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Photo Gallery: Snowfalls of Winter 2017

Feb9 hedges (2)

Taking a break from weather statistics and analyses, here's a gallery of this winter's snowfalls in New York as captured through the lens of my smartphone. (There have been eight snowfalls thru mid-March - oops, I slipped a statistic in there!) 


Dec11 first snow
0.4" of snow fell the evening of Dec. 11


Dec11 snow by streetlight
Snow in lamp light on Barrow St. (Dec. 4)


Dec17 boot n slush
Nearly 3" of snow fell the morning of Dec. 17.  This photo shows the slush that resulted when the temperature rose into the upper 30s during the afternoon.


1christmas 2016
Dec. 17, Hudson St. (Greenwich Village)


Jan7 greenwich village snow
5.1" of snow fell on Saturday, Jan. 7. These apartment buildings are on West 10th St., off of Seventh Ave. South.


Jan7 sheridan square
Of all the photos chosen for this post, this one of famed Village Cigar may be my favorite


Jan7 snowy seventh ave south
Looking north on 7th Ave. South from the  second floor of my gym (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snow covered car
I found the white & gray of the snow & steel on this parked on Washington Place aesthetically pleasing (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy steps
West 23rd St. (evening of Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy night
The park on the corner of 7th Ave. and Greenwich Ave. (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy door
This is the front door of my apartment building (Jan. 7)


Jan14 dusting of snow
Two days after a record high of 66 degrees, afternoon temperatures on Jan. 14 were below freezing and about an inch of snow fell.  This photo was taken at Sheridan Square Park.


Jan14 snowcovered balloons
Snow-covered balloons outside of my gym (Jan. 14)


Geese foraging in Hudson River Park (Jan. 15)


Jan15 wintry sunset
Wintry sunset at Bloomfield Place in lower Manhattan (Jan. 15)


Jan31 snowy lexington and 42nd st
An inch of snow fell late in the morning of Jan 31. This photo (looking at the Grand Hyatt) was taken near the corner of Lexington Ave. and 42nd St.
Feb9  washington place (1)
9.4" of snow fell the morning of Feb. 9, the day after a high of 62 degrees. I took this photo as I was walking to the subway.


Feb9 washington place
This was the sight that greeted me when I stepped out of my apartment building on Washington Place
Feb9 jefferson library (1)
The clock tower of Jefferson Market Library on Sixth Ave. in Greenwich Village.  Visibility for much of the morning was less than 1/4 mile (Feb. 9).


Feb9 hedges (1)
In front of the NY Public Library on Fifth Ave. (10AM on Feb. 9)
Feb9 patience and fortitude (1)
Profiles of famed lions, Patience and Fortitude, who guard the NY Public Library (Feb. 9)


Feb9 chrysler building
The obscured Chrysler Building, looking east on 42nd St./Fifth Ave. (Feb. 9)
Feb9 patience and fortitude (2)
On a snowy day like this it's more appropriate to call this a "Trudge" sign (Feb. 9)


Feb9 blue umbrella
Corner of Madison & 42nd St. (Feb. 9)


Feb9 near office (2)
At the height of the snowstorm's fury (Feb. 9)
Feb9 capital grille
Steakhouse across the street from my office building (150 E. 42nd St.)
Feb9 near office (1)
Lunchtime, Lexington Ave. near the corner of 42nd St. (Feb. 9)


Feb9 slush as modern art
Slush & snowmelt at sidewalk's edge on Lexington Ave. brings to mind modern art (Feb. 9).


Feb9 snow drift
Snowdrifts in Greenwich Village, night of Feb. 9 (Sheridan Square Park, along Christopher St.)


March14 patio
Tribeca patios prepared for evening cocktails (March 14)


Fiorello laguardia
Snow-covered statue of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village (March 14)


January 2017 Weather Recap: Snowy ... for a Mild Month

January 2017The first month of 2017 was no different from the 18 preceding months, i.e., it was warmer than average.  And it was well above average, by 5.4 degrees, with only seven days colder than average (and eleven were 10 degrees or more above average).  It ranks as the 13th mildest January on record.  The period between 1/11-1/29 was especially mild, with temperatures ten degrees above average.  During this period there were thirteen days in a row in which the temperature stayed above 32° and sixteen days in a row with above average mean temperatures.  The warmest reading occurred on 1/12, when the high reached a record-setting 66° - the warmest reading in January in ten years.  Other highlights:



The month had 7.9" of snow, which came from four snowfalls; much of it fell on 1/7 when 5.1" piled up.  The monthly total was an inch above average, but what's noteworthy is the fact that this was the snowiest January of any of the 25 mildest (which averaged 2.3" of snow).  Additionally, four of New York's coldest Januarys had less snowfall than January 2017 (and three had a similar amount).


