NEW YORK (AP) — It’s winter, so where’s the white stuff? It’s not covering the ground in New York City.
Since the start of winter in December, there hasn’t been any measurable snowfall in the city, meaning at least one-tenth of an inch accumulating on the ground, according to the National Weather Service.
Reaching Jan. 30 without seeing more than a trace of flakes has set a new record – the last time it took this long to get some snow lingering on the ground in the wintertime was 1973, when New Yorkers had to wait until Jan. 29. Last year around this time, a heavy snowstorm dumped several inches of snow in the city.
This year, there’s been plenty of precipitation, said James Tomasini, a meteorologist with the NWS, but it’s been in the form of rain because it hasn’t been cold enough for snow.
“Storm tracks and cold air have been remaining to the north and west of the area,” he said.
New York City is also set to break a second record, for the longest period of time without snow. It’s currently at 327 days, and needs to pass the 332 days marked in December 2020 to be a new record, Tomasini said.
He said it appeared likely that the city would get to that point, with no signs of serious snowfall in the short-term forecast for the week.
When looking at snowfall totals and temperature records for the region over time, “we’re starting to see in the last 20 years a consistent warming that tells us that there is a climate issue here,” New York state climatologist Mark Wysocki said.
He said of the top ten list of lowest snowfall totals measured in Central Park, five of them have been in the 2000s, as have four of the warmest winter temperatures.
But a snowless December and January carry no guarantees for February, which traditionally has the highest potential for severe snow, he pointed out.
“We could make up for the lack of snow we’re having now with just one or two big blizzards,” he said.