NYC Guide

How is the weather in New York City?

One of the things that people always asked me it’s about the weather in New York. People always want to know about the temperatures here and what to wear – usually is because of the winter. But the truth is that I am not a meteorologist, and even if I were, let’s remember that Mother Nature does whatever she wants. However, there are some facts that help you to understand the weather here and plan your trip.

Check the period of each season –  this is a basic geography concept, but let’s remember. The seasons in the Northern Hemisphere are opposite to seasons in the Southern Hemisphere. Translation: When it is winter in Southern Hemisphere, it’s summer here. Simple, right? If you know the period of the seasons where you live, then you know the seasons here. This means that winter is from December 21st to March 20th, the spring is from March 21th to June 20th, the summer is from June 21st to September 22nd and fall is from September 23rd to December 20th.

You have to know that the seasons are well defined in NYC – here, every season is very well defined. This means that winter is super cold and the summer is hot. That is, no need to bring coats in June, okay? And the fall and spring are mid-season period, with warm and cold days, but never extreme, and with magnificent landscapes. Many flowers in the spring and brown and red landscape during fall.

Real Feel temperature is very important – do you know what is real Feel temperature? It’s the way our senses perceive the air temperature, which may differ from the actual temperature. This concept is very important when we talk about New York. In winter and summer, it’s unusual that the feeling will be the same as the temperature shown on the thermometer. During the winter, the “feels like” is usually worse, because of the wind in the city. In the summer, because of the humidity, the stifling weather is worse. So whenever you check the temperature, check the Real Feel temperature.

Weather apps are your best friends – I confess I don’t like when people ask me how is the weather here, because this question is easily answered by opening a weather app – I suggest Yahoo Weather and Weather Channel – or even searching on Google. I check an app every time that I will leave my house. They not only show the temperature, hour by hour, as the Real Feel temperature, wind and humidity, plus the time that the sun rises and sets. All in real-time. If you are coming here, download an app: you can check the weather situation in all cities of the world. Check the season of your trip and also check the picture above, which gives an idea of how is the weather month by month. Don’t worry about what to bring months before your trip: luggage is something you begin to plan a few days before leaving, always checking the forecast – that shows the weather for the next 10 days.

Mother Nature does what she wants – when talking about New York, some things are obvious: the winter is very cold and the summer is very hot. You can’t have any doubts about that. The fact is that, traveling here between December and February, you will need thermal clothes and heavy coats and if you come here between July and September, you will only need light clothes. But Mother Nature is unique and moody, lol. Last Christmas, for example, we had a few days when the temperature hit the 70s, something unusual. But this is not a rule, it is an exception. The same goes for snow forecasting: snow is likely to happen in January and February, but it is impossible to predict – never believe in snow forecasting a month before! Snow is a phenomenon that needs specific circumstances – I only believe in snow forecasting a few days before.

Deciding what time to visit the city is something very personal – people always ask which is the best time to visit New York. Well, in my opinion, the best time is between May and late October. If it is between the end of May and the end of September, great because then you can enjoy places like Coney Island, Governors Island, rooftops, etc. But again, this is my opinion. There are those who dream to see snow, for example, or enjoy the magical atmosphere of Christmas. New York is a city with well-defined seasons, remember, again. And this is wonderful because every season shows a different city. And in any season, you will enjoy it. You may not be able to make a picnic in Central Park in January – but you will be able to ice skating. And the great part of the city is the diversity of things to do.

Finally, I pick several pictures of outfits that I wore during these more than two and a half years living here. As you can see, the seasons are really well defined – just notice my clothes every month. Do you want to know another great exercise to help to choose outfits? Open your Instagram, go in search, places, enter a place of New York (maybe Central Park, Times Square, Empire State) and see the photos taken there, checking the date. You will have an idea of how is the weather in the city by the outfits of people.

Seasons of the year

Check some information about each season in the city and what you need to know.

Winter – Let’s start with winter, the season loved by tourists and hated by New Yorkers, lol. Jokes aside, it is worth remembering that the winter officially begins on December 21 and ends on March 20th. I would say that, usually, a lot of people who visit New York in the winter have a wish: to see snow. One very important thing you need to know about snow in New York: it doesn’t snow a lot. We have only some isolated snow days and that’s it. Remember that snow is a phenomenon that needs very specific conditions to happen (so, just believe in snow forecasts two days in advance). It is also good to keep in mind that January and February are the months with the most tendency to snow. Besides, these two months are usually the coldest months – with February always being the worst. About snowstorms – they do occur, but I would say they are not that common these days, and don’t worry,  you will not spend days in the hotel. These strong weather events are announced ahead of time and the government always announces the measures that will be taken. Also, New York is a windy city, so be prepared. Temperatures range from 32F to 43F in December, 26 C to 38F in January, 28F to 41F in February, and 35F to 49F in March – remember that these are averages, okay? Oh, and remember that all the places have heating.  Remember that some attractions do not open in the winter, like Luna Park in Coney Island and Governors Island. Otherwise, the city is normal! A lot of people think that transportation stops or that there are no ferries to the Statue of Liberty, but the truth is that New York is really the city that never sleeps – even in winter.

Spring –  One of the most beautiful seasons in New York, spring begins March 21st and ends on June 20th. It’s the half-season: it starts cold and ends hot. That means you still have to bring some coats and sweaters at the end of March and during the month of April, but in May the scenario tends to improve a lot – I consider May and June two great months for those who do not like extreme temperatures. Temperatures range from 44 to 61F in April, from 54 to 70F in May and from 63 to 79 in June. You will see a lot of flowers, especially during the cherry blossom season. But unfortunately, they don’t last too long – it usually happens in the last week of April and the first week of May. At the Brooklyn Botanical Garden website, you can follow the blooming status. At this time, people also often suffer from allergies – anyone with rhinitis should be aware because the air is filled with pollen. If you are sensitive, bring your medicine – the pharmacies here also sell without a prescription.

Summer – It’s even funny when I talk to some people from Brazil about the New York summer. The city is so well known for winter that there are those who think that it is not hot here. But it is …! The summer officially begins on June 21st and ends on September 22nd. Leave your coats at home, because you will not need them in the New York summer. Keep in mind that the New York summer is very humid, which makes you think that every inch of your body is sticking. But overall, I would say that it is not like that every day. It depends on the year, of course. July and August usually have the highest averages – especially the second fortnight of July and the first fortnight of August. In September, the weather is a delight – it’s another perfect month for those who do not like extremes. Temperatures range from 68 to 84F in July, 67 at 82F in August and 60 at 75F in September.

Fall – Another beautiful season in New York! It starts on September 23rd and ends on December 20th. And it is like spring, half-season, but the opposite: it begins hot and ends cold. The landscape turns completely, with the leaves of the trees changing colors and falling. Seriously, seeing the yellow, orange, and red leaves is one of the most beautiful things here. There is nothing more inspiring than walking in Central Park during that time, which usually lasts about three weeks. You can not define an exact day for changing colors, but in general, the landscape begins to change from the second half of October – that is, after the 15th. Do you want to know how the foliage status? Check out this website. And, of course, to appreciate all this beauty the tip is to visit the parks and gardens in New York City. In addition to Central Park, it’s worth to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, Randall’s Island, Roosevelt Island, Prospect Park, among others. Fall marks the celebration of Halloween, the pumpkin season and the celebration of Thanksgiving. Temperatures range from 50 to 63C in October, 41 to 53F in November and 32 to 43F in December.

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