fell.  Besides snow and gusty winds, there was Arctic cold to contend with as the mercury fell from the upper 20s when the snow started to 18° by midnight (and down to 11° by daybreak on Jan. 3).

Jan. 3-4, 1923 - The biggest snowfall of the winter began this afternoon and continued until daybreak on the 4th, accumulating nine inches.  The temperature fell slowly through the storm, dropping from 33° to 29°.

Jan. 4, 1988 - The City woke up to 5.8" of snow that fell overnight (four inches of it today).  It was the winter's biggest snowfall.  Four days later a steady light snow fell throughout the day, accumulating an additional 5.4"

Jan. 4, 2018 - An intense nor'easter created whiteout conditions late in the morning into the early afternoon, with snow accumulating close to ten inches by the time it ended later in the afternoon.  This snowfall easily broke the previous record for snowfall on this date (in 1988) - and today's accumulation of 9.8" was slightly more than last winter's biggest snowfall (9.4" on Feb. 9).  Temperatures were in the mid-20s throughout the storm and, combined with winds that gusted close to 35 mph, produced wind chills around 10°.  Today was also the tenth consecutive day in which the high was colder than 32°, making it the longest such streak since one of 12 days in January 2003.

 

Blizzard viewed from office window
Office view of the storm

 

Jan. 7-8, 1996 - A crippling blizzard began Sunday afternoon and continued until early afternoon the next day.  It immobilized an area from West Virginia through Massachusetts and dumped 20.2" on Central Park, the third greatest snow total in NYC history (13.6" fell on Jan. 7 and 6.6" on Jan. 8, records for the dates).  At one point five inches of snow fell between 5-7PM.  Wind gusts of 40-50 mph whipped the snow into three and four-foot drifts on many side streets. 

Areas west of the City reported considerably more snow than Central Park: 32" in Staten Island; 28" in Newark; 26" in Allentown, PA; and 31" in Philadelphia.  Temperatures were also very cold with a high/low of just 22/12 on the 7th and 23/16 on the 8th.  

 

Blizzard96_greenwich_ave
Looking west on Greenwich Ave.

 

Jan. 10-12, 1954 - Light snow fell for 39 hours, beginning mid-afternoon on 1/10 and ending in the pre-dawn hours of 1/12.  A total of 8.4" piled up, with 2.2" falling on the 10th, 5.4" accumulating on the 11th, and 0.8" falling on the 12th.  This was the biggest snowfall in five years. 

Jan. 11, 1991 - 5.7" of snow accumulated during the afternoon and evening before changing to rain overnight as the temperature rose into the mid-30s (close to one inch of rain fell).  Despite the changeover it was a record amount of snow for the date.

Jan. 11-12, 2011 - Snow began the night of the 11th (three inches fell by midnight) and was over by daybreak, totaling 9.1".  The 6.1" that fell during the morning of the 12th was a record for the date. 

 

Taxi_in_snow
This photo was napped shortly after midnight in Greenwich Village on 7th Ave. South near Sheridan Square.

 

Jan. 12-13, 1964 - Snow began falling late on the 12th and then continued for almost the entire day on the 13th.  12.5" accumulated by the time the snow ended around 11 PM.  Temperatures were very cold, ranging between 18° and 22°, then dropping into the frigid low teens in the last hours of the storm.  Besides the cold and snow there were also high winds that gusted over 40 mph, producing wind chills around zero degrees.  This blast of winter came after a week-and-a-half of mild temperatures to start the month.     

Jan. 13, 1939 - Beginning mid-afternoon, a snowfall of 8.8" (1.0" fell on 1/14) tied the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 11/24-25 as the biggest snowfall of the season.

Jan. 13, 1982 - A late afternoon/nighttime snowstorm that dumped 5.8" on NYC was the same winter system that affected Washington, DC earlier in the afternoon when an Air Florida jet crashed into the Potomac River minutes after takeoff, killing 78.  The following day an additional 3.5" of snow fell from an "Alberta clipper" that moved through in the evening hours.

Jan. 14, 1910 - The biggest snowfall of the winter blanketed the City with 10" (0.5" of it fell on 1/15).  This came three weeks after a snowfall of eight inches (on Christmas Day).  Snow began falling shortly after midnight and fell steadily through late afternoon.  After the temperature rose to 33° late in the morning it fell steadily until 9PM when it was 20°.

Jan. 14, 1923 - Snow began falling after 10 AM, and by 5 PM 7.8" had accumulated; then it changed to light rain for the next three hours as the temperature rose into the mid-30s.

Jan 14-15, 2004 - Typically, based on a 1:10 water-to-snow conversion ratio, 0.15" of liquid precipitation should produce 1.5 inches of snow.  However, because both days were so frigid (high/lows of 17°/9° and 18°/2°), and the air so dry, this amount of precipitation produced 5.7" of fluffy snow.  It started falling the night of the 14th and continued until daybreak on the 15th.  (Two days earlier a half-inch of snow was produced from a "trace" of liquid.)

Jan. 19, 1936 - A winter storm brought heavy snow, sleet and gusty winds.  After beginning as light rain late last night, nine inches of snow piled up in the morning (mostly between 3:00-9:00) and the afternoon saw an onslaught of sleet that was propelled by 25-35 mph winds, producing wind chills in the single digits (the air temperature was in the mid-20s).  The sleet accumulated 2.5".

Jan. 19-20, 1961 - This became known as the Kennedy Snowstorm because it occurred the night before JFK was sworn in as president.  Snow began late in the afternoon on the 19th and continued until late in the morning the next day.  Temperatures fell from the low 20s to mid-teens and winds gusted between 25 and 35 mph.  Because of the very cold temperatures, 0.50" of liquid precipitation produced 9.9" of snow (nearly 14 inches piled up in Newark).  The storm ushered in an Arctic high pressure system that would stay locked in place over the Northeast for more than two weeks, resulting in an unprecedented 16 days in a row in which the temperature never rose higher than 29° at Central Park.

Jan. 20, 1978 - Snow that began yesterday evening fell at a rate of an inch per hour between 2-7:00 AM, and by 2 PM 13.6" had fallen.  This was Central Park's biggest snowfall since the "Lindsay snowstorm" of February 1969.  (However, in less than three weeks this storm would be largely forgotten, overshadowed by the great blizzard of February 1978.) 

 

1978_snowstorm

 

Jan. 20, 2000 - The largest snowfall of the winter, 5.5", caught forecasters by surprise.  The accumulation was held down when sleet and freezing rain mixed in.  This storm buried Raleigh, NC with 20.3" of snow, the largest snowfall in that city's history.

Jan. 21, 2001 - A quick-moving snowstorm dumped six inches of snow on Sunday morning, a record for the date.  The flakes stopped flying by 8 AM.

Jan. 21, 2014 - A wind-driven snow began at around 9 AM and fell throughout the day and evening, with 11" on the ground by midnight - a record for the date (an additional 0.5" fell after midnight).  Besides wind and snow, the storm was made more fierce by Arctic cold, with temperatures in the teens all day.  The storm extended from DC to Boston.  Its timing couldn't have been worse for commuters, who had to contend with getting home in the teeth of the storm.  Accumulations were even greater on Long Island. 

Jan. 22, 1987 - A daytime snowstorm dumped 8.1" of snow on the City while much of Long Island picked up a foot or more.  (Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware and South Jersey bore the brunt of the storm.)  The City's accumulation was held down when sleet mixed in.  This was New York's biggest snowfall in four years and wouldn't be topped until the March 1993 Superstorm. 

