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April 2014

Snowfall Before, During & After "Meteorological" Winter



Meteorological winter falls between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28 and is largely a creation of convenience to make the calculation of winter snowfalls and average temperatures easier.  On average, 78% of a year's snow piles up during these three months, or about twenty inches (based on New York winters going back to 1870).  However, in this present century the portion of snow that has fallen during meteorological winter has increased to 85% (about twenty-nine inches, with five additional inches falling in other months). 


Seventeen winters have had more than half of their snow fall in months not part of meteorological winter.  The most recent was 2019 (before that the most recent was the winter of 1998.  The winter of 1896 had the most snow fall before and after meteorological winter - 33.5" of its 46.3" total.  Seven winters have had more than 20" fall outside of meteorological winter.  The last time it happened was back in 1956 (the winter of 2015 got close, with 18.8") .




Fourteen winters have had all of their snow fall during meteorological winter.  The last time it happened was during the winter of 2021, when 38.6" fell; and it also happened the winter before that (when just 4.8" was measured).   This is the only instance of back-to-back winters with no measurable snow before Dec. 1, or after Feb. 28.  In addition to the 14 winters with no snow outside of meteorological winter, three other winters had all but 0.1" fall during the three months of MW; the most recent was the winter of 2014.


Looking at New York's snowiest winters, there have been thirty-six with 40 inches of snow or more (thru the winter of 2020.)  Seven had less than two inches of snow fall outside of meteorological winter - four of those were in the past ten years, including the winter of 2014, which had just 0.1" of its 55.4" fall before or after Dec., Jan. and Feb.  By contrast, the winter of 2018 had 42% of its snow fall outside of meteorological winter (17.1" fell in March and April), which was the greatest portion for a winter with 40"+ in more than 100 years.


Chart - snow during meteorological winter







Today in New York Weather History: April 14



Today's high of 80° came just two days after a record low of 26° (since eclipsed in 1976).  This was the first reading above 64° since 3/5 (when it was 72°).


A trace of snow was reported for the 33rd time this snow season, the most ever (later tied in 1944-45).  Today's high/low was 41°/30°.




This was the fourth day in a row with a low of 39° (five degrees below average).  However, all of the days had different highs, with three in the 57°-60° range and one with a high of only 44°. 


It was a rainy and chilly Easter Saturday.  1.10" of rain fell (ending late in the afternoon) and the high/low was 45°/40°; the high was nearly twenty degrees below average. 


This was the fourth day in a row with highs in the 70s.  The average high during these days was 75°, fifteen degrees above average.




After the temperature peaked at 77° in the middle of the afternoon, a "back-door" cold front moved through, and by midnight the temperature had fallen to 44°.  This was the greatest drop in temperature since 1/13, when it plummeted from 58° to 19°.  (It was also the second biggest drop in more than four years.)