Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, It's the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, (making it the 170th largest city in the country) and its metropolitan area had a population of 662,577. It is the economic and educational hub of Central New York, a region with over a million inhabitants. Syracuse is also well-provided with convention sites, with a downtown convention complex and, directly west of the city, the Empire Expo Center, which hosts the annual Great New York State Fair. The city derives its name from Siracusa, a city on the eastern coast of the Italian island of Sicily.
The city has functioned as a major crossroads over the last two centuries, first between the Erie Canal and its branch canals, then of the railway network. Today, Syracuse is located at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 90, and its airport is the largest in the region. Syracuse is home to Syracuse University, a major research university, as well as several smaller colleges and professional schools. In 2010 Forbes rated Syracuse 4th in the top 10 places to raise a family.
Geography and climate
Syracuse is located at 43°2′49″N 76°8′40″W (43.046899, −76.144423).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.6 square miles (66 km2), of which, 25.1 square miles (65 km2) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it (2.15%) is water.
The city stands at the northeast corner of the Finger Lakes Region. The city has many neighborhoods which were originally various villages that joined the city over the years. Although the central part of Syracuse is flat, many of its neighborhoods are located on small hills such as University Hill and Tipperary Hill. Land to the north of Syracuse is generally flat while land to the south is hilly.
About 27 percent of Syracuse's land area is covered by 890,000 trees — a higher percentage than in Albany, Rochester or Buffalo. This is despite the Labor Day Storm of 1998, a derecho which destroyed approximately 30,000 trees. The sugar maple accounts for 14.2 percent of Syracuse's trees, followed by the Northern white cedar (9.8 percent) and the European buckthorn (6.8 percent). The most common street tree is the Norway maple (24.3 percent) followed by the honey locust (9.3 percent). The densest tree cover in Syracuse is in the two Valley neighborhoods, with 46.6 percent of their land covered by trees. The lowest tree cover percentage is found downtown, which consists of only 4.6 percent trees.
Syracuse's main water source is Skaneateles Lake, one of the country's cleanest lakes, located 15 miles (24 km) southwest of the city. Water from nearby Onondaga Lake is not drinkable due to industrial dumping that spanned many decades, leaving the lake heavily polluted. Incoming water is left unfiltered, and chlorine is added to prevent bacterial growth. For periods of drought, there is also a backup line which uses water from Lake Ontario.
Onondaga Creek, a waterway that runs through downtown, flows northward through the city. There are plans and aspirations to create a creek walk that will connect the Lakefront and Inner Harbor to Franklin Square, Armory Square, The Valley, and ultimately the Onondaga Nation. The creek is navigable, yet can be quite a challenge as its channelized nature speeds up its flow, particularly in the spring, when it may be dangerous. Drownings of youngsters resulted in fencing of the creek through some residential areas.
Syracuse has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) and is known for its snowfall. Boasting 121.2 inches (308 cm) on average, the Syracuse metro area receives more snow on average than any other large city in the United States. Syracuse continually wins the Golden Snowball Award, among Upstate cities. Its record so far is 192.1 inches (488 cm). The high snowfall is a result of the city receiving both lake effect from nearby Lake Ontario and nor'easter snow. Snow most often falls in small (about 1–3 inches/2.5–7.6 centimetres), almost daily doses, over a period of several days. Larger snowfalls do occur occasionally, and even more so in the northern suburbs.
One notable blizzard was the Blizzard of 1993, during which 42.9 inches (109 cm) fell on the city within 48 hours, with 35.6 inches (90 cm) falling within the first 24 hours. Syracuse received more snow than any other city in the country during this storm, which shattered a total of eight local records, including the most snow in a single snowstorm.
A second notable snowfall was the Blizzard of 1966, with 42.3 inches (107 cm). The Blizzard of '58 occurred in February (16–17th) across Oswego and Onondaga counties. This storm was an actual blizzard due to the high winds, blowing snow and cold. 26.1 inches (66 cm) of snow was measured at Syracuse N.Y. and drifts reached 20 feet (600 cm) in Oswego County. (See Thirtieth Publication of the Oswego County Historical Society, (1969) and The Climate and Snow Climatology of Oswego N.Y., (1971)
January 2004 was the snowiest month ever in Syracuse, with a record 78.1 inches (198 cm) recorded in 31 days. December 2010 became Syracuse's second snowiest December ever on record with 72.8 inches (184.9 cm) and 45.1 inches (114.6 cm) fell in 4 days. In February 1958, Syracuse shivered under a white blanket that averaged 4 feet (120 cm) on February 19. Syracuse declared a snow emergency under a new law that allowed municipalities to demand that streets be cleared of vehicles to help with plowing operations.
Syracuse's hottest month is historically July, with an average high temperature of 82 °F (28 °C), while its coldest month is historically January, with an average high temperature of 31 °F (−1 °C). The Record high of 102 °F (39 °C) was recorded on July 9, 1936 and record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) has been witnessed three times since 1922, the last being February 18, 1979.
While the average high during summer is around the low 80s, when adding humidity, the apparent temperature highs extend upward in the range of mid-80s to mid-90s in the city. Days just shy of 100 °F (38 °C), such as 96 or 97 °F (36 °C), are not uncommon in and around the city with the humidity factored in. However, days above 100 °F (38 °C) are more rare, even with humidity taken into account.
A few recent summers in Syracuse have been warmer than previous ones in the city and, like in some other places in the nation, previous records have been broken. For example, the summers of 2005 and 2002 were, respectively, the hottest and second-hottest summers on record.