New York's variable climate makes it a fantastic holiday destination pretty much all year round, - mild and cool during spring; warm and sunny during the summer; wet and crisp at autumn; and cold and snowy for the winter holiday season, just in time for that much-desired white Christmas. Autumn is a favourite time also to head to New York as trees are famously filled with burning-red, brown, orange and yellow-coloured leaves, a magical time to be in the state.
Overall, New York State's climatic conditions are of the humid continental type. However, the state's geographical position in northeastern USA means its climate is influenced by the usual course of at least three air masses governed by atmospheric circulation. Firstly, masses of cold, dry air arrive in the state from the northern part of the continent; secondly, winds from the south and southwest conditioned by the Gulf of Mexico and nearby subtropical waters bring warm, humid air towards the state; and thirdly is the air mass flowing inland from the North Atlantic Ocean which leads to cool, cloudy and damp weather conditions. New York's mountains such as the Adirondacks as well as rivers like those of the Hudson River and East River, including several lakes are important geographical features of the state that also affect the climate and temperatures of particular areas.
In general, the northern part of the state of New York experiences a much colder environment than the south where New York City lies. In fact, it is in high populated and urbanized cities such as NYC which has led to the phenomenon designated as the urban heat island, an area made significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to large human activities. As an example, temperatures in these areas can average 3-4 degrees Celsius warmer overnight than neighbouring cities. It is in these areas where air pollution is claimed to be at its worst.
In terms of temperature, the winter season usually offers bitter cold average temperatures many times below freezing. This is particularly true during the months of January and February. Humid and sunny conditions take up the months of June through to August statewide. Temperatures are rarely too extreme either in winter or summer although occasionally over the years, New York has been known to experience severe weather in the form of snowstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.