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Syracuse, New York is located at the approximate geographical center of the state on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake, eight miles (12.87km) southwest of Oneida Lake and 40 miles (64.37 km) south of Lake Ontario. Within the city, the elevation is 420 feet (128 meters). Approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of the city, hills rise to 1,500 feet (457 meters).

Syracuse enjoys a continental climate with fours seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter -- that are relatively humid, with plenty of precipitation. During summer, temperatures rise rapidly during the day and fall as rapidly when the sun sets. Nights are usually cool, although there are a few days each summer (in late July and throughout August) when the humidity can be intolerable. The record highest daytime temperature was 102F (39C) on July 9, 1936. Syracuse averages about three inches (7.6 cm) precipitation per month year-round. Thunderstorms occur about 30 times each year, usually during the warm summer months when cold fronts meet humid warm fronts. Summers in Syracuse are very pleasant and the sun shines about 2/3 of the time with a growing season of about 171 days.

Fall (autumn) is especially beautiful in central New York. The peak season for colorful leaves ranges throughout the state, but is usually best in mid-October.

Winters (December – February) are usually cold and can be accompanied by blowing and drifting snow from moderate to heavy wind. Snow squalls are well-known in the Syracuse area beginning as early as mid-November and may continue to late March. Snowfall has been recorded as early as September and as late as mid-May. Syracuse receives “lake effect snow” from Lake Ontario. Syracuse receives moderately heavy snowfall with an annual average just over 100 inches. Daytime temperatures average about 30F degrees ( -1 C) with night time lows about 18F degrees above zero (-7C). The lowest recorded temperature -26F (-32C) degrees occurred on February 18, 1979. Syracuse receives sunshine about 1/3 of the time during winter.