New York in winter conjures up traditional images of white-covered Central Park and Times Square. But not this year.
Not a single snowflake fell on Sunday, as the city broke a 50-year record for the first snow in a winter.
It is also on track to record the most consecutive snowflake-free days.
An unusual situation upsets the residents whose love/hate relationship with snow is already very complex.
“It’s really sad,” retired teacher Ann Hansen told AFP. “Normally, we don’t like to see the snow approaching. But now we begin to regret bitterly.
In the city dubbed the Big Apple, the first snowfall on average occurs in mid-December. Last year, it took until Christmas Eve.
Then schoolchildren and staff appreciate the often generously allotted “snow days”, allowing them to stay at home. Kids take out their skates and adults put on cross-country skates heading to Central Park.
“We stay at home, drink hot chocolate, and the dog loves it,” director Renata Romain told AFP.
But he hastens to add, “The snow is nice to see the first day, but then it gets dirty and melts and gets sloppy.”
Meteorologists calculate snowfall starting at 0.1 inch (quarter of a centimeter) in Central Park. So a few isolated chips are not enough.
In 1973, New Yorkers waited until January 29 for snow, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Thus, the lack of snow on a Sunday means that this duration has been exceeded for the first time since records began in 1869.
New York is also close to its longest streak of consecutive days without snow: the record to be beaten is 332 days. And the number of Sundays reached 326 days.
“It’s very unusual,” meteorologist Nelson Vaz assures AFP, referring to the recent contrasting 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 rocked much of the United States around Christmas brought heavy rains and abnormally high temperatures.
You’d have to go back to 1932 to find a much warmer start to January than this year, according to Weather.com.
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