Discover New York’s Coldest January on Record

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Published: January 17, 2023
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New York is no stranger to cold temperatures. The state sees about 25-27 inches of snow every year and there are 16 days where the warmest temperature is below freezing. This can happen anytime between December to March, but it’s more common in January.

Are you ready to learn more about the state of New York’s climate and the coldest January on record? Follow along to learn more!

About New York

When most people think of New York, they immediately picture tall buildings and a busy city. While New York City is loud and full of life, the rest of the state doesn’t follow the same lifestyle. New York was incorporated as a state on July 9, 1776. This state was one of the thirteen colonies, long before the colonies declared independence from Great Britain.

New York is a very diverse state with lots of immigrants and movements. The state of New York is also beautiful, apart from the large cities. For example, there are three major mountain ranges in the state where you can climb and take nature trails to see spectacular sights. New York state also has over 7,600 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Since it’s so up north you would think it’s the coldest state in the U.S., but that award goes to Alaska.

Lake George and the Tongue Mountain Range in New York
The state of New York is beautiful, apart from the large cities, and home to many lakes and three major mountain ranges.

©Colin D. Young/

New York’s Climate

New York state is a humid state where temperatures reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and drop below freezing in the winter. A small part of the southeastern state is a humid subtropical climate zone. Summer arrives in New York right on time, bringing summer-like conditions from June to early September statewide. However, the farther south you are in the state of New York, the longer summer-like conditions.

Winter conditions start in October and typically last till April. Interestingly, it’s cloudier in western New York state because of the Great Lakes. Hurricanes impact the state occasionally, but only every 18-19 years. However, massive hurricanes that bring destruction don’t impact for 70–74 years. While hurricanes are not a yearly occurrence, tornadoes are. About 10 tornados touch down in the state every year.

The Coldest January on Record in New York

Every year New York state sees low temperatures dipping below zero, but what’s the coldest January on record in New York? The coldest January on record in New York state is hard to find, but there have been some very cold lows! For example, on January 07, 2014, New York City saw a low of 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Just a few years later, on January 31, 2019, it was 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The Saranac Lake area in New York is no stranger to the cold either. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -22 degrees Fahrenheit at Adirondack Regional Airport on January 5th, 2016.

New York City during blizzard
New York City has recorded some of the coldest temperatures in January.

©Nick Starichenko/

What is the Coldest it has Ever Been in New York State?

The coldest temperature ever in New York state might shock you! On February 18, 1979, New York state residents living near Old Forge woke up to −52 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature hasn’t dropped that drastically since. Another jaw-dropping temperature occurred at Central Park in 1870, over a century ago, where residents experienced -15 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not too far from the coldest recorded temperature in the United States. In Alaska, on Jan. 23, 1971 experts recorded a chilly -80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Central Park, New York City cold temperatures reached 15 degrees
In Central Park in 1870, New York residents experienced a low of -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

©John A. Anderson/

Animals in the State of New York

It’s hard to imagine many animals that can withstand cold temperatures well below freezing. New York state is home to at least 100 different types of animals including amphibians and large mammals. Although not commonly seen in the city, black bears, coyotes, and Eurasian boars are common in the state. Black bears hibernate in the winter but are mostly found near the mountain ranges in New York. Not only can you spot black bears in New York, although not usually in winter, there are also:

There are also plenty of places to fish in New York. Ice fishing is common across the state, but not in all bodies of water. Always double-check before planning your trip. Some popular ice-fishing destinations include Oneida Lake, Lake Erie, Keuka Lake, Lake Champlain, and Cranberry Lake. You can fish for pike, catfish, bass, and sunfish. Ice fishing can be dangerous, so take as many percussions as possible. Bundle up and stay warm. The biggest threat is falling through the ice and into the cold water. Staying under such cold water can cause hypothermia, concussions, burns, and frostbite.

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Snow in New York City
Snow in New York City.

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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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