Snowiest of Mild Januarys



Also noteworthy was the month's diurnal variation in temperature, which, at 9.4 degrees was the smallest of any January (the 50-year average is 12.3 degrees).  It was also the only January to have a diurnal variation less than 10 degrees (January 1960 and 2011 had DVs of 10.1 degrees).  Seven days had variations of of five degrees or less; however, one outlier was 1/13, which had a 30-degree difference between its high and low (62/32).


Diurnal Variation in January



A nor'easter on 1/23-24 brought winds that gusted to 47 mph and 2.34" of rain.  This storm arrived on the one-year anniversary of New York's biggest snowfall (27.5").  And that storm's liquid precipitation was practically the same as this year's amount (2.32").



A few days before the record high of 66° there was a three-day period with temperatures that were quite cold, with every day having highs only in the mid-20s.  (In a span of three days the high temperature went from being fifteen degrees below average to twenty-eight degrees above average.)  Average high/low during this cold snap was 25/17, eleven degrees below average.  This included the coldest reading of the month, 14° on 1/9.  The 5.1" snowfall fell during this cameo appearance of Old Man Winter.


Sheridan square jan 7 2017
Sheridan Square, Jan. 7, 2017

















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


First Three Months of 2015 Were Second Coldest of Past 100 Years

In the past 100 years, only 1920 had a January thru March that was colder than 2015's.  What placed 2015 this high was February's extraordinarily cold conditions (11.4 degrees below average).  However, when all years going back to 1870 are considered, 2015 falls to thirteenth coldest (but 2015 still places among the coldest 10%).  Where 2015 stands out is in its snowfall.  Among the twelve January-March periods colder than it, 2015 was the snowiest, with snowfalls in Jan-Feb-March amounting to 49.1", which was nearly ten inches more than the second highest total.




  Mean Temperature  
  Jan Feb Mar Average* Snow
1888 23.0 29.3 30.0 27.1 36.3"
1885 29.4 22.7 30.6 27.7 23.2"
1875 23.8 25.2 34.1 27.8 34.3"
1904 25.3 25.4 36.4 29.1 25.9"
1883 25.2 30.2 32.7 29.3 29.5"
1893 23.7 29.4 35.5 29.5 39.9"
1872 28.8 29.9 30.5 29.7   9.9"
1895 29.8 24.1 35.4 30.0 22.5"
1912 23.7 28.8 37.6 30.1 20.0"
1881 24.7 28.7 36.7 30.1 22.6"
1920 23.4 28.5 39.9 30.7 38.8"
1886 26.8 27.5 37.6 30.7 19.8"
2015 29.9 23.9 38.1 30.9 49.1"
Source: NOAA, Local Climate Data  
*Weighted to reflect Feb's 28/29 days  

New York's Winter Snow Totals Revised Upward for 2015 & 2016


If the winter of 2015 wasn't tough enough, on March 24 the New York office of the National Weather Service issued a statement announcing that the season's snowfall in Central Park had been revised upward by 3.3".  This is the only time I can recall weather records being changed so significantly weeks after the fact.  The official announcement can be found here.  I would have loved to have been privy to the discussions that led to this decision.  I'm especially curious how NWS pinpointed the three snow events that were under-reported (Jan. 6, Jan. 24, and Feb. 2). 


For quite a few years weather hobbyists, myself included, questioned the measurements from Central Park since it consistently reported lower accumulations than Newark Airport, LGA and JFK (yet it often had higher rainfall); therefore, it was gratifying to see the issue addressed.  Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the other reporting locations are at airports (perhaps tree branches in the park were blocking snowflakes?).  A post from New York Metro Weather addressed the subject and its implications for confidence in future snow totals.




