This winter’s weather has been memorable to say the least, but where does it fit historically? If you think 2017-18 was especially brutal, you’re right, but you might be surprised at how it stacks up against previous NYC winters.
While it may have felt like the cold temperatures were the definition of extreme, the 2017-18 season didn’t break any records. Average monthly record lows continue to stand at 14 degrees for November (1955), 0 degrees for December (1989), -4 degrees for January (1994), -3 degrees in February (1979) and 5 degrees for March (1981). But averages don’t provide us with the jaw-dropping figures we really want: the lowest temperatures ever recorded. Somewhat disappointingly, however, even within this context, 2018 didn’t break any records. NYC’s lowest ever recorded temperature is -15, which happened on February 9th, 1934. This winter didn’t register any frigid days that broke the top ten coldest days ever ranking.
Snow was a slightly different story, although none of this past winter’s storms were the largest ever. Still, 2017-18 was the fifth consecutive season that at least 30 inches of snow have fallen in NYC (the average snowfall per season since 1869 has been 28.8 inches). The only other time it snowed this much for five consecutive years was back in the 1880s.
This year, we also managed to beat per month snowfall averages in January, March and April. And, we’ve had 40.9 inches of snow in total, making it the 32nd-most snowiest season in the past 149 seasons, which is as long as we’ve kept track. NYC’s record for snow in a single winter is 75.6 inches, set in the 1995-96 season. Our record for snow in a single month is 36.9 inches, set in February 2010.
The biggest snowstorm on record to ever hit NYC occurred on February 11, 2006, when it snowed 26.9 inches in two days. 2016’s January 22-24 storm ranks just .1 inches behind at 26.8 inches. Other historic snowstorms occurred in December 1947, March 1888 and February 2010.
This winter NYC did manage to break one notable record, although it wasn’t for the cold. On February 21st, the city hit 78 degrees, breaking the previous record for that day, which had been 68 degrees set back in 1930. It was the warmest February temperature ever recorded in Central Park, breaking an 88-year record; the previous all-time high had been 75 degrees.
So, no, it wasn’t your imagination: it snowed A LOT this winter. And this year was part of the aforementioned snowier-than-usual trend that we’ve seen for the past five years. But as much as it might’ve felt like it was the coldest, fiercest, snowiest winter on record when our toes were going numb during our daily commutes, it wasn’t the worst we’ve seen. Not even close.
Looking for something to do now that the winter is (hopefully) over? There are still a couple of our Spring Events yet do go down, and the warm weather is always a good reason to check out one of NYC’s impressive (and free) parks for a productive springtime workout!