Whenever I think about the weather of the 1940s in New York, two events immediately come to mind: the great snowstorm of Dec. 26-27, 1947, and the extraordinarily mild March of 1945. However, digging a little deeper, there are a host of other events that merit attention. For instance, the coldest Easter on record was in 1940; the City's warmest Halloween occurred in 1946; and the hottest 4th of July was in 1949. The hottest temperature ever recorded in October, 94°, happened in 1941 (that was also the last time a reading in the 90s occurred in October). One of the coldest days of all time occurred in the winter of 1943 when the high/low was +8/-8 on Feb. 15. The Great Atlantic Hurricane of September 1944 flooded NYC with 9.40" of rain. At the time, the summers of 1944 and 1949 were the hottest on record while December 1945 was marked by one of the most extended cold waves experienced in the month of December. These and many more highlights of the decade are laid out below.
January 11 - In the past three weeks (since Dec. 22) the average high/low was 31/19 (seven degrees below average). Twelve days had highs of 32° or colder (the coldest was 19° on Dec. 27) and thirteen had lows in the teens (the coldest was 12° on Jan. 7). Despite the cold just 4.4" of snow fell (2.9" of it fell on Dec. 30).
Feb. 14 - It was a wintry day, as wind-blown sleet and snow fell throughout the day, accumulating 7.7" (and 1.3" fell overnight). Late in the morning winds gusted to 50 mph. Temperatures fell from the low-30s in the morning to low 20s by midnight.
March 24 - With a high/low of 31/17, this is the only Easter Sunday to be completely below freezing. This came just three years after Easter had a high/low of 35/28.
March 25 - This was the third day in a row of very cold temperatures. Today's high/low of 33/17 followed 31/17 yesterday (Easter Sunday) and 28/18 the day before that. These temperatures were 21 degrees below average. Winds that gusted between 20-27 mph throughout the three days produced wind chills in the low teens.
April 13 - It was a wintry day with a high/low of only 35/26, twenty degrees colder than average (the low was a record for the date which still stands.) Snow that began last night and accumulated 1.3" continued for a few hours past midnight this morning and added an additional 0.5".
April 15 - This was the fourth day in a row with a sub-freezng low (average low for mid-April is in the low 40s).
May 31 - The biggest rainstorm of the year dumped 3.13" between midnight and 10AM (two inches fell between 3-6AM). This was a record for the date (which still stands).
August 29 - Today was the end of a six-day streak of chilly conditions in which the high/low averaged 68/55 - twelve degrees below average. Winds were mostly out of the northeast and rain was reported on five of the days, amounting to 2.34". This stretch of fall-like weather contributed to this becoming the 10th coolest August on record (now ranked 11th).
September 26 - Clear skies and very chilly, with a high/low of 60/42, which made it feel more like early November. The morning low, 15 degrees below average, was a record for the date (which still stands). This chilly air came after a rainstorm swept through yesterday morning, dumping more than two inches of rain. This accounted for almost all of September's rainfall.
October 22 - This was the fourth day in a row with unseasonably chilly temperatures. The average high/low during these four days was 48/32, which was 15 degrees below average. Today's low and the 30-degree low of 10/19 are records that still stand today.
November 26 - For the sixth year in a row the first measurable snow of the winter fell in November. This year's amounted to 1.7" and fell after dark, mixed at times with sleet.
December 25 - Under clear skies, today's very mild high of 62° (two degrees shy of the 1889 record) was twice as warm as Easter's bitingly cold high of 31°.
December 28 - Today's high of 49° followed a high of 50° yesterday and a high of 51° on 12/26. Conversely, low temperatures had a pattern in the opposite direction, with a high of 43° today, 42° on 12/27 and 41° two days ago. All of these readings were well above average.
February 7 - 2.96" of rain fell, a record for the date (which still stands). Beginning at around daybreak, the rain fell heaviest between 3-7PM when 1.84" was measured.
March 8 - A fierce winter storm that began late last night brought heavy snow, sleet and high winds during the morning. By 11AM 18.1" of snow had fallen (15.7" of it fell today); the precipitation then changed to light drizzle in the afternoon (the day's high was 33°). At the time this tied with a snowstorm in January 1935 as New York's second biggest snowfall (it's now ranked tenth).
