New York - Climate



Although New York lies entirely within the humid continental zone, there is much variation from region to region. The three main climatic regions are the southeastern lowlands, which have the warmest temperatures and the longest season between frosts; the uplands of the Catskills and Adirondacks, where winters are cold and summers cool; and the snow belt along the Great Lakes Plain, one of the snowiest areas of the US. The growing (frost-free) season ranges from 100 to 120 days in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and higher elevations of the hills of southwestern New York to 180–200 days on Long Island.

Among the major population centers, New York City has an annual mean temperature of 55°F (13°C), with a normal maximum of 62°F (17°C) and a normal minimum of 47°F (8°C). Albany has an annual mean of 47°F (8°C), with a normal maximum of 58°F (14°C) and a normal minimum of 37°F (3°C). The mean in Buffalo is 48°F (9°C), the normal maximum 56°F (13°C), and the normal minimum 39°F (4°C). The record low temperature for the state is –52°F (–47°C), recorded at Stillwater Reservoir in the Adirondacks on 9 February 1934 and at Old Forge on 18 February 1979; the record high is 108°F (42°C), registered at Troy on 22 July 1926.

Annual precipitation ranges from over 50 in (127 cm) in the higher elevations to about 30 in (76 cm) in the areas near Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain, and in the lower half of the Genesee River Valley. New York City had an average annual precipitation (1971–2000) of 49.7 in (126 cm), with a mean annual snowfall of 29 in (74 cm); Albany received an average annual precipitation of 38.6 in (98 cm); and Buffalo, 40.5 in (102.9 cm). In the snow belt, Buffalo receives 92 in (234 cm) of snow. Rochester averages 86 in (218 cm), and Syracuse 110 in (279 cm). New York City has fewer days of precipitation than other major populated areas (120 days annually, compared with 168 for Buffalo). Buffalo is the windiest city in the state, with a mean hourly wind speed of about 12 mph (19 km/hr). Tornadoes are rare, but hurricanes and tropical storms sometimes cause heavy damage to Long Island.



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