Jan. 22-23, 1935 - This was a two-stage storm.  On 1/22 precipitation began in the morning as rain which changed to snow around mid-day as the temperature fell from the low 40s into the upper 20s; five inches was measured.  Then after a 13-hour break, winds shifted from the northwest to northeast and heavy snow returned late on the morning of 1/23.  Between 1:00 and 7:00 PM it fell at a rate of an inch or more per hour and accumulated nearly thirteen inches.  Flakes fell until the wee hours of the next day.  Temperatures fell slowly throughout the day, dropping from 26° to 18° (and they'd continue to fall slowly the following day).  This was the first snowstorm of a foot or more in nine years. 

Jan. 22-23, 2005 - A weekend snowstorm began early Saturday afternoon and by daybreak Sunday 13.8" had fallen (8.5" fell on Saturday, 5.3" on Sunday).  After a very cold morning low of 9° on the 22nd, the days high of 25° was reached at midnight.  This was the biggest January snowstorm since the blizzard of 1996. 

Jan. 23, 2016 - A blizzard of epic proportions dumped 27.5" of snow and stopped the City in its tracks.  Starting late last night (1/22), blinding snow and strong winds lasted for 24 hours (peak gust at Central Park was 43 mph).  The storm's total accumulation made it the biggest snowstorm on record, moving it ahead of the snowstorm of  Feb. 11-12, 2006 that dumped 26.9" on the City. 

The accumulation from today's storm was more than double what had been predicted as the storm's snow shield moved further north than expected (accumulations of 20" to 30" extended from DC northeastward to the NYC metropolitan area).  Snow fell at a rate of one to two inches for 14 consecutive hours (4AM-6PM).  As a result, the City issued a traffic ban on all streets in the five boroughs; all Broadway shows cancelled their performances.  At the time of the storm the accumulation was reported at 26.8", but in late April the National Weather Service revised it upward by 0.7".

 

TimesSquare.Blizzard2016
Literally, the Great White Way ...

 

Jan. 24-25, 1905 - Snow began falling after 9 PM and continued for 24 hours, accumulating 11".  It was a fluffy snow with just 0.54" of water content.  During the course of the storm the temperature dropped from mid-20s to low teens.  Snow fell heaviest between 8 AM and noon on the 25th when an Arctic front moved through.  Besides the cold and snow, the afternoon also featured gusty winds (25-30 mph).

Jan. 26-27, 2011 - Snow began falling heavily by late afternoon and blizzard conditions developed after nightfall.  By midnight close to 13 inches had fallen, and by the time the snow wound down at daybreak on the 27th, 19 inches had piled up.  (This was just one month after the post-Christmas blizzard socked NYC with 20 inches.)  Shortly after midnight I ventured outside to snap photos and found traffic mostly at a standstill on the streets of the West Village, with taxis on Seventh Ave. pointed every which way.  The quiet usually associated with a snowfall was broken by the sound of spinning tires.  This furious spinning produced an odor of burning rubber that pervaded the air.      

The 6.7" of snow that fell before daybreak on the 27th was a record for the date and brought the month's snow total to 36.0" - the most ever in January.  (Just one year earlier 36.9" of snow fell in February.)  In the past thirty-three days, beginning with the Christmas blizzard, an incredible 52" of snow fell.  And for the first time, New York had two snowstorms of 19" or more in one winter.

 

Snowcovered_cars

 

Jan. 26-27, 2015 - Light snow began falling around daybreak on 1/26 and fell steadily through the daytime hours; by evening close to five inches had accumulated.  A dry slot provided a break for about four hours before snow resumed after 11 PM, adding and additional five inches.  Although a substantial amount, the 9.8" that fell was considered a disappointment after 20"-30" was predicted (the storm's center moved 80 miles further east than models expected; Long Island and southeastern New England, however, received tremendous amounts.  Based on the forecast NYC schools were closed on 1/27 and the mayor urged businesses to let employees work from home.  Meanwhile the state's governor ordered the City's transit system shut down. 

Jan. 27-28, 2004 - Snow moved in after 8 PM and by the time it ended early the next morning 10.3" inches of powdery snow had accumulated (six inches of it fell on the 27th).  Jan. 27 was the fifth day in a row in which high temperatures were colder than 25°.

Jan. 28, 1943 - The winter's nastiest storm dropped 7.1" of snow and sleet, which was accompanied by northeasterly winds that gusted to 34 mph.  Precipitation began at daybreak and continued through early evening.

Jan. 28-29, 1922 - New York was on the northern fringe of a winter storm that became known as the "Knickerbocker Snowstorm", named after a movie theater in Washington, DC whose roof collapsed from the weight of snow the night of 1/28, killing 98 moviegoers.  And although NYC escaped the paralyzing amounts of snow that piled up in Virginia, DC, Maryland and southeastern PA (6.5" fell in Central Park, the biggest snowfall of the winter), gale force winds clocked at between 35 and 50 mph howled for nearly 24 hours, beginning mid-day on the 28th.  Temperatures throughout the storm were in the 29° to 31° range, with chills in the low teens.

 

FEBRUARY 

Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2021 - A monster snowstorm that moved in the night of 1/31 (when two inches fell), buried the City on the first day of February, and largely exited by daybreak the following day.  In total, 17.4” of snow was measured, with 14.8” of it piling up on 2/1.  The rate of snowfall was greatest from mid-morning thru mid-afternoon.  The temperature rose from 22° just after midnight to 34° in the early evening, when the snow mixed with freezing rain and drizzle; this put a stop to further significant accumulation.  15”-24” accumulations were common throughout the region.  Besides the snow, high winds were also an issue, gusting between 30-40 mph in Central Park.  

With this snowstorm, the winter of 2020-21 became New York’s twelfth with two or more snowfalls of ten inches or more (the first one was on Dec. 16-17, when 10.4” fell).  This was New York’s biggest snowfall in five years (when New York had its biggest snowfall of all-time), and tied for the fifteenth greatest accumulation on record (with Feb. 3-4, 1961). 

Feb. 1, 1957 - A quick-moving snowstorm dumped 6.3" of snow between 1:00 and 10:00 PM. This was the biggest snowfall of the winter.

Feb. 3, 1996 - 7.5" of snow, which was over by daybreak, fell in advance of the coldest air of the winter.  This was the the third snowfall of six+ inches this winter (with one more of that magnitude two weeks later).  I had flown down to Key West for vacation the day before thinking I had escaped, but a few days later the Arctic cold penetrated all the way down to the Keys and it felt like more like fall.

Feb. 3, 2014 - One day after the high temperature was 56°, eight inches of heavy, wet snow fell during the morning and afternoon as the temperature hovered around the freezing mark.  Today's snowfall was a record for the date and was the third accumulation of six inches or more this winter (just the eighth winter since 1960 in which this has occurred).  Snow began falling less than nine hours after the Super Bowl, played in northern NJ, had ended.

 

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Feb. 3-4, 1961 - Snow began falling on the evening of 2/3, dumping six inches, and continued through the morning of the 4th, with an additional 11.4" piling up.  The snow that fell on 2/4 was heavy and wet and was driven by gale force winds.  This was the third major snowstorm of the winter, following 15.4" on Dec. 11-12 and 9.9" on Jan. 19-20.  However, those storms were characterized by very cold temperatures while this storm saw temperatures rise from the upper 20s to the mid-30s during the afternoon of the 4th, when the snow changed to rain.  This was the second winter in a row to have two snowstorms of one foot or more.  

Feb. 4, 1995 - Only 11.8" of snow fell during the winter of 1994-95 and almost all of it fell today as 10.8" of heavy, wet snow fell furiously on a Saturday morning (close to three inches fell between 6-7:00 AM) before changing over to rain at around 9 AM.  Then the coldest air of the winter moved in overnight. 

