When will the snow fall, New Yorkers wonder

New York in winter conjures up traditional images of Central Park and Times Square shrouded in a blanket of white. But not this year.

Despite the blizzards that recently violently hit the north of the state, the metropolis is still waiting for its first snowflake. A delay that will reach a record 50 years on Sunday!

An unusual situation that disturbs residents whose love/hate relationship with snow is already very complicated.

“It’s really sad,” Anne Hansen, a retired teacher, told AFP. “Normally, we don’t like to see the snow coming. But now we start to regret it bitterly”.

In the metropolis nicknamed “the big apple”, the first snowfalls occur on average in mid-December. Last year, it took until Christmas Eve.

Central Park under snow in 2022 and without snow a year later (AFP – ED JONES / ANGELA WEISS)

Schoolchildren and employees then appreciate the “snow days” often generously allocated, which allows them to stay at home. The children take out their sledges and the adults put on their cross-country skis, heading to Central Park.

“We stay at home, we drink hot chocolate, the dog loves it,” director Renata Romain told AFP.

But, he hastens to add, “the snow is beautiful to see on the first day, but after that it gets dirty, it melts and it’s filthy”.

Meteorologists count snow starting at 0.1 inch (a quarter of a centimeter) in height in Central Park. A few isolated flakes are therefore not enough.

In 1973, New Yorkers waited until January 29 for snow, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A tourist in the snow in Times Square in New York, December 16, 2020 (AFP - TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
A tourist in the snow in Times Square in New York, December 16, 2020 (AFP – TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

If this duration is exceeded on Sunday, the expectation will be unequaled since the beginning of the taking of the statements, in 1869.

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New York is also approaching its longest series of consecutive days without snow: the record to beat is 332 days. On Sunday, we will reach 326 days.

“It’s very unusual,” confirms Nelson Vaz, a meteorologist, to AFP, recalling the recent paradoxical cold spells. One meter of snow fell in December in Buffalo, killing 39 people.

But in New York, 600 kilometers to the south, this historic storm that froze much of the United States around Christmas resulted in lots of rain and abnormally high temperatures.

You have to go back to 1932 to find a warmer start to January than this year, according to Weather.com.

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