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Longest Streaks of High Temperatures of 32 Degrees or Colder



Since the winter of 1940 there have been ten streaks of ten days or longer with high temperatures that were 32° or colder (streaks of this length occur, on average, once every eight years).  The most recent, a streak of fourteen days, occurred in the winter of 2017-18 (Dec. 26 thru Jan. 8).  It was the third longest on record, behind a sixteen-day streak in the winter of 1961, and a fifteen-day streak in the winter of 1881.  This winter's streak closely mirrored one during the winter of 2001 that also started in December and ended in January.  (However, it's temperatures weren't as cold and was one day shorter.)  What follows are some other interesting observations about New York's longest cold streaks (nine days or longer):


  • As mentioned above, the longest streak came in the winter of 1961 when the City shivered through sixteen days in a row of sub-freezing highs from Jan. 19 thru Feb. 3.  The "warmest" temperature during this time frame was 29°.  It would be seventeen years before another streak of ten days or longer occurred.
  • No winter has had two of these lengthy streaks, but 1958 had one in February of twelve days and a ten-day streak in December.  Additionally, there have been numerous winters with two or more smaller streaks of four, five or six days.
  • The earliest of the streaks occurred at the beginning of the winter of 1957-58 when there was a ten-day streak from Dec. 7 to 16.  The latest streaks were in February 1958 (Feb. 8-19) and February 1979 (Feb. 9-19).  What was remarkable about the 1979 streak was the fact that, not only was it late in the winter, but it had the most days with lows in the single digits - eight.  It followed closely behind a nine-day streak in January 1968 as the coldest of the cold waves; Feb. 1979, however, had the coldest average high (20.5) while Jan. 1968 had the coldest average low (6.4).
  • There were extended streaks in the consecutive winters of 1977, 1978 and 1979 (and there was one in 1981).  1977's streak was book-ended by smaller streaks of five days before (broken up a day with a high of 41°) and four days after (broken up by a day with a high of 36°).  In total, 18 of the 20 days between Jan. 5-24 saw highs at freezing or below.  There was also another cluster of winters with lengthy cold waves, during the winters of 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  • Thirteen of the seventeen streaks of nine days or longer saw some mornings with lows in the single digits or colder (three had sub-zero readings).
  • Three of the streaks of nine days or longer had snowstorms of 12 inches or more. 1961's cold wave nearly had two snowstorms but two-thirds of the 17.4" accumulation from the snowstorm on Feb. 3-4 fell on the day when the 16-day streak ended as the high reached 34°.  


Chart - snowstorms during cold waves


  • The 13-day steak during the winter of 2000-01 had the highest mean temperature. 


 Chart - Longest Cold Streaks in NYC


Comparing New York's Three Biggest Snowstorms

Blizzard of 2016


New York's three biggest snowstorms each buried the City under more than two feet of snow (four others have produced between 20"and 21").  They occurred in different months of the winter: the biggest, totaling 27.5", was in January 2016; the second greatest, 26.9", buried New York in February 2006, and the third deepest, 26.4", was the day after Christmas in December 1947.  And the bulk of these storms' snow fell on different days of the week: Friday (1947), Saturday (2016), and Sunday (2006).  The amounts of each storm were approximately what falls during an entire winter.


Although it's fallen to third place, what makes the 1947 snowstorm stand out from the other two is that it occurred during a cold and very snowy winter while the others accounted for much of the snow during their mild winters.  The 2006 snowstorm accounted for all but 13.1" of the snowfall that winter while 2016's blizzard accounted for all but 4.6".  By contrast, the winter of 1947-48, which at the time was snowiest on record (now ranked second behind the winter of 1996), had 37.4" of snow on top of December's enormous accumulation.  Each month of that winter had temperatures well below average, especially December.  By contrast, the winter of 2006 had the fourth mildest January on record while the winter of 2016 was the second mildest on record, largely due to the mildest December on record.




Interestingly, before being crowned the biggest snowstorm in NYC history, 2016's snowstorm was ranked second, with 0.1" less than 2006's amount.  Then three months later the National Weather Service announced that it had re-evaluated the measurement at Central Park's weather station and added 0.7" to the originally reported amount, making it top dog.  (The winter before that the NWS adjusted three snowfalls, adding 3.1" to that winter's snowfall total.) 