A number of other revisions have resulted from the NWS announcement:

  1. With 50.3" the new total, the winter of 2015 moves from 22nd to 18th snowiest.
  2. Feb. 2's snowfall of 5.0" (revised from 3.3") ties it with 1874 as the snowiest Feb. 2.  This new amount also increased the winter's number of snowfalls of four inches or more to six, tying it with last winter.
  3. With Jan. 6's total snow revised from 0.5" to 1.0", the number of snowfalls of an inch or more this winter increased to 13, which is one more than last winter (which had seven inches more total snowfall) and the most since the winter of 1994.
  4. Winter 2015 is now the fourth of the past six to see 50" or more of snow.  By comparison, the average is one such snowy winter every ten years.


Then the following winter there was revision made to that season's snowfall - and this one had more of an implication.  On Jan. 23 a blizzard dumped 26.8" of snow, putting it just 0.1" behind the biggest accumulation of all time from ten years earlier.  Then three months later the National Weather Service announced that snow from a final band, which amounted to 0.7", had been omitted.  This additional accumulation upped the storm's total to 27.5" and made it New York's biggest snowstorm.


These revisions brought to mind 1983 when it was announced at the end of that year that Central Park's rain gauge had been broken since May.  This was an especially crucial matter since 1983 reported the most rain on record, but was it valid?  This put the NWS in a sticky spot, but rather than address it they let it linger for years.  The issue resurfaced in 2011 when that year received the second greatest annual rainfall.  However, some thought it could lay claim as rainiest because of 1983's shaky measurement.  Pressed, the NWS finally decided that the 1983 record would stand - although previous NOAA climate reports left monthly rainfall totals for 1983 blank and noted the equipment malfunction.  I wasn't convinced by their argument.



The Freakish Snow & Cold of March 1956, 1958, and 1967



Although many winters have a significant snowfall and a cold snap in March, it often happens in the first two weeks of the month, and is usually limited to one snow event and a few days of cold weather.  This post, however, looks at three years that fell within a twelve-year period in the middle of the 20th century that experienced freakish snow and cold in the second half of the month. 


1956 (March 12 - April 8)

During this four-week period 25" of snow fell and temperatures were 6.5 degrees below average.  There were snowfalls of 6.7" and 11.6" that occurred two days apart, on March 16-17 and March 18-19, and then a 4.2" snowfall occurred on April 8 (as well as two smaller snowfalls under two inches).  Up until these four wintry weeks just eight inches of snow had fallen for the entire winter.


Nyc-blizzard-of-1956-albert eisenstaedt

1958 (March 14-21)

On March 14 there was a snowfall of 4.1" followed a week later (March 20-21) by a nor'easter that dumped 11.8" of wet snow.  (This storm paralyzed an area from Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania and much of New Jersey with 20-40 inches.)  And while temperatures in NYC were colder than average during both snowfalls, temperatures much of the time were above freezing.  This ended up being the snowiest month of the winter.




1967 (March 15-23)

During this nine-day period 15.4" of snow fell from three storms, and temperatures were 15 degrees below average.  On the 18th, the high/low was only 20°/10°, which was 27 degrees below average.  Then, on the morning of the 19th the low fell to 8° above zero, the latest date on record for a single-digit reading.  From late afternoon on the 15th until noon on the 20th the temperature was 32° or colder.  This brutal cold was followed by a 10" snowfall on March 22.



We Are Living In Extraordinarily Snowy Times



40 inches of snow is considered a hefty amount for a New York winter, a total that's about 50% above average.  Over the years, winters with this much snow have occurred once every four years.  This average, however, masks extended periods with and without snowy winters.  For example, winters between 1873 and 1923 averaged snowfall of 40 inches or more once every three years, but then the 24-year period that followed (between 1924 and 1947) had just one snowy winter.  More recently there was a 26-year period between 1968 and 1993 that also had just one.  


Most recently, New York found itself in the midst of an abundance of snowy winters, the most recent being the winter of 2017-18.  Specifically, nine of the sixteen winters between 2003-2018 had 40 inches or more of snow, an unprecedented concentration (including four winters in a row).  Of the five winters that didn't see this much, three were well below average (under 13") and the other two picked up an average amount of snow.  (The three winters after 2018 have each had less than 40", but winter 2020-21 came close, with 38.6" measured.)




