The weather in New York is always exciting, whether it’s a mid-winter storm front or a gentle day in June. The city is not quite located on the mainland, but primarily on Long Island, which nudges close enough to the mainland coast to be connected by a number if bridges. The Big Apple’s climate is affected by warm winds that blow up from the south, by northern Atlantic coastal winds, and storm fronts moving in across the Great Lakes.
Winter temperatures in New York are blustery, although New York City usually has the mildest winter conditions. It is sheltered from much of the freezing temperatures that creep down from the Hudson Bay, with an average of two-five degrees C. Snow is common during the winter months, but accumulation is not generally extensive. This is in marked contrast with western and central New York State, which can be marked by at least a metre of snow, with the temperature dropping well below freezing. The coldest temperature ever recorded for New York State was -47C, set February 9, 1934 at the Stillwater Reservoir, and at Old Forge, February 18, 1979.
A winter holiday in New York City means preparing well for damp, freezing weather and wind chills that can make the air feel much colder than it actually is. Coats and sweaters that drop below the hips will feel the most comfortable, as well as insulated boots, snug hats that cover the ears and lined gloves.
New Yorkers are optimists. As far as they are concerned, spring begins in March, even though it’s not exactly tee-shirt weather. It warms up rapidly from those below zero temperatures from a cool evening low of 4 degrees C to ten degrees C during the day. By April you’re soaking in 20 degrees C and by May, you’re starting to sweat.
Spring in New York can be very sunny, although you may have to contend some major mud puddles if you’re planning your holiday in March or April. You should carry your umbrella and rain gear as there may still be patches of blustery weather that could include rain, hail or snow.
May is considered the best month for weather conditions. The sidewalks are toasting at a pleasant 23 degrees C and the chances of rain are slim. Pack plenty of light clothing for this month that is far gentler in New York City where coastal breezes keep the city streets far cooler than the surrounding state, which can be several degrees hotter.
Beginning in June, the temperature becomes progressively hotter. New York has a humid continental climate bringing warm air patterns from the south that travel up and meet with the cooler coastal front of the Hudson Bay. The cold that pressed down so hard from the north during the winter is now being pushed upward by the hot southern front. With no place to go, pressure builds up, driving summer temperatures above 25 degrees C.
The humidity in New York City during the summer months is very high, and the humidity can be oppressive. There is very little to relieve it, even when it rains. Although expensive, most travellers choose to visit the beaches this time of year as city life can be accompanied by short tempers, unsavoury smells wafting up from the subways and fatigue. The peak months are July and August, with the temperatures starting to cool down by the second week of September.
From a sweltering summer, New York begins cooling off somewhat rapidly, although you can still enjoy pleasant days throughout the months of September and October. The temperature averages around 22 degrees C, with chilly nights and frequent rain. The autumn is very beautiful, with the enormous variety in trees lighting up the sky with their choice autumn colours.
September through January first is New York City’s peak season, and the costs of tickets reflect this. The most expensive days are the end of October to the first part of November due to the annual NYC Marathon.
New York City is marked by four distinct seasons, with typical climate changes that begin with a mild spring, reach peak time high temperatures by August, cool down quickly by September and go into a frigid winter that lasts from November to the end of February. Rain is expected any time within spring and summer, and snow can occur by the end of October, with a 59% to 62% cloud cover annually.
Its geographic location places the city near a conversion zone between warm air fronts moving up from the south and Arctic pressure systems moving down from Canada. The Great Lakes contribute to the turbulence as the two pressure systems bend and move across them, east toward New York. For this reason, New York experiences storms and freezing weather in the winter and long hot spells in the summer.
Cyclonic activity is rare. Most hurricanes travelling up from the Carolinas are exhausted before reaching Virginia, bringing only torrential rains to the northern areas. The Appalachian Mountains also hinder cyclonic activity. Tropical storm season usually begins in June and ends by late November.
New York City’s location shelters it from the main brunt of winter coastal weather, and gives it an overall warmer temperature than the rest of New York State, which is exposed to the Arctic winds. Conversely, its coastal breezes keep it slightly cooler in the spring and summer months. Your holiday in New York City will be more enjoyable if you choose a month that is compatible with your ideas of what makes agreeable weather for touring and exploring the many wonderful sites and attractions of New York.