Although it's now ranked third, the snowstorm of Dec. 26-27, 1947 may have been the most debilitating of the three storms.  First, the snow of that storm had a higher water content than the others, especially 2006's.  1947's snowfall was equivalent to 2.40" liquid compared to 2.32" for 2016's blizzard and 1.86" for the fluffy snow of 2006.  Second, the days following the 1947 storm were much colder than those after the other two storms, so snow melt was minimal.  Temperatures during the five days after the 1947 storm were seven degrees colder than average, with high temperatures ranging from 28° and 35°.  By comparison, temperatures after the 2006 and 2016 storms were six and four degrees above average, respectively.  In 2006 three of the five days after the Feb. 11-12 blizzard saw highs in the mid-to upper 50s.  In 2016 the third and fourth days after the storm never saw the temperature drop to freezing or colder.  Add to these reasons the fact that snow removal techniques of 70 years ago were primitive compared to those of the 21st century, and a strong argument can be made that the 1947 snowstorm was the worst of the three. 



 NYCs Three Biggest Snowstorms

 Snowstorm fun facts



Are Weather Hobbyists Undermining the Credibility of Meteorologists?

CredibilityMy interest in the weather is historical in nature and the posts I publish focus on comparing today's weather conditions with those of past years.  However, many of my fellow weather enthusiasts are interested in the science of meteorology and forecasting.  And while their enthusiasm is heartening I fear they undermine the credibility of trained meteorologists in the public's eye because all too often they build up storms much too early, storms that, more often than not, don't live up to the early hype


Amateur forecasters tend to lack the discipline of patience, wanting to be the first to announce a big storm when it's still in the embryonic stage.  Call it a case of  "premature prognostication".   Time and time again, at the earliest indication that a storm is forming they make wild pronouncements about a major snowstorm or hurricane striking a week or more in the future.  And nine times out of ten the storms don't live up to their billing.  So what we have is many boys crying "wolf!", or, rather, "snowstorm!"  Then, maddeningly, after a storm doesn't live up to its hype they're right back at it touting yet another potential blockbuster event that might happen two weeks down the road.




But it's not always the hobbyists who come up short.  With more than half a dozen or more competing forecast models available (e.g., European, NAM, GFS, GFDL, NCEP, WRF, and Canadian) even experienced meteorologists risk appearing foolish when they talk publicly about all of the models and their sometime conflicting forecasts.  These models create a Tower of Babel effect.  Whom to believe?  The public doesn't want uncertainty or need to know "how the sausage is made".




Stop the madness!



Winter 2016 Recap - Mild, With Cameo Appearances by Old Man Winter



This was a most unusual winter.  It began with the mildest December on record, followed by the second biggest snowfall of all time in January, and then capped off in February by the City's first sub-zero temperature in more than 20 years.  (Ironically, last winter was much harsher but it couldn't boast of a monster snowstorm nor did it have any readings below zero.)  However, despite January and February's brief flings with Old Man Winter, December set the tone for the entire season, which ended up as the second mildest meteorological winter on record (behind the winter of 2002).  And although it wasn't the mildest, it has the distinction of having the most days with highs of 50°+ of any winter.



December was the warmest on record by a wide margin (following the mildest November).  No day had a temperature of 32° or colder - a first for December.  Eleven days had highs of 60° or warmer.  The warmth peaked on 12/24 when the high/low was an incredibly mild 72/63 (33 degrees above average).



The first measurable snow of the winter didn't fall until 1/17, and then it was just 0.4".  Then less than a week later, on 1/23, a paralyzing weekend blizzard stopped the City, burying it under 27.5" (considerably more than had been predicted).  This made it the biggest accumulation on record, surpassing the previous record from February 2006, when 26.9" fell.  (However, at the time of the storm the total was reported as 26.8".  It wasn't until the end of April that the National Weather Service revised the total upward to reflect a final band of snow that moved through after midnight on 1/24 that, inexplicably, went unaccounted for.)





A rather mild, uneventful month was upended mid-month when the Northeast was plunged into the deep-freeze, with the temperature dropping to 1° below zero at daybreak on Valentine's Day (wind chills were between -10° and -20°).  Not only was this the first sub-zero reading since the winter of 1994, it was the first below-zero reading in February since 1963, and the latest date for a sub-zero reading since 1943.  This Arctic outbreak was experienced in a month that had 11 days with mean temperatures 10 degrees or more above average, giving this February the distinction of being the mildest of any month with a below-zero reading (there have been 36 such months).






