If you’re going to be travelling to New York City you will probably want to know what to expect weather wise. So make sure you bring a full suitcase if you will be staying for a longer period as New York experiences every season and every type of weather, from scorching hot to freezing cold and everything in between. Officially, New York’s climate is humid-subtropical, making the northernmost big city in the United States a four season city with the coldest month being January and the hottest July. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on what type of weather you prefer.

The city gets at least 234 days with sunshine, with an estimated 2800 hours of sunshine per year. Winters, as surely most people currently visiting the city know, can get pretty intense, ranging from mildly cold and damp, to raging blizzards and snowstorms.  The lowest temperature recorded was -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 degrees Celsius) and was registered in 1934 while the hottest was recorded two years later in 1936 and measured up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius).

Generally, temperatures in winter range from 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) to 38 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius) while the summer average temperature is somewhere around 84.1 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). Summers are reasonably hot without shocking changes of temperature; however, humidity can be a problem.

While the weather is generally mild with few extreme temperatures, hurricanes or huge snowfalls do tend to happen. Last winter’s heavy snowfall, also known as Winter Storm Nemo or The Blizzard of 2013, was one of the city’s most violent resulting in plane cancellations, a state of emergency and several days of closed schools and other public institutions.

This year’s winter storms are also quite harsh, with blizzards and heavy snowfall causing many flight cancellations and difficult driving conditions. With repeated storms that had an estimated 14 inches of snow each, New York had to dig itself out a number of times.

While the harsh winter weather can make life difficult it does come with a silver lining and that is the magical look that New York has when covered knee deep in snow. Central Park is the perfect destination for tourists as well as locals that want to enjoy the snow, however, Brooklyn Bridge Park or Bryant Park are also delightful this time of year. The weather also makes an average walk through the city an unforgettable experience as Beaux-Art buildings get a magical look due to the snow covered decorations that really bring out the city’s innate beauty.

The ingenuity of New Yorkers is also a fun treat and possibly a great photo opportunity as people on cross-country skies, snow adapted bicycles or improvised, dog-pulled sleighs can be seen across the city.

So if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that regardless of season, New York is tough enough to make even the harshest weather conditions work in its favor.