Sunday, February 18, 2007


The climate of New York State is broadly representative of the humid continental type, which prevails in the northeastern United States, but its diversity is not usually encountered within an area of comparable size. Masses of cold, dry air frequently arrive from the northern interior of the continent. Prevailing winds from the south and southwest transport warm, humid air, which has been conditioned by the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent subtropical waters. These two air masses provide the dominant continental characteristics of the climate. A third great air mass flows inland from the North Atlantic Ocean and produces cool, cloudy, and damp weather conditions.

Nearly all storm and frontal systems moving eastward across the continent pass through or in close proximity to New York State. Storm systems often move northward along the Atlantic coast and have an important influence on the weather and climate of Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. Frequently, areas deep in the interior of the state feel the effects of such coastal storms.

The winters are long and cold in the Plateau Divisions of the state. In the majority of winter seasons, a temperature of -25° or lower can be expected in the northern highlands (Northern Plateau) and -15° or colder in the southwestern and east-central highlands (Southern Plateau). The Adirondack region records from 35 to 45 days with below zero temperatures in normal to severe winters.

The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and higher elevations of the Southern Plateau. The New York City area and lower portions of the Hudson Valley have rather warm summers by comparison, with some periods of high, uncomfortable humidity. The remainder of New York State enjoys pleasantly warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions. Summer daytime temperatures usually range from the upper 70s to mid 80s over much of the State, producing an atmospheric environment favorable to many athletic, recreational, and other outdoor activities.

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