Feb. 4-5, 1907 - Snow began around noon and continued for nearly 24 hours, accumulating 11".  It fell heaviest between 8 PM and 4 AM.  Temperatures stayed in a narrow range of 19° to 22°.  This storm followed a snowfall of four inches on the first two days of the month.

Feb. 4-7, 1920 - One of New York's most extended onslaughts of winter weather of all time brought 72 hours of snow, sleet and freezing rain (beginning after 2 AM on 2/4 and ending around dawn on 2/7).  During this punishing storm, 4.41" of liquid precipitation fell, 17.5" of it in the form of snow (five to six inches of snow fell on 2/4, 2/5 and 2/6); the rest was sleet and freezing rain.  For much of the storm temperatures were in the 20s, and winds gusted between 35 and 45 mph, with wind chills in the single digits.

Feb. 5-6, 1908 - The day began bitterly cold with a low of 1° above zero (the coldest reading of the winter).  Then the temperature rose all day and was 32° by midnight.  Snow began falling in the afternoon and continued into the next day with four inches falling on each day.  After 8" had fallen the snow changed to rain as the temperature rose to 40° (it tumbled back to 29° by midnight). 

Feb. 6-7, 1978 - Less than three weeks after 13.6" of snow buried the City, an even bigger snowstorm struck.  Snow began before dawn and by midnight 15.5" had fallen in Central Park.  An additional 2.2" fell the next morning.  Snow, drifted by wind gusts of 30-40 mph, fell heaviest between 7 PM-1 AM, when it fell at a rate of more than an inch per hour.   

The storm's 17.7" accumulation made this New York's biggest snowstorm since Dec. 26-27, 1947, when 26.4" buried the City (later broken in February 2006).  This was the first winter in 17 years to have two snowstorms of one foot or more.  Snow would be on the ground in Central Park for the next five weeks.  

 

Weather_1978blizzard

 

Feb. 7, 1967 - One day after 2.7" of snow fell during the morning, a blizzard buried the City with 12.5" of snow in a 12-hour period (5A-5P).  Besides the heavy snow (which fell at a rate of an inch or more for six consecutive hours) what made this Tuesday blizzard even more noteworthy was the extreme cold as the day's high/low was just 16°/9° (the day's low occurred at 1 PM).  Winds gusting between 25-35 mph produced wind chills between -5° and -15°.

Feb. 8-9, 2013 - An intense winter storm developed off the Delmarva peninsula during the day and by nightfall near-blizzard conditions were common in NYC and points north and east.  An icy mix of light snow and wind blown sleet began at daybreak and fell throughout the day, becoming steadier and heavier after dark.  By midnight, 6.3" had fallen in Central Park; by the time the snow ended shortly before daybreak on Feb. 9, 11.4" had piled up.  This was the City's 15th biggest snowfall since 1970.  However, this amount was manageable compared to Suffolk County and New England, where accumulations of two to three feet were common.  

Feb. 8-9, 1994 - After January saw a large amount of sleet and freezing rain, New York finally got a storm that brought snow as nine inches fell.  It came down especially heavy between 9 AM-1 PM, but the snow predicted for the rest of the day didn't materialize as it came down as sleet.  Snow resumed after midnight and an additional 1.8" fell.

 

Snow_greenwichvillage_newell

 

Feb. 9, 2017 - The day after a record high of 62°, winter returned with unprecedented vengeance as 9.4" of heavy snow fell during the morning (mostly between 6 AM and noon), and temperatures were in the upper 20s.  Snow fell at a rate of an inch or more/hour, reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for six consecutive hours. By midnight temperatures had fallen to the upper teens.  Snowfall was in the 12"-15" range over most of Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut.  This drastic change in conditions exceeded that of Feb. 1-2, 2014 when eight inches of snow fell the day after a high of 56°.

 

Patience and fortitude

 

Feb. 9-10, 1969 -  A Sunday snowstorm that lasted for 26 hours dumped 15.3" of snow (14.0" today, 1.3" in the wee hours of 2/10).  Winds that gusted between 25 and 30 mph created snowdrifts of two to three feet. This storm became forever known as the "Lindsay Snowstorm" after the outer boroughs went unplowed for days, neglect that nearly toppled John Lindsay in his re-election bid as mayor later in the year.  Central Park was covered with snow from this storm for the rest of the month. 

Feb. 10, 1926 - Less than a week after a fierce blizzard brought 10.4" of snow and sleet (accompanied by wind gusts of 40-45 mph) another snowstorm dumped a foot on the City, much of it falling this morning between 3:00 and 9:00 (light snow began last night and accumulated 1.6").  Winds from this storm gusted between 30 and 35 mph.  Temperatures in the morning held steady in the low 20s and then fell slowly during the afternoon, reaching 11° by midnight.  (In a similar fashion, two snowstorms of 9.2" and 12.8" occurred just three days apart in early February during the winter of 1994.)

Feb. 10, 2010 - Four days after a monster snowstorm stopped short of New York's doorstep, another one made its presence known today and dumped 10" of heavy, wet snow.  Because the daytime temperature was just above freezing (the high was 34°) it prevented main streets from getting much in the way of accumulation.    

Feb. 11, 1933 - In just eight hours (1-9:00 AM) ten inches of snow fell, the biggest snowstorm in seven years.  Sleet mixed in during the final few hours even though temperatures were in the low 20s.

Feb. 11, 1983 - A monster snowstorm moved in Friday afternoon and continued until the wee hours of the morning on Saturday.  The storm really cranked up between 8-11 PM when six inches of snow came down.  When the last flakes had fallen 17.6" had piled up.  It was the biggest snowfall in New York since 1978 (when 17.7" fell on Feb. 5-7) and at the time was the sixth biggest snowstorm in NYC history (it's now ranked twelfth).

Feb. 11, 1994 - 12.8" of snow fell during a snowstorm that began shortly before daybreak and continued into Friday evening.  This was just three days after a nine-inch snowstorm and was Central Park's biggest snowfall since 1983, which happened to occur on this date as well. 

 

Stpatricks_in_snowstorm
A nearly deserted 5th Ave. near St. Patrick's Cathedral on the afternoon of Feb. 11, 1994.

 

Feb. 11-12, 2006 - New York was the bulls-eye for a record-setting amount of snow over the weekend.  Beginning the night of the 11th as light snow (2.8" fell by midnight), it turned heavier after midnight and between 4-10 AM Sunday morning the snow was falling at a rate of two inches/hour (between 8:25-9:25, nearly four inches piled up). 

When it was over 26.9" had fallen, a half-inch more than the City's previous record on Dec. 26-27, 1947.  Snowfall totals outside of New York were also impressive but not nearly as much as what Central Park picked up.  This storm accounted for two-thirds of the winter's total snowfall.  Only 1.3" of snow fell for the rest of the winter.

 

Washington_square_park-snowstomr
Snow-buried benches in Washington Square Park.

 

Feb. 12, 1975 - A quick-moving winter storm delivered the biggest snowfall of the winter, with 7.8" piling up between 8 AM-3 PM.  Snow fell at the rate of one-inch per hour for five consecutive hours.  This was the biggest snowfall of the eight winters from 1970 thru 1977. 

Feb. 13-14, 2014 - An intense storm system moved up the East Coast and brought with it high winds, heavy snow in the morning (9.5"), rain in the evening (accompanied by thunder & lightning) and more snow after midnight (3.0").  This was the winter's fourth snowfall of six inches or more, something that's happened in just one other winter since 1950 (in 1958).  This snowstorm brought the season's snowfall to 54.0", moving it up to seventh on the all-time list. 

