Where’s the snow? That’s what many residents of the Northeast United States are asking as winter continues on with a lack of snow in many areas. New York City recently set an all-time record for the latest measurable snowfall. 0.4 inch of snow fell at Central Park on February 1, 2023. The prior record was 50 years old, set on January 29, 1973. No additional snowfall has been recorded as of 2 weeks later. This means 0.4 inch is the current seasonal snowfall total for New York City. The record for the least snowfall in a season for that location is 2.8 inches, set during the winter of 1972-1973. It’s possible that record may be broken this winter, with no snowstorms on the horizon. During that same winter, Philadelphia, PA recorded no measurable snowfall at all!
Other areas of the Northeast are seeing similar conditions, although not to quite the same snowless extreme as New York City. Boston, MA has only recorded 7.9 inches of snow so far this winter. This is their 10th least snowy winter on record so far. Rochester, NY has received 21.2 inches of snow so far, which is 42.6 inches below normal. Buffalo, NY is one of the only major cities in the Northeast that has received above average snowfall this winter, thanks to some impressive lake effect snowstorms.
The main contributor to the lack of snow is that temperatures have been above average. That means any precipitation that has fallen has often been in the form of rain. At Central Park, January’s temperatures were 9.8 degrees above average. Boston saw January temperatures that were 7.9 degrees above average. Rochester’s temperatures were 6.6 degrees above normal in January.
Ironically, amid all these mild temperatures, there was one day of record-setting cold across much of the Northeast. This occurred a little over a week ago on February 4. Mount Washington in New Hampshire recorded a temperature of -47 F, which tied its all-time low temperature record. It also set the record for the lowest wind chill ever recorded anywhere, at -108 F! Boston, Providence, RI, Hartford, CT, Albany, NY, JFK Airport, and Newark Airport all set or matched record low temperatures for the date of February 4. However, temperatures rebounded later that day and mild temperatures are once again in the forecast for the foreseeable future.
All that said, the weather pattern could shift any time, allowing more cold air to enter our region and therefore increasing the potential for snow. The winter is not over yet, so we will see what it has yet to bring!