And although meteorological winter is over, the calendar has a mind of its own as March has been known to act as a refuge for Old Man Winter on occasion - 2015 and 2014 being perfect examples.



A History of Back-to-Back Snowstorms



A few days ago I wrote a post about the absence of any significant snowfalls in the week following major snowstorms (13 inches or more).  However, there have been snowstorms of lesser magnitude that were followed by another significant snowfall within ten days of each other.  The most impressive of these happened during the winters of 1926 and 1994.  On Feb. 4, 1926 a snowstorm of 10.4" was followed six days later by a snowfall of one foot, while in 1994 a snowfall of 9.2" on Feb. 8-9 was followed two days later by an ever bigger storm that dumped 12.8".  And there have been two instances of three significant snowfalls in a brief span dropping significant accumulations.  In the winter of 2005 18.7" of snow fell in a 10-day period and last winter 14.1" fell in the first five days of March.




Lastly, the shortest amount of time between two snowstorms of one foot or more is 18 days.  This took place in the winter of 1978 when 13.6" of snow fell on Jan. 19-20 and 17.7" fell on Feb. 6-7.















Suffering From Post-Snowstorm Depression?



After the anticipation and euphoria created by a big snowstorm fades, some of us suffer a letdown when the flakes stop piling up (somewhat like postpartum depression).  Drunk from experiencing the fury of Old Man Winter there's hope that another storm will barrel up the coast in a few days - but it's not likely to happen (despite the tendency of the news media to end a weather story by saying, "and another storm is on the horizon").   Looking at more than twenty major snowstorms that have buried New York City in the past 100 years (13 inches or more), no major snowfalls followed in the five days afterward.  The largest accumulation, 2.9", came five days after a 14.5" snowstorm in January 1914; and 2.4" fell four days after the blizzard of January 1996 (before changing to rain).


Then there's the matter of snow melt.  New York's biggest snowstorm, in February 2006, has the distinction of having the biggest warm-up in the aftermath of a storm, with three days seeing temperatures rise into the mid-to-upper 50s.  And after January 2016's 26.8" blizzard, the third and fourth days after the storm were completely above freezing.  (The biggest warm-ups after notable snowstorms have all occurred in the 21st century.)  Although there haven't been large accumulations of snow, there have been a number of significant rainstorms in post-storm periods.  The the biggest dumped 1.80" of rain five days after a January 1978 snowstorm (13.6"); 1.49" fell five days after the President's Day blizzard of 2003 (19.8"); and 0.95" fell after a 14-inch snowstorm in the first week of December 2003.




Finally, although we haven't been burdened by more heavy snowfall immediately following a snowstorm, cold weather in a storm's aftermath has posed a challenge for digging out of some snowstorms.  The coldest period after a snowstorm was the five days that followed the 18.1" snowstorm of Jan. 22-23, 1935, all which had highs colder than 32° (average high/low of these five days was 22/5).  Other snowstorms that had cold weather afterwards include the storms of January 2005 (average high/low of 28/13), December 1960 (30/17), March 1960 (32/19) and December 1947 (32/22).




If you enjoy reading about New York's snowstorms, here are other posts you should find interesting:  

We Are Living in Extraordinarily Snow Times

Recap of Each Winter's Snowstorms (1960-2016)

The Most Snowfall in 30 Days

Remembering New York's 'Snowmageddon' of Winter 2011

Too Cold for Snow? Temperatures During NYC Snowstorms

A History of Snowstorms That Fizzled Out







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

January 2015 - Not as Cold & Snowy as Last Year, But Sill Cold & Snowy

January 2015

Compared to last January, January 2015 wasn't as cold or snowy, but it was still colder and snowier than average, with a mean temperature 2.7 degrees below average, and snowfall more than double the month's average (16.9" vs. 7.0").  It was also the wettest January since 1999.  What follows are the four key stories of the month:


  • A typical January is five degrees colder than December, but this year it was 11 degrees colder as December was on the mild side (3.2 degrees above average).
  • There was a "January thaw" of just one day, on Jan. 5 when it was 56°/41°.  After that day the "warmest" temperature for the rest of the month was just 43°.  By contrast, January 2014 had a thaw of five days.
  • The rainstorm of Jan. 18, which drenched the area with 2.10", was the biggest rainstorm in January since 1999.
  • Of course, the biggest story of the month was the blizzard that fizzled during the last week of the month, giving the City "just" 9.8" rather than 24"-36" that had been predicted the day before the storm moved in.