 

Weather_snowypedestrians

 

Feb. 14, 1940 - It was a wintry day, as wind-blown sleet and snow fell throughout the day, accumulating 7.7" (an additional 1.3" fell overnight).  Late in the morning winds gusted to 50 mph.  Temperatures fell slowly, from the low-30s in the morning to low-20s by midnight.

Feb. 15-17, 1903 - This was a snow and sleet storm, which began mid-day on the 15th, continued through much of the 16th, and ended mid-day on the 17th.  In total 9.8" accumulated (accounting for all of February's snow).  During the first two days temperatures ranged between 28° and 30° then fell into the teens around daybreak on the 17th.

Feb. 16-17, 1996 - Snow fell throughout the day, and by the time it came to and end shortly after 1 AM, 10.7" had piled up (9.9" of it fell on the 16th; the rest after midnight), the third snowstorm this winter of eight-inches or more.  It was a fluffy snow with just 0.52" of water content.

Feb. 16-17, 2003 - After beginning Sunday night (when 3.5" fell), the brunt of the Presidents' Day blizzard kicked in and dumped an additional 16.3" on Monday, making this New York's fourth biggest snowfall on record.  (Since then three snowstorms during the winters of 2006, 2010 and 2011 have surpassed it.)  Ferocious winds gusting over 40 mph created snow drifts of 3-5 feet.  And although Monday's temperatures were quite cold (high/low of 26°/14°), they were a warm-up from Sunday's frigid 15°/8°. 

 

Presidents_day_blizzzard_2003

 

Feb. 19, 1972 - A nor'easter packing 40 mph winds brought the biggest snowfall of the winter, 5.7", but it was part of a sloppy mix of snow, sleet and rain so there was never more than two to three inches of snow on the ground at any given time.  Temperatures didn't go below freezing until evening.  In total 1.64" of precipitation was measured.

Feb. 19, 1979 - A fast-moving snowstorm buried the City on Presidents' Day with 12.7" of snow between 4:00 AM-noon.  However, the storm's deepest snows, of 18-24", fell in Virginia, DC, Maryland and Delaware.  The storm came in the midst of a deep freeze that saw fifteen of the past nineteen days with high temperatures at the freezing mark or below, averaging 14 degrees below average.  Including today's snowfall, 20.1" of snow fell during these nineteen days.  Another President's Day storm with even more snow would strike New York 24 years later.

Feb. 20, 1921 - The winter's biggest snowfall amounted to 12.5".  Beginning shortly after midnight as rain, it quickly changed over to snow after 1 AM and continued until early evening; it was a very wet snow, with 2.68" of liquid precipitation measured.  The temperature fell slowly through the day, from 35° to 22° (on the way to 14° by daybreak on the 21st).  Winds gusted to 41 mph.

Feb. 21, 1929 - More than half of the winter's 13.8" of snow fell today as eight inches accumulated between 5 AM and 2 PM.  Temperatures were in the low-to-mid-twenties during the storm.

Feb. 21, 1947 - Snow that began yesterday evening (accumulating 4.2" by midnight) continued through this morning and piled up an additional 6.5".  This 10.7" snowfall was the biggest in six years.  Temperatures were very cold, with a high/low of 24°/14°, sixteen degrees below average.

Feb. 22, 2008 - Six inches of slushy snow fell during the morning into the early afternoon, the biggest snowfall of the winter - and the largest accumulation since New York's all-time snowstorm two Februarys ago.  Today's snow was also a record for the date. 

Feb. 25, 1934- On a brutally cold day (high/low of 16°/9°) light snow began falling mid-afternoon and fell steadily thru the following afternoon, accumulating 9.3".  This was the third snowfall of 7.5" or more this month and brought February's total snowfall to 27.9" (the other major snowfalls were on 2/1 and 2/19-20).  At the time this was the second snowiest month on record (now ranked sixth) and the snowiest February (since topped by Feb. 2010 and 2014).

Feb. 25-26 2010 - After beginning in the morning as steady rain a changeover to snow occurred in the afternoon and developed into New York's third major snowstorm of the winter.  9.4" fell by midnight and an additional 11.5" of snow fell on the 26th, ending in the early afternoon, bringing the storm's two-day total to 20.9".  This was the fourth largest accumulation in New York history - and just 0.1" shy of the total from the great blizzard of March 1888. 

With this storm February's total snowfall reached 36.9", the most ever measured in any month.  (And this was without getting any snow from the big Mid-Atlantic blizzard of Feb. 4-5 that stopped at our doorstep.)  This turned out to be the last snowfall of the winter.  

 

Christopherst_subway_snow

 

Feb. 26, 1991 - A surprise snowstorm dumped 8.9" of wet snow, the biggest accumulation in eight years (since 17.6" buried the City in on Feb. 11-12, 1983 ).  Because the temperature was just above freezing for much of the day the snow didn't accumulate much on the streets or sidewalks.  This was the winter's third snowfall of five inches or more.

Feb. 28-March 1, 2005 - March came in a like a lion camouflaged as a lamb by all of the snow covering him.  7.7" of snow fell from a storm that began the afternoon of Feb. 28 and ended at daybreak on March 1.  It wasn't a cold storm as the temperature rose into the low 40s after the snow ended.  This was the third accumulation of five inches+ in the past ten days (five inches fell on 2/20-21 and six inches fell on 2/24-25).  Combined, 18.7" fell from these snow events.

 

 

MARCH 

March 1, 1914- Rain in the morning changed to snow around lunchtime and by midnight 13.5" had accumulated (an additional inch fell after midnight on 3/2).  It was a very heavy, wet snow with a high water content (2.65") until around 9 PM when Arctic air moved in.  This was the century's first snowstorm of a foot or more, and the first since February 1899, when 16 inches piled up.  This remains the longest period between snowstorms of 12 inches or more.

March 1-2, 2009 - 8.3" of snow fell from a quick-moving storm that began the night of the 1st (when 1.8" fell), making this the largest accumulation of the winter (and the most to fall in three years).  12"-15" fell out on Long Island.

 

Dec14_2003_snow

 

March 3-4, 1960 - A crippling snowstorm that dumped 14.5" of snow moved into the region at daybreak and continued for 24 hours (12.5" fell today).  Near blizzard conditions were experienced as winds gusted between 30 and 35 mph.  This was the second snowstorm of one foot or more this winter - a first (and it would happen again the following winter).  Earlier in the winter 13.7" of snow fell on Dec. 21-22.

March 5, 1981 - A heavy, wet snowfall of 8.6" was the biggest snow of the winter and a record amount for the date.  It also has the distinction of being the second largest accumulation in the month of March in the 1970-2015 period.  

March 5, 2015 - Rain that fell overnight rain changed to snow at daybreak and fell steadily for the rest of the day, accumulating 7.5" by 6 PM.  This became the second biggest snowfall of the winter, passing the 4.8" snowfall of March 1.  In just the first five days of the month this became the snowiest March since 1967 as 14.1" fell from three storm systems.  Today's snowstorm brought the season's total snowfall to 42.5", the eighth time in the past thirteen winters to have more than 40 inches (average is 26 inches).  Temperatures fell during the storm, from mid-30s to upper teens by the time the last snowflake fell.

 

Blizzard.from.office.building
Snowy view of an office tower on East 41st St.