July 4 - Just two days after a torrid high/low of 98/78, today was rainy, foggy and cool with a high/low of just 64/62 (the high was 18 degrees below average). The 0.78" of light rain that fell (between 1AM and 6PM) made this the rainiest day of the month. Today's high would be July 4th's coolest until 1978.
August 26 - For the second day in a row strong thunderstorms brought torrential rains. Yesterday's came from thunderstorms between noon and 4PM, amounting to 1.83". Today's rainfall measured 2.30" and came from storms between 5-7PM. They moved through after a high of 93° was reached (yesterday's temperatures stayed in the 70s). By the time the storms moved out the temperature had fallen into the upper 60s.
September 4 - After today's rainfall of 0.51", the next day with measurable rain wouldn't be for another four weeks.
October 5 - The hottest temperature ever experienced in October occurred today as the high soared to 94°. This was 28 degrees above average. Today was the middle day of a three-day stretch of summer-like heat; each day's highs were records which still stand (88°, 94° and 90°).
October 6 - For the second day in a row the high got into the 90s. This was the last time the temperature reached 90° in October.
December 7 - What became known as Pearl Harbor Day was clear and cold in New York, with a high/low of 36/26. Gusty winds made it feel even colder (in the upper teens).
December 13 - The biggest rainstorm of the year produced 3.03" (2.97" of it fell today). This edged out the 2.96" that fell on Feb. 7. The precipitation briefly began as snow and sleet as temperatures were in the upper 20s before 7AM (0.3" accumulated - the first measurable snowfall of the winter), but temperatures rose into the mid-40s by late in the afternoon. Most of the rain fell between 3PM and midnight; one inch fell between 6-8PM.
December 26 - Today was the 96th, and last, day of the year with measurable precipitation (0.02" fell between noon and 1PM), tying 1908 as the year with fewest days of precipitation. (The average number of days of measurable precipitation in the 20th century was 122.) Although the two years were tie, 1941 had two inches less precipitation (39 vs. 41 inches).
February 28 - Today's low of 29° was the last reading at freezing or colder this winter - the earliest date on record (and it still stands), breaking the 1931 record by fourteen days. However, there would be four days in March and one in April with lows of 33°.
March 30 - The morning low of 33° was the coldest reading of the month (it also occurred on three other days), making this the only March to have no reading of 32° or colder.
April 30 - Today's high of 91° degrees, a record for the date, followed a high of 72° yesterday and 53° the day before that. The previous record for the date, 86°, was set just last year. In both years the humidity was very low during the afternoon, around 25%.
May 9 - On a raw and damp day (drizzle fell between 10AM and 3PM) just one degree separated the day's high (51°) and low (50°). The high was 17 degrees below average while the low was at the average. Normal diurnal variation in early May is 18 degrees.
August 9 - 4.10" of rain fell between 3AM and 1PM. This was a record amount for the date (which still stands), the biggest rainstorm in four years (since the great 'Long Island Express' hurricane of Sept. 1938), and the first of four days between today and 8/17 to pick up more than inch of rain.
November 14 - With a high of only 32° (twenty-two degrees below average) today became the earliest date with a high of 32° or colder (a mark that still stands). The previous earliest date was 11/15 in 1933. Winds gusting between 25-30 mph produced wind chills in the teens.
November 20 - Today's high of 74° (22 degrees above average) came just six days after a high 32°.
December 20 - The morning low was a bone chilling -4°.
February 14 - The temperature fell steadily through the day, from 30° to 5° (on its way to -8°) the following morning.
February 15 - Today's high was 8° after a low of -8° (third coldest low on record). There has been no colder high or low since then. This was the second day this winter with a high in the single digits (the other occurred on Dec. 20, 1942 when the high/low was 8/-4).
February 20 - Just five days after a morning low of 8° below zero today's high reached 63° - the greatest rebound in temperature following a sub-zero reading. This was the first of five consecutive days with highs in the 60s.
August 18 - Today's high of 79° was the first since July 7 that was below 80°. The average high during this nearly six-week period was 87.4 degrees (with 14 days in the 90s). This streak of 41 days surpassed the previous lengthiest streak of 37 days in 1917. However, it would be the record holder for only one year.
October 26 - A nor'easter dumped 3.40" of rain, the biggest rainstorm of the year and a record for the date (which still stands). Rain fell throughout the day but it came down heaviest after 4PM, with two periods of torrential rain between 4-5PM, when 0.72" fell, and between 11PM-midnight, when 1.05" was measured. There was a peak wind gust of 41 mph.