JANUARY 2015 vs. JANUARY 2014
  2015 2014 Average
Average High (+/-) 36.1 (-2.2°) 35.4 (-2.9°) 38.3
Warmest Reading 59° 58° 59°
Average Low (+/-) 23.6 (-3.3°) 21.8 (-5.1°) 26.9
Coldest Reading
Mean Temp (+/-) 29.9 (-2.7°) 28.6 (-4.0°) 32.6
Highs of 32 or Colder 13°
Precipitation 5.23" 2.79" 4.13"
Snowfall 16.9" 19.7" 7.0"


A History of Predicted Snowstorms That Fizzled

FizzleThis post was inspired by the "great blizzard" of Jan. 26-27, 2015 that was a bust.  Predicted to bury New York under as much as 24-30" of snow, just under ten inches fell.  Although this was a significant accumulation it was a pittance compared to what had been advertised.  A contrite National Weather Service even issued an apology to New York's mayor, who, based on its forecast, called the storm one of "historic proportions", ordered schools closed and urged businesses to let employees work from home.  Meanwhile the governor of New York ordered the City's transit system shut down as well.  This is one of fifteen storms since 1980 that were heralded as blockbusters but then petered out or brought rain or sleet instead of snow. Details of each follow.






Jan. 15, 1983 - A predicted snowstorm failed to materialize as temperatures stayed above freezing (the day's high/low was 36/33).  The combination of drizzle and wet snow (one inch) that fell between mid-morning and mid-afternoon amounted to 0.65" of liquid precipitation in Central Park.  This would have produced about half a foot of snow had the temperature been a few degrees colder.  Although suburbs north and west of the City received significant snowfall, snow lovers in NYC would have to wait another month for a substantial snowfall (the blizzard of Feb. 11-12).

March 28-29, 1984 - A big coastal storm had potential to dump substantial amounts over a number of days.  And while 3.5" did fall, it fell sporadically and was interspersed with periods of rain.

Dec. 17, 1989 - During one of the coldest and driest Decembers on record this was going to be a big snow producer, but the storm moved too far off the coast.  And what precipitation there was fell mostly as rain, and just 0.7" of the white stuff was measured.

March 13, 1993 - Although 10.6" of snow piled up from the ferocious storm billed as the "Storm of the Century", the predicted 15-18" didn't materialize because of a changeover to sleet and then rain in the early evening.

Jan 17, 1994 - This winter storm sucked in more mild air than expected, resulting in a mostly rain event (after starting as a brief period of snow that accumulated 1.3").  1.34" of precipitation fell in total, a record for the date.  The temperature rose sharply, from 12° at midnight to 47° by early afternoon, and began tumbling later as another Arctic air mass moved in.  

Feb. 8-9, 1994 - This was more of an under-performer rather than a fizzle because 9" fell in total.  The first part of the storm delivered 7.2" of snow in a relatively short time (9AM thru 1PM), but then a dry slot developed and the rest of the afternoon was dry.  When precipitation resumed in the evening it came down as sleet rather than snow day, reducing the predicted accumulation by four or five inches (1.8" fell on the 7th). 

March 31, 1997 - There was early talk of significant snowfall, but the City received only rain (2.32") as the temperature stayed above freezing (winds gusted between 40 and 50 mph).  Boston, meanwhile, was buried by 25 inches of snow on April Fool's Day.

March 6, 2001 - At one point 12-18" of snow was predicted from what the Weather Channel labeled "The March Lion" and City schools were closed before the storm even began as a precautionary measure.  And while parts of Long Island saw a foot or more, Central Park had 3.5" as the storm developed a bit further north than expected.

Feb. 6, 2010 - A huge weekend snowstorm that buried DC, Baltimore, Philly and Pittsburgh with 20-30" of snow came achingly close to NYC, but it stopped at our doorstep.  Although parts of Staten Island picked up three inches of snow, Central Park saw just a few snow flurries.

Feb. 10, 2010 - Although 10" piled up, 12"-18" had been predicted but because the temperature stayed warmer than expected, hovering in the 32°-33° range, the snow had a lot of water content which kept the accumulation down (1.33" of liquid was measured). It was a drippy, slushy type of snow (especially on the streets). 

March 3, 2014 - A winter storm that, a few days earlier, was predicted to dump significant amounts of snow on NYC (6-12"), was pushed to the south by an Arctic high and delivered a dusting of 0.1" (which would be the only measurable snow of a month that was the coldest March since 1960). 

