Ithaca College Quarterly 2005/1


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South Hill Today

Baby, It's Cold Outside

During the time we were working on this issue, weather was a frequent topic of discussion in Ithaca. The year 2005 started out quite frigid, and the month of January seemed like a cold-record-breaker to us. We decided to check, and found out we were wrong. But the month did have three days when the temperature never rose out of the single digits, and one day when the temperature was 32 degrees lower than average. We thought you'd like to see what the trends have been over the years. Generally, January is the coldest month at an average of 23.3 degrees (data from 1925 to 2004)

The biggest seasonal snowfall on record was the winter of 1977-78, when 122.2 inches of the white stuff fell on Ithaca. In 1961 the biggest daily snowfall was recorded -- 21 inches, in February.

Average Snowfalls by Decade (inches):

1930s: 54.8
'40s: 65.3*
'50s: 77.0
'60s: 66.2
'70s: 76.0
'80s: 59.8
'90s: 70.3
2000-4: 70.3

*Some annual snowfall information is missing

Random Monthly Average Winter Temperatures

Feb. 1930: 29.0
Dec. 1945: 22.3
Jan. 1950: 33.5
March 1958: 32.1
Dec. 1965: 31.6
Jan. 1971: 17.5
March 1984: 23.8
Jan. 1991: 22.8
Feb. 1997: 30.3
March 2004: 36.4

*December 1 through March 31

Source: Northeast Regional Climate Center, Ithaca Climate Survey, Cornell University (

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