April 5 - Four days before Easter a late season snowstorm dumped 6.5". Beginning as rain a little after midnight, it changed to snow around 2AM and mixed with sleet around lunchtime before ending in mid-afternoon. The snow came down very heavily between 3-5AM when three inches accumulated. The day's high/low was 34/29.
August 14 - Trend line of today's low and those of the previous three days: 77(today)-76-75-74.
August 17 - Today was the last day of an eight-day heat wave in which every day had a high temperature of 95° or hotter. Average high during these days was 97°. Today's high of 95° was a record (later tied in 2015), as were three other days during the heat wave (including 8/11's high of 102°).
August 24 - Today's high was 76°, making this the first day since June 25 not to have a high temperature of 80° or warmer. This 59-day streak was by far the longest and came just one year after the previous record streak was established - 41 days. The average high during these days was 89.7 degrees, with 30 days in the 90s (thirteen had highs of 94°+). This record would be broken in the summer of 2015.
September 12 - The first wave of rain associated with a developing hurricane still south of the Bahamas moved through during the afternoon and evening, amounting to 1.64". More than twice this amount would fall tomorrow as well as the day after that as what became known as The Great Atlantic Hurricane moved up the East coast.
September 13 - The rapidly intensifying hurricane was now north of the Bahamas and spread heavy rain into the region during late morning and later in the evening. In total 3.94" of rain poured down, with 2.85" of it falling between 5-9PM. The hurricane would move into Carolinas and then the New York region tomorrow afternoon and evening, bringing even more rain.
September 14 - "The Great Atlantic Hurricane" raced up the Mid-Atlantic coast and veered to the east of NYC, dumping 3.82" of rain between 3:00 and 10:00 PM and lashing the City with gale force winds that gusted between 40 and 50 mph (and 70-80 mph at LaGuardia Airport). Today's rainfall came on top of 3.94" that fell yesterday and 1.64" the day before for a three-day total of 9.40". The New York metro area was the bulls-eye for the heaviest rainfall.
October 7 - Today's high soared to a record 88°, breaking the previous record set just last year (83°). This reading was seventeen degrees warmer than yesterday's (which was five degrees milder than average) and was the first 80-degree day in three weeks.
February 9 - With a high of 46° this was the first day in five weeks (since Jan. 4) to have a high in the 40s. During these weeks the average high/low was 32/18, six degrees colder than average.
March 16 - Beginning today, which had a high of 76° (twenty-seven degrees above average), the rest of March would be extraordinarily mild, with highs averaging 70°, eighteen degrees warmer than average. Seven days would have highs in the 70s, with all of them at 74° or warmer (including three in the 80s). Not surprisingly this resulted in the mildest March on record (the first half of the month was four degrees above average).
March 22 - In the midst of the very mild second half of March,, today was an outlier as the high only reached 40°, fifteen degrees below average (the low was a seasonable 35°). Winds were out of the northeast, skies were overcast and light showers fell throughout the day.
June 5 - Today and the previous two days were uncommonly chilly with periods of light drizzle, fog and clouds and northeasterly winds. The highs and lows for the three days were: 53/50 on June 3; 52/49 on June 4; and 55/47 today. Whereas the low temperature during these days averaged ten degrees below average (comparable to late April), the average high of 53° was twenty-three degrees below average (comparable to late March).
June 6 - For the fifth time in the past six days the low was in the 40s (and the one day that didn't go into the 40s had a low of 50°). No other June has had this many days in which temperatures fell into the 40s. What made this streak even more noteworthy is the fact that it came only a few months after the mildest March on record. Today's high of 70° was the first in the 70s since 5/29.
September 14 - On the one-year anniversary of the 'Great Atlantic Hurricane' striking the New York area, 3.10" of rain poured down, largely during two thunderstorms between 4:00 and 8:00 PM. The first storm was the most intense, with nearly two inches of rain falling in just an hour (between 4-5:00).
December 19 - An afternoon/evening snowstorm dropped 8.3" (all but 0.3" fell today). This would be the biggest snowfall of the winter (and since March 1941). Besides the snow, temperatures were also quite cold, with a high/low of just 23/20 (fifteen degrees below average).