Jan. 26-27, 2015 - Late in the afternoon on 1/25 a blizzard warning was issued for the area and NYC prepared for 40-65 mph winds and more than two feet of snow.  In preparation the mayor advised workers to stay home on Monday and Tuesday (most of the people in my office left by 3:00 on Monday); City schools cancelled classes on the 27th; subway and train service was suspended at 11PM on the 26th; and non-essential vehicles were prohibited from roads.  The first indication that the storm might not deliver came after dark on the 26th when a "dry slot" moved in for four hours (after five inches had fallen).  Then the blizzard warning was revoked after midnight as the storm moved further off the coast than expected.  And while we had a significant snowfall of 9.8" (which was the biggest accumulation of the winter), just 30 miles to the east 18-24" buried Long Island.

March 14, 2017 - There was fevered talk that this storm might challenge the Blizzard of 1888 as biggest snow maker in the month of March, but the storm jogged a bit further west than expected and the snow changed to sleet (temperatures stayed below freezing throughout the storm).  7.6" of snow accumulated, with heavy accumulation of sleet on top of the snow.  However, accumulations of 15-20" were common north of NYC where no changeover occurred.

March 7, 2018 - While many towns in northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley were buried by one to two feet of snow, a nor'easter that produced heavy, wet snow left far less in New York than had been predicted.  Despite snow falling steadily from late morning (accompanied by thunder) until 8PM, just 3.2" was measured in Central Park.  This was largely due to temperatures that stayed above freezing for the entire event (which had been predicted).  Curiously, the snowfall forecast was adjusted upward later in the morning to 8-12".  Despite the modest snowfall, the amount of liquid that fell amounted to 1.41".  

Jan. 19-20, 2019 - From the get-go there was uncertainty about this storm, i.e., its path, how much warm air was going to be brought in, and how Arctic air would interact with it.  Five days out the forecast was calling for snow Saturday afternoon changing to sleet/freezing rain, then to rain, then back to snow.  A few days later it was thought colder air would gain the upper hand, bringing significant amounts of snow to the City (4-7"), but with a changeover to rain still expected (with a possibility that the storm might be an all-snow event).  Then the day before the system moved in the forecast changed again as milder air was expected to infiltrate the coast, with an inch or two of snow expected at the onset; it was also expected to move through more quickly.  Because of these mitigating factors no winter storm warning was issued, just a watch (warnings were posted north and west of the City).  We ended up with a cold rain of more than an inch that started after dark and continued through the morning of the 20th (0.2" of sleet/snow was measured). 










Recap of Each Winter's Snowstorms in New York (1950 - 2021)



WINTER OF 1953-54

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. 


WINTER OF 1955-56

March 18-19, 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.

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.


WINTER OF 1956-57

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


WINTER OF 1957-58

Dec. 4 , 1957- Snow that started falling late last night continued overnight and after a five-hour break resumed later in the morning, accumulating 8.0".  The flakes came down heaviest between 11:00 AM and 2:00 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.

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. 


WINTER OF 1959-60

Dec. 21-22, 1959 - Snow that began late in the afternoon on the 21st continued thru 9:00 AM on the 22nd, adding 10.3" to yesterday's 3.4" for a total accumulation of 13.7".  (By contrast, La Guardia Airport picked up just 5.6".)  Snow fell heaviest between 1-6:00 AM on 12/22 when six inches accumulated.  The 22nd had temperatures that were well below average, with a high/low of 28°/17°. 

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 on March 3).  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). 


WINTER OF 1960-61

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 steadily through the day on 12/12, dropping from 21° to 9° by midnight.

Jan. 19-20, 1961 - This became known as the Kennedy Inaugural 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 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.

Feb. 3-4, 1961 - Snow began falling on the evening of Feb. 3, dumping six inches, and continued through the morning of the 4th, with an additional 11.4" piling up.  The snow that fell on Feb. 4 was heavy and wet and was driven by gale force winds.  This was the third major snowstorm of the winter.  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 mixed with sleet and rain.  This was the second winter in a row to have two snowstorms of one foot or more.


Snowstorm in 1961


WINTER OF 1963-64

Jan. 12-13, 1964 - Snow began falling late on the 12th and 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.


WINTER OF 1966-67

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 3PM 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.

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 1PM).  Winds gusting between 25-35 mph produced wind chills between -5° and -15°.

