What Kind of Climate Does New York Have?

Climatologists describe the climate of New York State as the humid continental type that prevails in the New England states; however, many factors cause diversity in what one might encounter when visiting the state. Its geographic position and unusual air masses often take control of the weather. The state's proximity to the Atlantic has a pronounced effect on its climate.

Temperatures in the state are generally mild. July has the highest average temperature of 83 F. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average low of 23 F. The record high and low are 102 F and -4 F respectively. Average monthly precipitation ranges from a low of 3.06 inches in February to 4.48 inches in May.

Two types of air masses dominate the climate of the state. Cold, dry air masses move from the west over New York from the nation's interior. Prevailing winds bring warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and neighboring bodies of water. A third air mass occasionally brings cold, wet weather inland from the Atlantic Ocean. High pressure systems bring extended periods of cold or warm weather throughout the year. During the winter, the state receives an average of 40 inches of snowfall.