When does winter arrive?

The weather is getting colder. These are the dates you need to know if you're a fan (or not!) of the winter season.

Alex Calamia

Nov 10, 2023, 5:21 PM

Updated 257 days ago


Whether you're a fan of winter or dreading its arrival, there is no doubt it is on its way quickly. Here are a few dates to keep in mind as we approach the new season.

Winter solstice

This is the shortest day of the year and the date when the sun is the lowest in the sky. This year it falls on Dec. 21, but the date can actually fall anywhere from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23. On the calendar it marks the first day of winter, but this is not recognized by meteorologists as the start of the season.

Meteorological winter 

The official start of winter for weather record-keeping is actually much sooner than the solstice. It falls on Dec.1 every year and ends on the last day of February. Any weather that happens during this time is considered to be part of the winter season. So, when you hear the News 12 Storm Watch team say it's going to be a snowy winter, we are referring to December, January and February. Don't get excited though, we are not necessarily saying it will be a snowy winter!

The average first snow 

What is winter without snow? Last winter (2022-2023), we actually reported the latest snow on record in Central Park (Feb. 1). Typically, the first measurable snow of the season falls in the second week of December in Central Park. It's unusual for December to be a snowy month though. Our coldest and snowiest time of the year falls in mid-January or early-February, and this is when we see some of our biggest snow events.  

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