Spring Weather? Snowstorm? New York Forecast Has a Little of Everything
No matter what sort of winter weather you prefer, New York City will most likely have something for you on Wednesday or Thursday.
Wednesday’s forecast called for a high of around 60 degrees, a springlike level of weather sure to please those who like their winters nice and easy. It will be nearly 30 degrees warmer than February’s typically near- or below-freezing temperatures.
And around the city, people were taking advantage — walking around in T-shirts and tank tops, sitting outdoors at cafes, enjoying parks and promenades.
However, if you prefer your February a little colder, a snowstorm is expected to sweep in early Thursday and drop up to 12 inches on the region, perhaps giving those who smile at the thought of snow-covered streets and children who long for a snow day a reason to cheer.
Libby Courtemanche had taken her two sons, Christopher, 2, and Bradley, less than a year old, to a park in Huntington, Long Island, on Wednesday.
“You know what’s gonna happen tomorrow?” she asked the 2-year-old. “It’s gonna snow. And we’re gonna get to play in the snow.”
And this roller coaster ride of extremes is sure to provide fuel for those who gripe about the weather. It will be unseasonably warm Wednesday and unpleasantly wintry Thursday, but neither will be just right, of course.
Tim Morrin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the drastic shift in weather was “unusual, but it’s certainly not unprecedented.”
The extremes should not be seen as a sign that the gods are angry. Mr. Morrin said it could be explained by two competing weather patterns: cold air masses descending from the North that will push out a low-pressure, warm air mass in time to chill the city and turn precipitation to snow.
“Air masses move,” he said. “It’s just the timing.”
If the temperature crests above 61 degrees on Wednesday, it would match the record set in 1965, according to meteorological data.
At Cozy Coffee in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, patrons headed straight for the back patio, where owner Migdalia Medina ran cups of coffee and small plates of food plates to people seated at picnic tables under a canopy of bare tree branches.
“As soon as they feel it they start coming out,” Ms. Medina said of her customers. As for Thursday’s forecast, she said the patio seating “also looks good under snow.”
The temperature on Feb. 8 typically hovers around 34 degrees, a level of cold that will return Thursday. The snowfall will begin early and last about 12 hours, according to the National Weather Service, with about eight to 12 inches forecast for the city. Winds are expected to blow, with gusts of 30 to 35 miles per hour.
The New York weather historian Steve Fybish, who keeps records of the city’s weather dating to the 19th century, agreed that the weather swing was not unusual. He rifled through his records to find other days of similar extremes: a snowstorm and a 70-degree afternoon within a couple of days in 1984; 69 degrees on a November day followed by five inches of snow in 1896.
In February 2014, when the Super Bowl was at the Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, N.J., the weather swung sharply. While there had been concerns that the outdoor game at MetLife Stadium would be impacted by the cold, game day registered a mild 49 degrees at the stadium and 57 degrees in the city. But the next day, the temperature plunged to 27 degrees followed by a cold snap that was punctuated by eight inches of snow.
On Thursday, the snowfall is likely to be heaviest during the morning commute, Mr. Morrin said.
“I don’t think there’s going to be anyone rushing anywhere,” he said. “The commute time will be impacted.”