Weather Conditions on Dates of Historical Significance in New York
Warm Weather in May

In Winter It's A Marshmallow World: New York Snow History



Snow seems to captivate us more than rain, perhaps because it's limited mostly to four months of the year.  Or maybe it's because of its ability to transform the landscape into a magical wonderland.  What never ceases to amaze me is that snowflakes are able to pile up on Manhattan's busy streets.  And although New York may be the "City that never sleeps", at times it can be brought to a standstill, and its cacophony hushed, by a blanket of snow.  Below are some interesting facts about New York's snowfall patterns and extremes ...  


  • Through the winter of 2018 there have been 18 winters with 50"+ of snow (going back to 1870), including four recent winters: 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.  And at the other end of the spectrum, nine winters have seen less than ten inches, with the most recent being the winter of 2012.
  • The winters of 2014 and 2015 were the fourth pair of winters to have a combined 100"+ of snow, joining 1916 and 1917 (each with 50.7"); 1948 and 1949; 2010 and 2011.
  • Nine of the 16 winters between 2003-2018 had 40" of snow or more, the greatest concentration of snowy winters on record.  Average snowfall during these sixteen winters was 36.5", nearly a foot more than the typical winter.  (However, this span also had winters with just 3.5" and 7.4".)  By contrast, none of the winters from 1979 to 1993 (15 winters) had 30" or more of snow.




  • Each of the five winters between 1928-1932 had less than 15" of snow.  The six winters between 1950-1955 each had less than 20" of snow.
  • The snowiest month during the winter of 1915 was April, with 10.2".  November was the snowiest month of three winters: 1884, 1939 and 1990.
  • Measurable snow fell in April four years in a row in 1915-1918 and again in 1956-1959.
  • Less than an inch of snow fell in four Januarys in a row, 1931-1934.
  • A typical winter sees six snowfalls of an inch or more.  The winter of 2015 had thirteen, the winter of 2014 had twelve.




  • There have been three winters that had two months with 20+ inches of snow: 1978, 1996 and 2011.  And the winters of 1961 and 2015 were noteworthy for having three months with 16+ inches of snow.  
  • A month has had twenty inches of snow or more in consecutive winters twice - in December 1947 (29.6") and 1948 (25.4"), and in February 1978 (23.0") and 1979 (20.1").
  • January 1925 is the seventh snowiest month on record, with 27.4", and it accounted for almost all of that winter's snowfall of 29.6".  And January 2016 was similar with its 27.9" of snow (all but 0.4" coming from the blizzard of 1/26-27) accounting for most of that winter's 32.8" total.
  • Ten winters have had measurable snow in six months but two of them, 1950 and 1953, had minimal snow (13.8" and 15.1", respectively).




  • The most time that's elapsed between a winter's first and second snowfall was nearly 12 weeks, during the winter of 2011-12, when the first snowfall was on Oct. 29 and the second didn't occur until Jan. 21.
  • Finally, after starting out with meager amounts of snow thru the end of December, the winter of 1907 picked up 51.9" of snow after Jan. 1, the winter of 1978 had 50.1" and the winter of 2015 had 49.1".


Chart - backloaded snow



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