  # of # of Winters  % with
Time Period Winters 40"+ Snow 40"+ Snow
All Winters 152 36 24%
1870-1872 3 0 0%
1873-1923 51 17 33%
1924-1947 24 1 4%
1948-1967 20 6 30%
1968-1993 26 1 4%
1994-2002 9 2 22%
2003-2018 16 9 56%
Source: NWS New York Office

Winter Festival: A Celebration of Snow As Portrayed by Covers of The New Yorker

The-new-yorker-logo.jpgBefore it turns to slush, newly-fallen snow in New York brings a blanket of serenity even to the great metropolis.  And wintertime covers of The New Yorker perfectly capture the ineffable beauty of the season.  Here are a few dozen of my favorites (captions are mine) ...


New Yorker Jan 29 1927
Snowstorm Meets Roaring Twenties (Jan. 29, 1927)


Snow Beautiful (Jan. 16, 1932)


Wintry Tableau (Feb. 27, 1937)


Little Siberia (Feb. 2, 1946)


The Excitement Builds (Jan. 21, 1950)


Eager Anticipation (Jan. 20, 1951)


Sisyphus In Winter (Jan. 7, 1956)


Hibernation, Manhattan Style (Jan. 21, 1956)


Manhattan on Ice (March 2, 1957)


Polar Express (Jan. 11, 1958)



Flight Delay (Jan 8, 1966)


Old Man Winter's Calling Card (Jan. 7, 1967)


Veil of White (March 2, 1968)


Mantle of White (Jan. 4, 1969)


A Cold Winter's Night That Was So Deep (Jan. 22, 1979)


In Winter's Grip (Jan. 7 1974)


Cozy Inside (Jan. 12, 1976)


Travel Advisory (Feb. 7, 1977)


Snow Day (Jan. 29, 1979)


Serenity (Jan. 26, 1981)


Rush in Slush (Dec. 13, 1982)


Neither Sleet nor Snow ... (Feb. 16, 1987)


Winter Gridlock (Jan. 28, 1991)


Cold Comfort (March 6, 1995)


Fashion Statement (March 1, 2010)


Cold Reality (Dec. 20, 2010)


50 Shades of Gray (Jan. 23, 2012)


Double Duty (March 10, 2014)



New yorker - december 22 2014

 New yorker - flat iron building - march 9 2015


I've written a similar post about my favorite summertime covers.  Large reproductions of these covers, as well as every New Yorker cover (nearly 5,000), are available for purchase on Conde Nast's website.  (And small versions are sold by street vendors throughout midtown Manhattan.)


Snow in November



Measurable snow has fallen in November in New York, on average, once every three years (the last time was in 2018).  And Novembers with a snowfall of an inch or more have occurred once every five years.  However, over the years the likelihood of having snow in November has decreased.  Between 1869 and 1912, an inch of snow fell in November once every three years, and in between 1913 and 1955 it fell once every four years, but since 1956 an inch or more of snow has fallen just once every ten years.  Here are some additional findings:


  • Snow in November isn't an indicator of a snowy winter.  In the 50 winters with November snowfalls, just one out of four had snowy winters (40 inches or more).  Of the 19 winters with 50" or more snowfall, ten didn't have measurable snow in November.  And fourteen winters that saw snow in November ended up with less than 20 inches of snow (the winter of 2018-19 finished just above that, with 20.5"). 
  • Three winters had their most snow in November: 1882-83 (14.0"); 1938-39 (12.8") and 1989-90 (4.7").  However, the snowiest November on record, 1898's 19.0", wasn't the snowiest month that winter, as 25.3" fell in February 1899.  
  • The highest concentration of November snowfalls occurred in the twelve-year span between 1871 and 1882, when measurable snow fell in eight of them.  This was followed closely by the ten years between 1931 and 1940 when snow fell in seven of the years.  By far the longest stretch of years without measurable snow in November was the 15-year period between 1997 and 2011 (but six of the winters had 40+ inches of snow).
  • The most consecutive years with an inch or more of snow in November is three: 1896 (5.0"), 1897 (2.3") and 1898 (19.0"). 
  • Seven Novembers had more than one snow event; all but one were in the 19th century.  The outlier was November 1938.
  • Finally, measurable snow has fallen in October in four years.  In three of those years snow also fell in November.  The only year without a November snowfall was in 2011.


  Snow (in Inches)
  November Winter Total
2018 6.4 20.5
2014 0.2 50.3
2012 4.7 26.1
1996 0.1 10.0
1995 2.9 75.6
1989 4.7 13.4
1987 1.1 19.1
1978 2.2 29.4
1977 0.2 50.7
1974 0.1 13.1




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