Today in New York Weather History: February 15
Today in New York Weather History: February 16

Too Cold for Snow? Temperatures During New York City Snowstorms




Part of a snowstorm's "personality" is shaped by the air temperature it finds itself in.  Very cold air produces powdery snow that can be easily blown into drifts; when temperatures hover around the freezing mark, snow is usually heavy and wet, a challenge to shovel but perfect for making snowballs.  Since 1960, the coldest temperatures during a snowstorm occurred during the storm of Feb. 6-7, 1967 that dumped 15.2".  The high/low on the 7th (when most of the snow fell) was only 16°/9°.  At the other end of the temperature spectrum was the more recent snowstorm of March 21, 2018 that dropped 8.2" of snow on a day that had a high/low of 39°/31° (but the temperature was 34° and colder when snow was falling).     


The blizzards of 1996 (20.2"), Christmas 2010 (20.0") and President's Day 2003 (19.8") are examples of large accumulations in colder than average temperatures, while big snow makers in February 2010 (20.9") and January 2011 (19") had temperatures right around the freezing mark.  The average high/low during a typical snowstorm (based on data from nearly 40 storms) is 29°/21°.  The charts below provide a list of the coldest and mildest snowstorms (through the winter of 2013; the chart will be updated to include the "cold" snowstorm of Jan. 2014 that produced 11.5" during temperatures mostly in the teens).


Chart - coldest and mildest snowstorms






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