Some New Yorkers mourn the city’s near-historic snow drought

This winter, Jack Frost has totally flaked out.

The city was eight days away Tuesday from setting the record for the longest snow drought in the Big Apple’s history — 322 days — leaving some New Yorkers wondering where the white stuff went.

“It doesn’t feel right. It’s unsettling,” said Manhattan shop worker Ambryana Douglas, 23. “This feels like fall weather almost. I feel like we’re in October. I can walk outside in a hoodie in the middle of January, and that’s not right.”

The last measurable snowfall in the five boroughs happened on March 9 of last year. If the city stays snow-free through Jan. 25, it will break the 322-day no snow record, which has stood since 1973, said Fox Weather Meteorologist Stephen McCloud.

The lack of flurries isn’t just making people long for sledding and snow-ball fights, it’s affecting the city’s finances, saving the sanitation department tens of millions of dollars so far.

Meanwhile, businesses that deal with winter gear are seeing a chill in their bottom line.

“Every year that I remember, we ordered salt and shovels and scrapers for winter. This year, nothing,” Carlos Garnelo, a manager at Basics Plus hardware store in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay, said.

New York City had not recorded measurable snow fall since March 9, 2022 and was eight days away the historic snow drought record.

“By this time of year, we’ve usually sold about 30 snow shovels.  Most people buy bags and bags of salt ahead of time, so we always keep a lot in stock. Sometimes they’ll bring a hand truck to carry it all.”

Even as the extended forecast featured more warmer than average weather, Garnelo new that normal sales were just one storm away.

“You never know, it might snow by the end of the month. I’m still hoping. There are two months of winter left, and we rely on that extra profit to help the store.”

Only a paltry 22 snow shovels, nine ice breakers and seven windshield scrapers were on display at the Home Depot on East 59th Street.

The aftermath of last year's Jan 30th storm -- a man digging out cars
If no snow is recorded this winter, the city would save some $96 million, according to sanitation officials.
Paul Martinka
Snow on a license plate.
But businesses that rely on winter weather are hurting.

“They’re usually flying off the rack in January, but the ones you see have just been hanging there. We’ve got more in the back, they’ve just been sitting there, too,” said a Home Depot worker. “Unless someone comes up with a use for snow shovels that doesn’t involve snow, they aren’t going anywhere.” 

The New York City Charter sets aside some $96 million for the removal of snow and ice removal every season, according to Department of Sanitation Press Secretary Vincent Gragnani.

Any money not spent by the department goes back into the city’s general fund, he said.

“Let me be clear: less snow saves a lot of money – in salt and overtime – and allows our Sanitation Workers to continue the rest of their work uninterrupted,” Gragnani said in an emailed statement to The Post.

The lack of powder allows New York’s Strongest to concentrate on picking up 24 million pounds of daily trash and recycling, he explained.

Other cities along the I-95 corridor were also seeing snowless conditions.

If Old Man Winter finally rears its head, the DOS has “700 million pounds of salt and 365,500 gallons of calcium chloride on hand,” Gragnani said.

Central Park gets an average of 30 inches of snow each year — but the totals can vary wildly, according to National Weather Service records.

Snowfall totals surpassed 50 inches three times in the 2010s, but less than five inches were recorded in the 2019-20 winter, records showed.

“I’ve got a son who lives in Guyana, he’s craving to come here. He’s just crying out to see what the snow is all about,” said Patrick Ramchurejee, 73.

“Let’s get it snowing again! I like the snow. It’s very peaceful, the nights are quiet and clear,” he continued.

Not a flake in sight in Central Park on Jan. 13, 2023.
Not a flake in sight in Central Park on Jan. 13, 2023.
AFP via Getty Images

“I enjoy snow. I remember it used to snow every year. It concerns me very much that it hasn’t snowed for so long. Global warming is affecting the whole world.”

Douglas said he was glad the streets weren’t a mess, even though he found the lack of snow “unsettling.”

“Normally there’d be piles high this time of year. I’m kind of happy, because I don’t like walking around in the snow, when it gets slushy and dirty and I come home with wet socks. I hate that,” Douglas said.

Tourist pals Sam Rayner, 24 and Julia Cooke, 35, of Vancouver said they were glad they hadn’t left Canada to visit another winter wonderland.

“I think it would be picturesque with snow, but also annoying. It would be very slushy. I don’t like wearing winter boots. I like wearing sneakers. It all sounds petty, but I’m happy,” said Rayner.

An MTA bus drives on a snow covered street in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn last Feb. 1.
An MTA bus drives on a snow covered street in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn last Feb. 1.
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

“We’re just so used to snow, and it’s nice not to have to worry about it. But it is kind of concerning.”

Cooke said she was also pleased to avoid the inconvenience but was concerned about climate change.

“We’re very happy it’s not snowing. Environmentally, it’s concerning. We’re happy that it’s warm over here but we’re not happy about the long term effects.”

Temperatures were expected to reach 50 degrees Wednesday and linger in the 40s through much of the week without coming close to the average January low of 28 degrees, according to McCloud.

“We’re locked into this pattern of no cold air getting in,” he told The Post.

He added that if there is now snow until Jan. 29, that would set a record for the latest first measurable snowfall of the year in the city.

People crowd a very dry Times Square on Jan. 11, 2023.
People crowd a very dry Times Square on Jan. 11, 2023.

“The storm systems [that recently resulted in rain] have been directly across us or they move directly offshore and bringing that warmer air off of the water into the city,” McCloud said.

“Normally we would have some polar air start to seep in and give us those chances of snow.”

The meteorologist blamed the warm snap on “seasonal changes.”

New Yorkers looking to play in the snow could always flock to ski areas north of the city that were depending on snow making to stay in business.

Hunter Mountain, 130 miles north in the Catskill Mountain Range had recorded only one inch of snow in the past week, but 36 out of 66 of its lifts were open, according to its website.

“Snowmaking will continue as temperatures allow,” the website said.

Some 60 miles north of the city at the Thunder Ridge Ski Area in Patterson, NY, 11 of 22 trails were open.

Neither ski resort had returned requests for comment from The Post.

Neither Washington DC nor Philadelphia had recorded any snow this winter and were approaching local records. Up the I-95 corridor, Boston snapped its snow drought this weekend as several inches fell on the city.