The weather in Houghton varies considerably between seasons. Students should come to Houghton prepared for everything from very warm summer temperatures to rain, snow, and occasional extreme cold in the winter. Here's a little of what you can expect:
- Summer (June - August) - Although most students don't stay around this time of year, summers in Houghton are warm, beautiful, and rarely too hot.
- Avg. highs: 70° - 80°F (~ 21° - 27°C)
- Avg. lows: 55° - 65°F (~ 13° - 18°C)
- Autumn (September - November) - Autumn in western New York is absolutely beautiful with the maple and aspen trees turning brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow. Temperatures begin to drop as we head toward winter, and we do get occasional snow as early as November or even October.
- Avg. highs: 40°F - 70°F (4°C - 21°C)
- Avg. lows: 24° - 45°F (~ -4° - +7°C)
- Winter (December - March) - Winter in Houghton is a wonderland of cold and snow. Students should be prepared for very cold weather, occasionally even dropping below 0° F (-17° C)! Houghton also gets a significant amount of snow - averaging around 50 - 80 inches (125 - 200 cm) - and ground snow cover often lasts into March.
- Avg. highs: ~30°F (-1°C)
- Avg. lows: ~10°F (-12°C)
- Spring (April - May) - Spring starts muddy and ends beautiful. March and early April tend to be wet from snowmelt, and temperatures swing between winter's leftovers and spring's warmth. Students staying for Mayterm usually find warm and beautiful weather.
- Avg. highs: 40°F - 65°F (4°C - 17°C)
- Avg. lows: 20° - 40°F (~ -7° - +4°C)
Winter Clothing Tips
There's an old Russian phrase that says “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” This is a useful phrase to remember when preparing for New York winters. While many people grow to love the cold, snowy winters at Houghton, it is very important to be prepared with proper winter clothing. For those students coming from warm climates, Houghton's winter weather can be quite a shock. However, with adequate preparation you can be prepared to face the winter with the confidence of a Russian babushka. Here are a few suggestions for important winter clothing items. Note: Many of these items can be purchased, borrowed, or found after arriving to Houghton for the fall semester.
- Layers – Dressing in layers is the key to staying warm in the winter. Wear layers that you can shed as you go indoors and that can be layered according to the temperature.
- Winter boots & thick warm socks
- Winter Hat/Tuque/Beanie/Toboggan/Stocking Cap (depending on where you're from) – get one that is warm, thick, and will cover your ears
- Gloves/Mittens – Mittens will keep your hands warmer, but gloves offer more dexterity. It's a good idea to have a couple different glove/mitten options depending on the temperature and your activity level.
- Winter coat – Make sure it is warm, thick, and will block the wind. A simple windbreaker or fleece jacket, while nice for the fall or spring, will not work in the winter.
- Waterproof snow pants - No one wants to spend the winter cooped up inside. Get out and play!
- Insulating Layers - Long underwear, fleece, sweatshirts and pants, hoodies, etc. all work well to keep you warm underneath your winter outerwear.