First Snow-less January in NYC in 75 Years

Unless New York City gets hit by an unexpected blizzard in the next 24 hours, this January will be the first essentially snow-less January in the last 75 years, according to weather records.

Just a trace amount of the white stuff — under a tenth of an inch — was measured in Central Park this month.

"It was flurries or something, not really enough to measure," said Keith Eggleston of the New York State Climate Office.

The only other year in the 97-year climate record that saw just a trace of snow in January was in 1933.

Warmer-than-average temperatures and a lack of major storms are the reason for the dearth in January snowfall, Eggleston says.

"We didn’t' have any real big coastal storms that hit the city," he told LiveScience. "Those are the storms that give the city its real big snowfalls."

Even with storms that could have provided precipitation, the warmer temperatures may have turned a potential snowfall into rain, Eggleston said. That's exactly what happened when a winter storm that hit the area on Jan. 13-14 gave snow to many surrounding areas, but only rain to the city.

The oddity in the monthly snowfall was first reported by The New York Sun.

New York City did see 2.9 inches of snow in December.

"Winter hasn't been completely devoid of snowfall," Eggleston said.

Those 2.9 inches slotted this winter as the year with the 13th least amount of snowfall from November through January. The winter of 1994-95 had the least by this point in the season, with only 0.2 inches.

Warmer temperatures are expected to continue through February, Eggleston said, which could hamper any hopes for late-season snowfalls. But the chance of seeing a white cityscape before the spring is there.

Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.