How Deep Is the Frost Line in Upstate New York?

The frost line in upstate New York is greater than 48 inches in most areas and ranges from 32 to 48 inches in other parts of the Empire State, according to Adirondack Almanack writer Tom Kalinowski. The frost line is the maximum distance below ground that soil water freezes.

Unlike the ice at the surface of ponds, lakes and other bodies of water, the frost line is not uniformly thick and may vary substantially in areas just short distances apart. With increased wind, the shores of lakes and open meadows often feature less snow depth than sheltered spots, enabling the cold to penetrate the ground more easily. On the contrary, sheltered areas of powdery snow have an insulating effect that prevents soil heat from escaping into the atmosphere, resulting in a shallower frost line.