NYC Seasonal Summary: Winter 2015-16

The spring equinox is still a few weeks away, but meteorological winter (December, January, and February) has officially come to a close and it was the second warmest on record in New York City.

According to the NWS, the city’s average temperature for the season was 40.98°F. That is a staggering 5.9°F above normal. Only the winter of 2001-2002, with an average temperature of 41.5°F, was warmer.

Even though most of the winter felt like we were riding a temperature rollercoaster – from a record warm Christmas to a record cold Valentine’s Day – the warmth won out in the end. We had 40 days where the temperature reached 50°F or higher and every month of the season posted an above average reading. In fact, December 2015 was a staggering 13.3°F above normal and was the city’s warmest December on record.

In terms of snowfall, the city measured 31.2 inches in Central Park, which is 10.2 inches above average. Of this impressive total, 26.8 inches fell during the Blizzard of 2016 at the end of January. Without that storm, the city would have only had 4.4 inches of snow for the entire season.

For the past two winters, multiple extended artic outbreaks courtesy of the polar vortex kept the region colder than average. This year, a strong El Niño in the Pacific helped warmer than normal conditions dominate most of the season in the northeast.

National Weather Service records for Central Park date back to 1873.

Winter of 2015-16 brought NYC a rollercoaster of temperatures, but the warmth won out. It was the city's 2nd warmest winter on record. Credit: The Weather Gamut

Winter of 2015-16 brought NYC a rollercoaster of temperatures, but the warmth won out. It was the city’s 2nd warmest winter on record. Credit: The Weather Gamut

This entry was posted in weather and tagged , , , , by Melissa Fleming. Bookmark the permalink.

About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.