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).


WINTER OF 1968-69

Feb. 9-10, 1969 -  A Sunday snowstorm that lasted for 26 hours dumped 15.3" of snow (14.0" on Feb. 9, 1.3" in the wee hours of  the next day).  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 streets in the borough of Queens were left 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. 


WINTER OF 1969-70

Dec. 25-27, 1969 - Snow began falling Christmas night and by 6:00 AM on the 26th a half-foot was on the ground.  Then the snow changed to sleet and then to a lashing rain (winds gusted between 35 and 45 mph) as the temperature rose to 37°.  Cold air returned in the afternoon and an additional half-inch of snow fell.  6.8" fell over the course of the entire storm but the rain reduced the amount on the ground to four inches.

Further inland this powerful nor'easter was responsible for huge amounts of snow in Virginia, Maryland, central and eastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York (the storm's bulls-eye) and New England, with accumulations of 20-30" common.




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 10:00 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.)


WINTER OF 1970-71

Jan. 1, 1971 - Old Man Winter waited until New Year's Eve revelers returned home before delivering the biggest 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).


WINTER OF 1971-72

Feb. 19, 1972 - A nor'easter packing 40 mph winds brought produced 5.7"of wet snow, 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.


WINTER OF 1973-74

Feb. 8, 1974 - The weekend began with a six-inch snowfall that fell between 1-10:00 PM on Friday.  This storm followed a bout of sleet and freezing rain which plagued the area during five of the previous six days.  Today's high/low was 25°/20°.


WINTER OF 1974-75

Feb. 12, 1975 - A quick-moving winter storm delivered the biggest snowfall of the winter, with 7.8" piling up between 8AM-3PM.  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.  The day's high/low was 31°/19°.


WINTER OF 1977-78

Jan. 19-20, 1978 - Snow that began falling the evening of Jan. 19 fell at a rate of an inch per hour the morning of the 20th between 2-7:00 AM, and by 2:00 PM 13.6" had fallen.  This was New York's biggest snowfall since the "Lindsay snowstorm" of February 1969.  (However, in less than three weeks this storm would be largely forgotten.) 




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 morning of Feb. 7.  Snow, drifted by winds that gusted between 30-40 mph, fell heaviest between 7PM-1AM, 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.  This was the first winter in 17 years to have two snowstorms of one foot or more.  And because of persistent cold temperatures, snow would be on the ground in Central Park for the next five weeks.  




WINTER OF 1978-79

Feb. 19, 1979 - A fast-moving snowstorm buried the City on Presidents' Day, with 12.7" of snow falling between 4AM-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 in which fifteen of the past nineteen days had 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 bury the City 24 years later.)


WINTER OF 1980-81

March 5, 1981 - A heavy, wet snowfall of 8.6" was a record amount for the date.  This storm also has the distinction of being the second largest accumulation in the month of March in the 1970-2020 period. 


WINTER OF 1981-82

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.

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.




WINTER OF 1982-83

Feb. 11-12, 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 8-11:00 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); at the time it was the sixth biggest snowstorm in NYC history (it's now ranked twelfth).


WINTER OF 1983-84

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


WINTER OF 1984-85

Feb. 5, 1985 - The biggest snow of the winter began this evening and continued through next morning, accumulating 5.7".  3.3" of the snow fell tonight.  This came three days after a snowfall of 4.3".  After this snow just 0.2" fell for the rest of the winter.


WINTER OF 1985-86

Feb. 11, 1986 - The second 4.5" snowfall in the past four days occurred today and occurred between daybreak and noontime.  These two small snowstorms accounted for most of the winter's thirteen inches of snow (half of the typical amount).


WINTER OF 1986-87

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 NYC's biggest snowfall in four years and would be the biggest until the March 1993 Superstorm.


WINTER OF 1987-88

Jan. 4, 1988 - The City woke up on Monday to 5.8" of snow that fell overnight.  Four days later a steady light snow fell throughout the day, accumulating an additional 5.4"


WINTER OF 1989-90

Nov. 22-23, 1989 - A Thanksgiving Day snowstorm along the Mid-Atlantic (which began late the night of the 22nd) dumped 4.7" of snow on Central Park; 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.


WINTER OF 1990-91

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 11:00 AM.   

Jan. 11, 1991 - 5.7" of snow accumulated during the afternoon and evening before changing to rain overnight as 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.

