If you are wondering when the local area had measurable snowfall before this week, you would need to look all the way back to February of 2022.
Almost two years has gone by since Nassau County received at least one inch of snow. The streak reached 700 days this past Monday. All of Long Island has been in a historic snow drought, with record low snowfall at local climate sites.
“I chalk it up as one part natural variability, one part climate change,” Dominic Ramunni, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said. “We’ve certainly experienced mild winters with minimal snowfall before, but it’s undeniable the atmosphere continues to warm above historic levels.”
Ramunni said it’s difficult to look at one specific event or season and declare climate change was the cause. However, he noted that climate change’s inevitable result is an increase in stronger, higher precipitation storms. Also, he mentioned that 2023 was the warmest year on record at Central Park and Islip’s climate stations.
“It does have budgetary impacts,” Don Clavin, Town of Hempstead supervisor, said about the lack of snowfall. “Such as the purchase of sand or salt and we were able to cut back on that because we were able to preserve what we scored last year.”
Clavin said that the safety that has resulted from this streak is the most important. With the decrease in snowfall comes the decrease in danger on the roads.
“It’s a win for not only budgetary wise, but also safety wise,” Clavin said.
Clavin said that the Town starts preparing for the snow in October. He meets with snow removal crews and discusses the equipment that is left in the stock. Due to the lack of use of the equipment, such as plows, Clavin said that his team is working diligently to maintain them.
“I am fortunate that I have very seasoned staff that knows what needs to be done to maintain the fleet and be prepared,” Clavin said.
The Town’s equipment is located in the Central Highway Yard in Roosevelt, Inwood, and Franklin Square. In total, there are over 200 pieces of equipment that prep the roads for any upcoming snowstorm.
“For the snow lovers out there, it’s far too soon to write off this winter,” Rammuni said. “We are just entering the climatologically snowiest period of the year where Islip averages nearly 9 inches in January and another 10 inches in February, so plenty of winter to get through.”
There are “several opportunities on the horizon that could finally put an end to our nearly snowless stretch,” Rammuni said in an email on Jan. 10. He said that the jet stream has been positioned in a way that has been bringing storm after storm into the area. Now, all that is needed is some cold air from Canada to enter the country.
“I think odds are better than not that these players line up at least once or twice before the winter comes to a close,” Rammuni said.