Snow emergency lifted in Utica, sub-zero wind chills expected across Central New York

Winter weather has arrived in Central New York, and Utica has lifted the snow emergency that was put in place Monday.

Bitterly cold temperatures and snow, especially heavy in northern Oneida County, came into the area Monday and will continue overnight to Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Binghamton. Utica is expected to receive 4 to 6 inches of snow in the storm, with 3 to 4 inches in Syracuse and 6 to 8 inches in Boonville.

The storm also will bring bitterly cold temperatures, with wind chill expected to bottom out at -25 in Utica, -23 in Rome and -24 in Hamilton.

A man clears the sidewalk with a snowblower during heavy snowfall in Herkimer on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021.
A man clears the sidewalk with a snowblower during heavy snowfall in Herkimer on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021.

Those frigid temperatures are a change from the relatively mild temperatures and precipitation seen in the region this winter. Both measures have trailed unofficial averages so far, though the season isn’t done yet.

The unofficial average temperature in November hovered just less than the typical 39 degrees at Griffiss Airfield in Rome. In December, however, the average temperature this December was 5.6 degrees warmer than the normal 28.3 degrees.

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There were two days in the 60s in December, with the hottest day being Dec. 16 at 63 degrees — a day with an average temperature 25 degrees warmer than average. There were seven days with an average temperature more than 10 degrees warmer than average, including the last four days of 2021.

Snowfall totals have fluctuated at Westmoreland, as recorded by NWS. In the past 14 years, the largest total recorded was 113.6 inches in the winter of 2010-11, while the smallest is 38.2 inches in 2015-16.

So far this year, the region has seen below average snowfall. There was no snow recorded in October, then only 3.9 inches in November, which falls in line with recent years but less than the 6.8 inch unofficial average.

The snowfall in December — 7.5 inches — is the least since 2018-19 and the third lowest in the past 14 years.

The story is similar in Syracuse, which has seen snowfall well below the average dating back to 1989-90. There were only 4.2 inches of snowfall in November and 9.5 inches in December, trailing the historic average of 9.6 inches and 30.2 inches, respectively.

State warns residents to brace for cold

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Acting Commissioner Jackie Bray urged New Yorkers to prepare for extreme cold, especially those near Lakes Erie and Ontario, where wind chills will drop as low as -20 and -30 degrees.

With temperatures so low, there’s an increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite and an increased risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning from portable space heaters or fuel-burning appliances.

“Weather conditions across the state will bring extreme cold until Wednesday and many of the same areas will see dangerous travel conditions until tomorrow because of heavy snow, high winds and the dangerously cold temperatures,” Bray said.

Bray recommended New Yorkers limit their time outside, know where to take shelter if needed and check on neighbors or loved ones to ensure their safety.

Two-hour delay issued for Utica, Rome schools

The severe weather has led to delays in both the Utica and Rome city school districts.

Utica schools are operating on a two-hour delay Tuesday due to inclement weather, according to the Utica City School District website.

The Rome City School District also announced on its website it would be operating on a two-hour delay Tuesday due to forecasted wind chill temperatures.

Both school districts' start times will begin two hours later than the regular time.

Steve Howe is the city reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at

This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Snow emergency lifted in Utica; sub-zero temps remain in Central NY