Feb. 26, 1991 - A surprise snowstorm dumped 8.9" of wet snow, the biggest accumulation in eight years (since 17.6" buried the City 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.


WINTER OF 1991-92

March 19, 1992 - This was the biggest snowfall of the winter, a sloppy 6.2".  It tripled the winter's relatively meager snow total to 9.4".  Just two degrees separated the day's high and low (33/31).  Three days later 3.2" of snow that fell during the evening played a role in the crash of US Air Flight 405 at La Guardia Airport.  Not de-iced properly, the plane failed to gain altitude and crashed into Long Island Sound, killing 27 passengers.


WINTER OF 1992-93

March 13, 1993 - The 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 the windows of my apartment, propelled by 40-60 mph wind gusts, was deafening.  All told, 2.37" of precipitation was measured.  To read a first-person account of the storm double click here.  



Snowplows traveling down 7th Ave. South, approaching Bleecker St.


WINTER OF 1993-94

Feb. 8-9, 1994 - After January saw a large amount of sleet and freezing rain, the City finally got a storm that brought snow as nine inches fell.  It came down especially heavy between 9AM-1PM, 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.




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 occurred on this date as well. 


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

WINTER OF 1994-95

Feb. 4, 1995 - Only 11.8" of snow fell during this winter 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 6-7AM) before changing over to rain at around 9:00 AM.  Then the coldest air of the winter moved in overnight, flash-freezing the slush.


WINTER OF 1995-96

Dec. 19-20, 1995 - Beginning on Dec. 19 and continuing into tomorrow New York experienced its biggest December snowstorm since 1960 as 7.7" fell (10-12" had been predicted). 

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 New York's 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 5-7:00 PM on Jan. 7.  Wind gusts of 40-50 mph whipped the snow into three and four-foot drifts on side streets. 

Areas west of New York 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.  


Looking west on Greenwich Ave.

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. 16-17, 1996 - Snow fell throughout the day and by the time it came to and end shortly after 1:00 AM 10.7" had piled up (9.9" of it fell on the 16th; the rest after midnight).  This was the third snowstorm this winter of eight-inches or more.  It was a fluffy snow, with just 0.52" of water content.


WINTER OF 1996-97

Jan. 11, 1997 - The biggest snowfall of the winter, 3.5", fell in just three hours between 3-6:00 AM on a Saturday as an Arctic moved through.  Most of it came down in just one hour, between 4-5:00.  (Just 10 inches fell for the entire winter.)


WINTER OF 1997-98

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". 


WINTER OF 1999-2000

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, but many areas of New Jersey picked up 10-12".  The same storm buried Raleigh, NC with 20.3" of snow, the largest snowfall in that city's history.


WINTER OF 2000-01

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 1996 and the biggest December snowstorm since 1960.  This Saturday snowstorm was a fast mover, lasting just eight hours (5AM-1PM). 


Yours truly in Sheridan Square, a few steps from my apartment


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 8:00 AM.

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 (the Weather Channel labeled the storm "The March Lion").  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.  3.5" fell as a consolation prize.  However, Long Island received significant accumulations. 


WINTER OF 2002-03

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. 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.

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 Central Park's fourth biggest snowfall on record.  (Since then three snowstorms during the winters of 2006, 2010 and 2011 have surpassed it.)  Ferocious winds gusting to over 40 mph created snow drifts three to five feet deep.  And although Monday's temperatures were quite cold (high/low of 26°/14°), they were a warm-up from Sunday's frigid 15°/8°. 




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.


WINTER OF 2003-04

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 and 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).   


Waverly Place, on the north side of Washington Square Park

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/low 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. 27-28, 2004 - Snow moved in after 8:00 PM on the 27th 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°.


WINTER OF 2004-05

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 high of 25° was reached at midnight.  This was the biggest January snowstorm since the blizzard of 1996.

Feb. 24-25, 2005 - Snow moved in during the evening and by 3:00 AM on the 25th six inches had accumulated.

Feb. 28-March 1, 2005 - March came in a like a lion camouflaged as a snow-covered lamb.  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.  Combined, 18.7" fell from these snow events.


WINTER OF 2005-06

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.

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 4-10:00 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 NYC 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.  (This storm ceded its #1 ranking ten years later when 27.5" fell on Jan. 23, 2016.)


Snow-buried benches in Washington Square Park

WINTER OF 2006-07

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, quite a contrast from the previous four winters, all of which had at least forty inches of snow.