 

March 5-6, 2001 - Call this the storm that couldn't.  The City was put on high alert after 15"-24" of snow was predicted during the weekend.  City schools and some businesses were closed on Monday and we waited, but it was in vain as the storm never lived up to its billing.  The storm strengthened later and further north than predicted.  New York received 3.5" as a consolation prize.  However, Long Island received significant accumulations.  

March 6-7, 1923 - Snow began falling around 10 AM and continued light and steady for the next 24 hours, accumulating 7.3" (along with a mix with sleet and freezing rain after 4 PM). This was the tenth snowfall of three inches or more this winter.  Besides the snow/ice, winds gusted to 30-35 mph, and temperatures were very cold on the 6th, with a high/low of only 25°/19°.

March 8, 1941 - A fierce winter storm that began late last night brought heavy snow, sleet and high winds during the morning.  By 11 AM 18.1" of snow had fallen (15.7" of it fell today); the precipitation then changed to light drizzle in the afternoon (the day's high was 33°).  At the time this tied with a snowstorm in January 1935 as New York's second biggest snowfall (it's now ranked tenth).

March 8-9, 1984 - Snow moved in the night of the 8th and by daybreak 6.9" had accumulated (5.1" of it on the 9th), making this the biggest snow of the winter.  It was a powdery snow with just 0.38" of water content. 

March 13, 1993 - The great March Superstorm (also called "Storm of the Century") paralyzed the Eastern third of the nation and dumped 10.6" of snow on Central Park.  The heavy snow changed to sleet and rain later in the afternoon, a Saturday, reducing the predicted snow total by about six inches.  The sound of the sleet lashing against my windows, propelled by 40-60 mph wind gusts, was deafening.  All told, 2.37" of precipitation fell.  To read a first-person account of the storm double click here.  

 

1993Superstorm
Plowing down 7th Ave. South, approaching Bleecker St.

 

March 14, 2017 - A much-touted blizzard was a bust as snow that began in the wee hours of the morning changed over to sleet, greatly reducing the 12-18" that had been predicted.  (This brought to mind the blizzard that fizzled in late January 2015 and resulted in an apology from the National Weather Service to the mayor because of the advanced closings that took place.)  And although there was no blockbuster snowfall today, the 7.6" that fell set a record for the date as did the day's daily precipitation record (1.96" was measured, nearly twice as much as the previous record).

March 16, 2007 - An all-day onslaught of sleet and snow dumped 5.5" of icy precipitation, the biggest snow of the winter.  This storm somewhat resembled last month's severe sleet storm on Valentine's Day, but this one had considerably more snow.  The total amount of precipitation was 2.07", a record for the date.  This was the last snowfall of the winter, a winter in which just 12.4" fell, which was quite a contrast from the previous four winters, all of which had at least forty inches of snow.

March 18, 1956 - Less than 48 hours after a snowfall of 6.7", an even bigger storm moved in during the afternoon.  By the time snow stopped falling 24 hours later 11.6" of new snow was on the ground (3.8" of it fell today).  And today's high/low was just 30°/21°, seventeen degrees below average.

 

Snowy weather -1950s

 

March 19, 1992 - The biggest snowfall of the winter occurred today, a sloppy 6.2".  This tripled the winter's relatively snow-free snow total to 9.4".  Just two degrees separated the day's high and low (33°/31°).  

March 20-21, 2018 - On the first full day of spring snow began falling shortly after daybreak and continued for the rest of the day into the wee hours of 3/21.  By midnight 8.2" had accumulated, making this one of New York's biggest snowstorms after March 15 (an additional 0.2" fell after midnight).  This was the fourth nor'easter that brought heavy snow through the region this month, but the first in which the temperature was 32° or colder in the City (throughout the storm temperatures hovered between 31° and 33°).  Once again, Long Island was hammered, with accumulations of 12"-18" common. 

March 20-21, 1958 - An intense nor'easter brought winds of 35-45 mph along with heavy, wet snow that began shortly before daybreak and continued thru midday on the 21st.  4.7" fell today and 7.1" the following day.  However, today's temperature never got colder than 33°.  Philadelphia also picked up nearly a foot of snow from this storm, which buried parts of eastern and central Pennsylvania and upstate New York with 30 to 40 inches of snow. 

March 21-22, 1967 - One of New York's latest snowstorms dumped 9.8" thru mid-afternoon on the 22nd (0.8" of it fell late last night).  The day's high of 32° was 20 degrees below average.  This storm came three days after a morning low of 8°, the latest date on record for a reading in the single digits.  Additionally, in the past 45 days (since Feb. 6) 41.0" of snow fell, with snow reported on twelve of the days (including 12.5" on Feb. 7).

March 22, 1998 - It appeared this winter was going to have the least snow on record, as just 0.5" had been measured.  Then a surprise five-inch snowfall occurred overnight and the winter of 1997-98 ended up as the second least snowy (behind 1972/73, which had only 2.8").  It would fall to third place four years later when the winter of 2001-02 had just 3.5". 

March 29, 1970 - Today was Easter Sunday, and rain that began before sunrise (when temperatures were in the low 40s) changed to sleet and snow after 10 AM.  When the precipitation ended late in the afternoon, four inches had piled up.  This was a record amount for Easter and the only snow that fell this month.  (At the time I was a kid living in Pittsburgh, which also had four inches of snow, but it arrived shortly before sunrise.  Although we headed out for Easter Mass we turned around and came home because road conditions were so bad.)

 

APRIL 

April 1, 1924 - It was no April Fool's joke as 8.5" of heavy, wet snow fell from mid-afternoon through 9 PM.  Snow fell mostly with temperatures two or three degrees above freezing.  Besides the snow, gale force winds gusted to 35 mph.

April 2, 2018 - A heavy, wet snow fell between 5:00 and 10:00 AM, accumulating 5.5" - the biggest snowfall in April since the blizzard of April 6, 1982 (9.6").  Like the snowfalls of 2/17 (4.4") and 3/9 (3.2"), the temperature during this morning's snowfall remained above freezing.  This was the fifth snowfall of four inches or more this season, each occurring in a different month.  Today's snow brought the season total to 40.9", making this the ninth season since 2002-03 with 40 inches or more (average snowfall is 25.8").       

April 3, 1915- The biggest snowfall of the "winter" blanketed the City on what was Easter Saturday as ten inches of heavy snow fell between 9 AM and 11 PM (eight inches fell between 11 AM and 6 PM).  During the storm winds from out of the north gusted to 25 mph and temperatures hovered around 30°, producing wind chills in the teens.

April 5, 1944 - Four days before Easter Sunday a late season snowstorm dumped 6.5".  Beginning as rain a little after midnight, it changed to snow around 2 AM and mixed with sleet around lunchtime before ending in mid-afternoon.  The snow came down heaviest between 3-5 AM when three inches accumulated.  The day's high/low was 34°/29°.

April 6, 1982 - Just 1.1" of snow had fallen in February and March when a blizzard dumped 9.6" of snow on the City today, less than a week before Easter.  More than a foot fell in New Jersey and Westchester County.  The storm started as rain in the pre-dawn hours and changed over to snow mid-morning and lasted through late afternoon.  By midnight the temperature had fallen to a record low 21°.  This was the most snow to fall so late in the season since ten inches fell on April 3, 1915.  To read a first-person account click here.

 

April1982nyc_blizzard_nypost

 

April 6-9, 1938 - This was a sloppy four days of weather, with 6.4" of snow falling on April 6 and 7 (the biggest snowfall of the winter) and 0.95" of rain on April 8 and 9.  During these days temperatures were mostly in the 30s.  The low of 28° on 4/6 was the only April day in the 1930s with a low in the 20s.

