First Flakes Fall, but Still Little Snow in N.Y. This Winter

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Something seems amiss in the sky over New York City. And no, a transformer explosion is not turning it an eerie blue again.

Look up. There is very little snow falling this winter.

In fact, the city’s five boroughs have not seen one day of measurable snowfall since fall, when a crippling storm on Nov. 15 stranded thousands of commuters outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.

Even the Washington area — more than 200 miles southwest of New York — had a recent snow day. Residents there spent Monday digging out from up to a foot of precipitation from a weekend storm that earned an unofficial name ribbing off the government shutdown: “Snurlough,”combining snow and furlough.

So, where is the snow in New York City?

The National Weather Service said it could not comment because of the shutdown.

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But forecasts showed a possible end to the snow drought by Friday morning: In the city, one to two inches were predicted. Four additional inches could accumulate this weekend.

Still, the scarcity this season is unusual. Since 1869, the earliest year for which data is available, New York City has had only nine years with no measurable snowfall from mid-November through mid-January.This is your last free article.Subscribe to The Times

“You need two ingredients to produce snow,” Tom Niziol, the winter weather expert at The Weather Channel, said. “You need moisture and you need cold air, but you haven’t been able to get much cold air into places like New York City.”

Samantha Borisoff, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, cautioned that it was difficult to attribute short-term weather fluctuations to climate change, which is a longer-term trend.

She did offer letdown snow-lovers this: February is usually the snowiest month in New York City.

Jim Bengtson, one of the owners of Brothers Hardware in Manhattan, said a snowfall would help the store sell its supply of calcium chloride snow melt.

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“And in Manhattan, you don’t have much space,” he said about the overflowing inventory in his shop.

But, Mr. Bengtson, who has worked in hardware stores for more than 40 years, said he is used to fluctuations in winter weather affecting sales of snow melt, shovels and heaters. Mr. Bengtson estimated, for instance, that Brothers Hardware had sold 30 percent fewer heaters so far this season.

“We’re hoping to get rid of some of the inventory,” he said.

This weekend’s forecast was also welcome news for the staff at Thunder Ridge Ski Area, which is a couple of hours north of New York City, where snow-making machines were blowing nonstop.

“We always prefer Mother Nature to provide us with snow, but with our location in southern New York, we anticipate having to make snow every season,” Meryl DiDio, Thunder Ridge’s office manager, said.

Last weekend, Ms. DiDio said, the machines worked for 100 straight hours.

by nytimes.com