WINTER OF 2007-08

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 the City's all-time snowstorm two Februarys ago.  Today's snow was also a record for the date.


WINTER OF 2008-09

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.




WINTER OF 2009-10

Dec. 19-20, 2009 - This first snow of the winter was a snowstorm that moved in late on Saturday afternoon.  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".

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. 25-26 2010 - After precipitation began in the morning as steady rain a changeover to snow occurred in the afternoon and developed into Central Park's third major snowstorm of the winter.  9.4" was on the ground 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 NYC 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.  




WINTER OF 2010-11

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's 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 this magnitude (the first was on Feb. 25-26 when 20.9" fell).  The blizzard's bulls-eye was west of NYC where most towns in New Jersey were buried by more than two feet of snow (e.g., Newark measured 24.2 inches).




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. 


Midnight in Greenwich Village on 7th Ave. South in the vicinity of Sheridan Square

Jan. 26-27, 2011 - Snow began falling heavily by late afternoon and blizzard conditions developed after nightfall.  By midnight more than a foot of snow had fallen, and by the time the snow wound down at daybreak on the 27th 19 inches had piled up.  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 NYC had two snowstorms of 19" or more in one winter.




WINTER OF 2011-12

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). 




WINTER OF 2012-13

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 2:00 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.

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 New York 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.  


WINTER OF 2013-14

Dec. 14, 2013 - It was a snowy day with five inches on the ground when a changeover to freezing rain occurred at around 9:00 PM, and to all rain by midnight.  The transition occurred as the temperature jumped from 22° at 8:30 PM (the day's low) to 34° at midnight.  The rain continued until shortly before daybreak the next day (when the temperature had risen to 40°), bringing the storm's total precipitation to 1.45".  That amount would have made for a monster snowstorm if milder air hadn't been drawn in. 

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.   

Jan. 21, 2014 - A wind-driven snow began at around 9:00 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.

Feb. 3, 2014 - One day after the high temperature reached 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.




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", placing it 7th on the all-time list. 




WINTER OF 2014-15

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 11:00 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).  Based on the forecast City schools were closed on 1/27 and businesses were urged to let employees work from home.  Meanwhile the state's governor ordered the City's transit system shut down.  Long Island and southeastern New England, however, received tremendous amounts.




March 1, 2015 - A snowy Sunday afternoon produced the winter's second biggest snowfall, with 4.8" piling up before the snow changed over to light sleet and freezing rain in the evening.  Temperatures remained below freezing all day.  This was the biggest March 1 snowfall since 1968 (when 5.5" fell).  It was also the fifth snowfall of three inches or more in the past five weeks.

March 5, 2015 - Rain that fell overnight changed to snow at daybreak and fell steadily for the rest of the day, accumulating 7.5" by 6:00 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. 


The evening commute along E. 42nd St. was hardly a "rush" hour.


WINTER OF 2015-16

Jan. 23, 2016 - A blizzard of epic proportions dumped 27.5" of snow and stopped the City.  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".


Snowy scene in Sheridan Square


WINTER OF 2016-17

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 6:00 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.  This drastic change exceeded that of Feb. 1-2, 2014 when eight inches of snow fell the day after a high of 56°.

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 accumulated 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).


WINTER OF 2017-18

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.  Today's snow easily broke the previous record for snowfall on this date (4.0" 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 this the longest such streak since one of 12 days in January 2003.

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. 

April 2, 2018 - A heavy, wet snow fell between 5:00 and 10:00 this morning, 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 in the past sixteen with 40 inches or more (average snowfall is 25.8").       


WINTER OF 2018-19

November 15, 2018 - An early season snowstorm moved in during the early afternoon and by evening 6.4" of heavy, wet snow had piled up, which was much more than 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 first started the temperature dropped quickly from 36° to 28°, but then rebounded after 7:00 PM and was back at 36° by 10:00 PM.  Rush hour traffic was snarled for hours and hundreds of trees lost branches from the weight of snow.  As the storm exited winds gusting to 35 mph buffeted the City (45 mph gusts were reported at the area's three airports).


Nov 15 snowstorm
Outside my office building at 150 E. 42nd St.


WINTER OF 2020-21

December 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 9PM-3AM.  This was December's biggest snowfall since the post-Christmas blizzard of Dec. 2010 that paralyzed the city with 20" (and with 10.5" measured, 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.

January 31-February 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 the 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).