April 7, 2003 Four inches of snow fell, the biggest April snowfall in twenty-one years.  This brought the season's snowfall close to 50 inches.

April 8, 1956 - Rain from yesterday's nor'easter turned to snow after 3AM and by late afternoon 4.2" of snow was on the ground - yet the temperature never got lower than 33°.  This was the third significant snowfall in the past four weeks, a period in which 25" of snow fell, an unprecedented amount for so late in the season.  Up until mid-March the winter had seen just eight inches.  Not surprisingly, this snowy period was also cold, with temperatures 6.4 degrees below average.

April 9, 1917 - One of April's biggest snowstorms dumped 6.5" (0.1" of it fell late last night).  This brought the winter's total snowfall to 50.7" for the second year in a row.  The snow was over by 7 AM and by noon the temperature was in the upper 30s, where it stayed for the remainder of the afternoon.  Combined with sunny skies, substantial melting took place and by nightfall there was less than two inches on the ground in Central Park.

 

 

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER

Oct. 29, 2011 - An intense nor'easter lashed the area with high winds and outrageously early snowfall.  The 2.9" of heavy, wet snow that was measured in Central Park was the most ever to fall in October (5.2" fell in Newark and over a foot buried northern NJ, parts of NY state, Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire). 

Since the temperature never fell below freezing there was no serious accumulation on City streets (except for slush).  However, the day's low of 33°, which occurred in the early afternoon, was the coldest reading in October since 1988.  Total liquid precipitation from the storm was two inches.  Remarkably, twelve weeks would pass before the next measurable snow (4.3" on Jan. 21, 2012). 

 

Freak_october_snowstorm

 

Nov. 7, 2012 - Just nine days after the region was raked by hurricane Sandy's high winds and record storm surge, a nor'easter lashed the area.  It moved far enough off the coast to pull cold air into the area, changing the rain to snow by 2 PM.  This was just the fifth snowfall of one-inch+ to occur in November in the past 40 years - and the first since 1997.  4.7" fell (4.3" of it today), making it the earliest 4-inch snowfall on record (the previous record was in 1989 when 4.7" fell on Nov. 22-23).  It was also the largest accumulation of the calendar year, topping the 4.3" that fell on Jan 21. 

Nov. 15, 2018 - An early snowstorm moved in during early afternoon and by evening 6.4" of heavy, wet snow had piled up, which was much more than was predicted, and the earliest date on record for a snowfall this deep (and just the fifth snowfall of six+ inches in November).  When the snow began falling the temperature dropped from 36° to 28°, but then began rising after 7 PM and was back at 36° by 10 PM.  Rush hour traffic was snarled for hours and hundreds of trees lost branches, which snapped from the weight of snow.  As the storm exited winds picked up and gusted to 35 mph (and to 45 mph at the area's three airports).  

 

Nov 15 snowstorm

 

Nov. 22-23, 1989 - A Thanksgiving Day snowstorm along the Mid-Atlantic (which began late the previous night) dumped 4.7" of snow on NYC; however, it was over by the time the Macy's parade began.  Although this wasn't officially a wintertime snowfall it was larger than any accumulation during the 1989-90 season.  The day's high topped out at just 31°, twenty degrees below average. 

Nov. 27, 1938 - Just six weeks after the latest 90-degree reading on record, back-to-back snowstorms dropped nearly 13 inches of snow in four days.  The first, on 11/24-25  measured 8.8" (3.9" on Thanksgiving Day, 4.9" the day after) while the snowfall that ended before dawn today (and began late last night) brought an additional four inches.  The high/low during these four days was 32°/20°, which was 18 degrees below average.  This was the snowiest month of the winter and the third snowiest November on record (after Nov. 1898 and 1882).

 

 

DECEMBER

Dec. 3-4 , 1957- Snow that started falling late last night continued overnight and after a five-hour break resumed later in the morning and accumulated 8.0".  The flakes came down heaviest between 11 AM and 2 PM when they fell at a rate of an inch per hour.  This was the most snow to fall so early in the season since 1938, when 8.8" piled up on Nov. 24-25.  And it was the first of six snowfalls of four inches or more this winter.

Dec. 4, 1911 - A morning snowfall of seven inches ended up being the biggest snowfall of the winter.  Precipitation began yesterday evening as rain but changed to snow overnight. The day's high/low of 33°/19° made this the coldest day of the month.

Dec. 5, 1926 - 7.9" of snow fell on a very cold day, which had a high/low of just 24°/11°.  Snow fell heaviest from 1 PM until 7 PM.  This was the biggest snowfall of the winter and was the snowiest 12/5 until 2003, when 8.0" fell.

Dec. 5, 2002 - One year after record warmth occurred on this date (high of 70°) six inches of snow fell, the biggest snow so early in the season since 1938.  

Dec. 5-6, 2003 - Snow fell during the afternoon and lasted into early evening, accumulating eight inches (more than was predicted).  This snowfall came one year to the date after six inches fell.  It was part of a two-stage storm that brought more significant snowfall the following day.  That day, a Saturday, the City was under a blizzard warning for much of the day and an additional six inches of snow fell.  The high temperature rose to only 28° after a morning low of 23°.  Just a week into the month and this was already the snowiest December since 1960, when 19.8 inches fell.   

 

Washingtonsqpark_snow
Waverly Place, on the North side of Washington Square Park.

 

Dec. 9, 2005 - 9.3" of snow fell in the past six days.  The 5.8" of wet snow that fell on this Friday morning was a record for the date.

Dec. 11-12, 1960 - Snow that began late in the afternoon on 12/11 (accumulating 3.6") continued until shortly after 12:00 noon on the 12th, totaling 15.2".  Blizzard conditions prevailed during much of the storm, with snow falling most furiously between the hours of 2:00 and 7:00 AM when nearly seven inches piled up.  A number of other snowstorms in December have had greater accumulations but this storm produced the largest so early in the season. The snow was also accompanied by wind and Arctic cold as the temperature fell slowly through the day on 12/12, dropping from 21° to 9° by midnight.

Dec. 13, 1917 - The biggest snowfall of the winter began late in the afternoon and by the time the snow ended in the early hours of 12/14, 9.5" had accumulated (eight inches fell today).  The temperature rose into the mid-30s as midnight approached, making it a very wet snow, with rain mixed in at times. 

Dec. 15, 1916 - A snowstorm dumped 12.7" of snow between 7 AM-9 PM, with nearly ten inches on the ground by mid-afternoon.  The snow was very powdery, produced from just 0.59" of water (and by daybreak on 12/16 it had packed down to nine inches on the ground).  The day's high was 28°, the first of five days in a row with highs in the 20s.

Dec. 16-17, 2020 - An intense nor'easter brought the season's first measurable snow, which began late in the afternoon of the 16th.  By midnight 6.5" had piled up in Central Park and the snow continued overnight thru daybreak on the 17th (adding four inches).  There were also periods of heavy sleet between 9 PM-3 AM.  This was December's biggest snowfall since the post-Christmas blizzard of December 2010 that paralyzed the city with 20" (and with 10.5" in total, this was the thirteenth snowfall 10" or more in the month of December).  Snowfall on the 16th was more than what fell during the previous winter (4.8").  It was also a record amount for the date.  This storm dumped tremendous amounts of snow in Pennsylvania, New York State and New England, with some locations picking up between two to three feet (Binghamton, NY was buried under 40").

Besides the snow it was also quite cold.  Today's high/low of 31°/24° made this the first day of the winter to have a high of 32° or colder.  Winds gusting between 30-40 mph created wind chills in the 10°-15° range.

Dec. 17, 1932 - Snow that began late in the morning continued through the early AM on 12/18 and amounted to 7.2".  It was also a very cold day, with a high/low of only 20/11.  (The snow was gone by Christmas Day, which had a high of 59°.)  The next measurable snowfall wouldn't be for another seven weeks (on 2/4).

Dec. 19, 1945 - An afternoon/evening snowstorm dropped 8.3" (all but 0.3" fell today).  This would be the biggest snowfall of the winter (and since March 1941).  Besides the snow, temperatures were also quite cold, with a high/low of just 23°/20° (fifteen degrees below average).

Dec. 19, 1948 - One year after the record-setting 26.4" snowstorm of Dec. 26 another formidable snowstorm crippled the City with 16.0".  At the time this was the shortest length of time between major snowstorms.  Since then there have been seven pairs of major snowstorms (of one foot or more) that have occurred with less than 12 months in between (the shortest time between being four weeks in January and February 1978.)

Dec. 19-20, 1995 - Beginning today and continuing into tomorrow New York experienced its biggest December snowstorm since 1960 as 7.7" fell (10-12" had been predicted).  Less than 10 miles away, LaGuardia Airport was buried by 15". 

Dec. 19-20, 2009 - This first snow of the winter was a snowstorm that moved in late in the afternoon on a Saturday.  By the time it ended at around 4:00 AM on Sunday 10.9" had fallen.  Long Island received considerably more, with parts of Suffolk County buried by more than 20". 

Dec. 24-25, 1966 - Snow and sleet began falling around noon on 12/24 and by the time it ended in the wee hours of Christmas morning, 7.1" had fallen (6.7" fell on Christmas Eve).  There were two heavy periods of snowfall, one between noon and 3 PM and the second one between 6:00 and 9:00 PM.  Temperatures were quite cold, with a high/low of 26°/22°.  More than a foot of snow fell in eastern PA, western New Jersey and throughout the Hudson Valley in New York.

Dec. 25, 2002 - A sloppy winter storm produced the most precipitation ever measured on Christmas Day (1.30") and the most snow (five inches) since 1909 when seven inches fell (the most ever on 12/25).  Morning/afternoon rain changed to snow later in the afternoon.  This was the first Christmas snowfall of one inch or more in thirty-three years.

Dec. 25-26, 1969 - Christmas Day started sunny but as an intense winter storm approached clouds moved in during the afternoon and light snow began falling after dark, with 2.1" on the ground by midnight.  Temperatures were quite cold, with a high/low of 29°/14°.  The worst of the storm would be on the 26th, with the City getting an additional 4.2" of snow and then a lashing of rain accompanied by winds gusting over 40 mph. 

Dec. 26, 1933 - A little more than 24 hours after temperatures were in the mid-50s, a snowstorm swept into the City shortly after daybreak and by early afternoon ten inches had fallen, and temperatures were in the mid-20s.  An additional inch of snow fell in the early evening, bringing the day's snowfall total to 11.2". (Much larger accumulations would later fall on this date in 1946 and 2010).

Dec. 26, 1947 - Snow began falling around 3:30 AM on the 26th and fell steadily all day, at times at a rate of two inches per hour (the forecast at daybreak called for a five-inch accumulation).  Winds gusted as high as 36 mph during the evening and temperatures hovered around 29° for much of the storm.  By midnight 25.5" had piled up and an additional 0.9" fell after midnight, breaking the previous snowfall record of 21" set by the great blizzard of March 1888; it would remain the City's greatest snowfall of all time until 26.9" fell in Feb. 2006 (it now ranks third).  This storm came three days after a snowfall of 2.5".

Dec. 26-27, 2010 - Snow began falling during the afternoon and by evening blizzard conditions had developed.  When the flakes stopped flying the following morning 20 inches had piled up.  The City was largely unprepared for a storm of such intensity (and mayor Bloomberg was on vacation at an undisclosed location).

This was the sixth biggest snowstorm in New York history (and it shared its dates with New York's landmark 1947 snowstorm that dumped 26.4").  It was the second 20-inch accumulation of the year - the only year to have two storms of such magnitude (the first was on Feb. 25-26 when 20.9" fell).  The blizzard's bulls-eye was west of the City where most towns in New Jersey were buried by more than two feet of snow (e.g., Newark measured 24.2").

 

Xmas_2010_bliz

 

Dec. 28, 1990 - Today's 7.2" snowfall (which began late last night) was the largest accumulation in nearly four years (since January 1987) and the biggest December snowfall since 1960.  Snow ended shortly before 11 AM.   

Dec. 30, 2000 - A foot of snow fell as the year was winding down.  It was a record for the date, the most snow since the blizzard of January '96 and the biggest December snowstorm since 1960.  This Saturday snowstorm was a fast mover, lasting just eight hours (5 AM- 1PM). 

 

Dec30_2000snowstorm
Yours truly in Sheridan Square, down the street from my apartment in Greenwich Village.

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Comments

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T White

This is great, but you forgot to include the Christmas (Dec. 25) 2002 snowstorm.

Rob

Good catch, it's been added. Thanks for pointing it out!

T White

No Problem. I remember that one VERY WELL because I had to drive in it. LOL

Alexandra Leh

You also left out the Easter Sunday snowstorm on March 29, 1970...I was a kid in Northern New Jersey at the time, and we were completely caught off guard!

Theresa Zapata

There was a snowfall sometime in the 1950's. I remember becauseI was a kid and we had so much fun jumping on the mounds of snow. I lived right across the street from Holy Name school between 95th and 96th street. Young and unafraid, those were the days.

Rob

Theresa, one of the challenges of childhood memories when it comes to snowstorms is that, because we were a lot shorter, six inches of snow could seem like a foot or more! The 1950s didn't have an abundance of snowstorms of 10" or more, but perhaps you were remembering the storm of Dec. 22, 1959 that dumped nearly 14", the one on March 21-22, 1958 that produced nearly a foot or the storm of March 18-19, 1956 that gave the City 11.6".

G Smith

Rob, what about Jan. 16, 2004?

Nick

I had a conversation with my dad yesterday and he mentioned a major snowstorm in April in the 1970s that dropped "over 20 inches of snow" in New York. Could he have been confusing it with the 1982 storm?

Rob

Hi Nick,
Yes, perhaps he was thinking of the April 1982 blizzard because there were no big April snowfalls in the 1970s in NYC. As for 20"+, the '82 storm was half that amount in Central Park - perhaps he lived in the suburbs, which saw higher accumulations.

Rob

Regarding G. Smith's comment about the snowfall of Jan. 16, 2004, it has been added. However, this snowfall of 5.7" occurred on Jan. 14-15.

Sonia

I've been looking for a white Christmas ever since 1969. I don't consider a few flakes that melt as soon as they hit the ground a snow storm or a white Christmas

Rob

Hi Sonia, on Christmas Day 2002 rain changed to heavy, wet snow during the afternoon and accumulated five inches by 8PM. (1969's snow began after 6PM and 2.1" was on the ground by midnight, with another four inches falling overnight before it changed to rain). And on Christmas Day 2009 there was two inches of snow on the ground at daybreak, left over from a snowfall of nearly eight inches on 12/19-20 (and those living in the vicinity of LaGuardia Airport still had four inches on the ground).

Thanks for your comment!

Al Haase

One of my all-time favorites was the most under reported; I'm talking about the great snowstorm of 2/3-4, 1961. I was in high school at the time and just developing a super interest in meteorology. I remember measuring 19" in a sheltered area of my parents' back yard in Queens. Also, the winds were literally howling all Friday night into Saturday afternoon with real whiteout conditions prevailing. One of the greatest!

Rob

Thanks for your comment, Al. Since I didn't move to New York until 1979 I value recollections of weather events before then from readers who lived here. What strikes me about the 2/3-4 snowstorm is the exceedingly high water content of the snow, i.e., it took 2.62" of water to produce the 17.4" of snow. In other words, if the standard water-to-snow ratio of 0.10" water = one-inch of snow had occurred, there would have been more than two feet of snow. Since the temperatures on the 4th were around 30 degrees, do you recall if some of the precipitation fell as sleet or freezing rain?

Frank Farance

Hi, I have a question about the February 9-10 1969 snow storm. I lived in Freeport, Long Island then, and there was about 4 feet of snow (snow was inches from the top of our 4-foot chain link fence). I have three memories from then: (1) there was so much snow, we made tunnels, (2) school was closed the whole week (woo hoo!), and (3) the next year was the first year of the February week-long winter break that is part of the school calendar (prior to 1969, we had school all through February).

Regarding #3, as a kid, I didn't really understand it, but now we had a regular week of in February. Later on I learned that school systems in NYS have a required minimum number of days, and if the school lost those days to snow days, then they'd have to make them up at the end of the school year, which could push school schedules beyond the end of June. So the week-long break was scheduled such that if there were a snow storm earlier, the school days could be made up during the February break. (For public schools, the Easter Break typically covers both Christian Easter and Jewish Passover holidays, so it is not possible to "steal" from those vacation days.)

Any thoughts on that explanation?

BTW, years ago I read a two-volume series titled something like "Great Storms of the East Coast 1776 to present". What is really interesting is the relative newness of meteorology as a science: they were still shooting Hail Canons into the sky in the 1930s (clearly thunderstorms were not understood then), and it wasn't until the late 1950's and early 1960's with satellites that those storms on the East Coast were better visualized and explained as hurricanes and such. I'll look for the exact title of the series and let you know.

Justin capache

I was just curious about some late March snow storms in the 1990s I did not see on your page and thought maybe you had the totals for those dates, I am thinking of the dates off the top of my head but we did have snow on these days.
Friday March 18th 1994 into Saturday march 1994, this was a brutal and the last snow fall of that season if I recall we had a good amount of snow that Saturday morning.
Saturday March 2nd 1996 I believe we got a half a foot out of this storm on this day
Friday march 8th 1996 poured most of day before but turned to snow overnight on this Friday not sure of the totals but know it was enough to close my school.
Friday march 22nd 1996 i also remember being off from school on this date due to snow,
April 9th 1996. I am a yankee fan so I remember them playing in snow on this date I think it did accumulate to an inch for two. This was a bad winter one of the worst in my life time. We had some many snow days this season starting with the December 1995 storm, good old days.
Sunday March 22 1998, remember this was a quiet winter up until this day had enough snow to close my school the next day.
Sunday march 14th 1999, another quiet winter from what I remember but like the year before got enough on a Sunday to close school the next day. If by any chance you have the totals for these dates I would appreciate if. Also remember snow around two days because Christmas 1997 and remember it snowing over night the 23rd into Christmas Eve 1998

Rob

Hi Justin, here are the answers to your questions. Please note that since it appears you lived in the suburbs of New York at the time, conditions may have been different from those in NYC/Central Park due to temperature differences and/or storm tracks.
1. March 19, 1994 - About three inches of snow fell during the afternoon/early evening.
2. March 2, 1996 - 4.6" of snow fell from sunrise thru early afternoon.
3. March 8, 1996 - 4.5" of snow fell during the AM hours.
4. March 22, 1996 - No snow or rain fell. You're probably remembering the four inches of snow that fell on 3/28-29.
5. April 9, 1996 - Just 0.3" fell; almost all of the precip was in the form of rain (0.54"). (Temperatures that day got no colder than 33.) The next day had similar conditions, with 0.4" of snow and 0.31" of rain.
6. Dec. 19-20, 1995 - 7.7" of snow fell, but it actually underperformed as 10-15" had been predicted.
7. March 22, 1998 - Five inches of snow fell in the morning, a surprise snowfall. Up until this snowfall only 0.5" had fallen all winter.
8. March 14, 1999 - Most of the snow fell on the 15th. Afternoon/evening rain on 3/14 changed to snow around 11PM, and accumulated 4.5" by the time it ended on 3/15 around 10AM.
9. Dec. 23, 1997 - Only rain fell, amounting to 0.63". (High/low was 41/35.)
10. Dec. 23-24, 1998 - Two inches of snow fell in the pre-dawn hours of 12/24.
If you have any other questions please let me know.
Rob

Judy

Hi- I was looking back for a Nor'Easter of Nov. 1995 (Think it was 11-15-'95) when I was due to fly out of No. Carolina to Newark NJ at 10am. Our flight was cancelled & we were stuck at Raliegh Durham NC airport from 10am until 10pm, when our flight finally took off. I was in the airport alone with my 2 infant sons... I'm getting ready to republish my story & that's in the book. I can't find the Nor'easter of Nov 1995, wondered if you have any info.. Thanks, Judy B

Rob

Hi Judy,
There was a nor'easter that struck the New York area in the PM hours of 11/14, with winds that gusted 45 mph and 1.20" of rain. Winds were stronger in Central Park than in Newark. And there was another storm that struck three days earlier, during the afternoon/evening, that was comparable in terms of high winds but with more rain (1.75").

Allen Scheuch

Hi, I remember a snow in NYC in April but I thought it was April 16 or 18th or so, and it might not have been a full-fledged snowstorm. Still, it seemed very late, in fact I don't recall seeing snow later in April and it might have been in the early- to mid-1980's. The flakes were very large but I have a feeling they snow didn't stick very long and it wasn't a huge accumulation (unlike the April, 1982 storm you mention). I happened to have been in a machinist's loft on West 22nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, looking north, having a special cylindrical brass weight cut. Everything inside the loft was dark and greasy, but outside the huge 19th-century windows the world was swirling a brilliant white; the contrast between inside and outside was fantastic. Most memorable. I am trying to confirm that there was a mid-April snow then, around the 18th. Thanks, Allen

Rob

Hi Allen, this must be the storm of April 18, 1983. It was mostly a rainstorm (about an inch of rain fell) but there was a snow accumulation of 0.8". It didn't have much of a chance to stay on the ground as the temperature got no lower then 34 degrees during the day. However, it was the coldest day of the month. This is one of the latest dates for accumulating snow in NYC.

Scott

I dont remember any snow after April 16 or in May has it ever snowed in May in central park since records began May 2013 Memorial Day weekend was one of the coldest I remember and May 2002 a cold rain

Rob

Yes, accumulating snow is very rare past mid-April (as are temperatures below freezing). You may be too young to remember, but there was a snowfall of 0.8" on April 19, 1983 but it was pretty quickly washed away by rain (there were also three measurable snowfalls in the latter portion of the 19th century on 4/18, 4/24 and 4/25). Also, there were snow flurries on May 9, 1977 but temperature never got colder than 36 degrees.

Howard Manas

I believe the early April, 1982 snowstorm occurred on baseball’s Opening Day, causing the Yankees to postpone their game, not to a “rain-out’’ but to a “snow-out.” And speaking of baseball, Mayor Lindsay’s chances for re-election in ‘69 were left for dead due to the Feb snow, but he was saved by the goodwill created by the Miracle Mets’ World Series victory in October, especially after photos emerged of him getting drenched with champagne in the Mets’ clubhouse.

Mike L.

I thought there was a large snowfall in April 1968, perhaps at Easter time, in New York City. What do you know about this?

Thank you!

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