December 25 - A two-week deep-freeze loosened its grip as the temperature climbed from 20° to 51° after dark. (The average high/low of the previous two weeks was 28/17.) The milder air was drawn up by a coastal storm that lashed the area in the PM hours with 50 mph winds and 1.26" of rain.
June 2 - Just two days after a summery high of 86°, today was more than 30 degrees colder along with a soaking rain of more than two inches (six days after another two-inch rainfall). Today's high was just 52°, twenty-four degrees below average and it came one year after an equally chilly three-day period from June 3-5 that saw an average high/low of 53/49.
September 25 - This was the third day in a row with a low of 66° and it followed three days in a row with lows of 67°. This compared to average lows this time of the month in the upper 50s. (The high temperatures for these six days were all different.)
October 31 - Today's weather was an absolute treat as the temperature soared to a record 81°. This followed yesterday's record high of 82° and highs of 77° on 10/29 and 78° on 10/28. Highs of these four days were twenty degrees above average.
December 10 - The first high temperature of 70° in December occurred today. Since then it's happened nine other times (most recently in 2015).
February 21 - Snow that began yesterday evening (accumulating 4.2" by midnight) continued through this morning and piled up an additional 6.5". Temperatures were very cold, with a high/low of 24/14, sixteen degrees below average.
February 24 - For the sixth day in a row the low was in the teens, at a time of the winter when the average low is close to 30°.
April 6 - Today's high of 79° made this the warmest Easter Sunday since 1887, when the high also reached 79°. This was a record high for the date (which still stands).
June 8 - Two days after the high reached 87°, today was rainy (0.57") and chilly with a high of just 56°, twenty-one degrees below average. This was the third year in a row in which the first week of June featured very cool readings.
September 15 - This was the fifth day in a row with a low in the 70s, ranging from 72° to74°. The average low during these days was 73°, twelve degrees above average. Highs during these days ranged from 85° to 89°.
September 19 - Today's high was 88°, the twelfth day with a high of 85° or warmer in the past eighteen days (since 9/2).
October 1 - This morning's low was 36°, the only day this month with a low in the 30s. (The next low in the 30s wouldn't be until 11/10). It was also a record for the date and the second earliest date for a low in the 30s. (The earliest date was 9/30 in 1912; 1992 would also have a low in the 30s on 10/1.)
November 12 - 2.39" of rain poured down today, a record for the date. In the past 15 days (since Oct. 29) 7.49" of rain fell, with rain falling on ten of the fifteen days.
December 26 - Snow began falling around 3:30 AM and fell steadily all day, at times at a rate of two inches per hour (the forecast at daybreak called for a five-inch accumulation). Winds gusted as high as 36 mph during the evening and temperatures hovered around 29° for much of the storm. By midnight 25.5" had piled up and an additional 0.9" fell after midnight, breaking the previous snowfall record of 21" set by the great blizzard of March 1888; it would remain the City's greatest snowfall of all time until 26.9" fell in February 2006 (it now ranks third). This storm came three days after 2.5" of snow fell.
January 9 - With a high of 45°, this was the only day between Dec. 23 and Feb. 11 (more than seven weeks) to have a high above 40°.
February 1 - With a high of 26°, this was the tenth day in a row with a high of 32° or colder. The average high/low during this streak was 25/10, thirteen degrees below average. Five of the days had lows in the single digits.
August 28 - For the third day in a row the high reached triple digits. Today's high was the "coolest" of the three, with a high of 100°. The other two days had highs of 103° and 101°. These inferno-like highs were 20 degrees above average.
December 8 - Today and three of the previous four days had a high of 55°, ten degrees above average. And the one day without this high, Dec. 6, had a high of 57°.
December 19 - One year after the huge 26.4" snowstorm of Dec. 26 another formidable snowstorm crippled the City with 16.0". At the time this was the shortest time between major snowstorms. Since then there have been seven pairs of major snowstorms (one foot or more) that have occurred with less than 12 months in between (the shortest time between being four weeks in January and February 1978.)
February 28 - Two weeks after a record-high of 73°, nine inches of snow fell.
March 27 - One week after a high/low of 28/18 and a snowfall of nearly four inches, today's high/low was 75/61. Today's low, 25 degrees above average, was a record-mild low for the date (a record that still stands).
July 1 - The 1940s started with July 4th's coolest high temperature (64°) and ended with the hottest as today's high soared to 102°.
July 30 - Today was the thirteenth day in a row with high temperatures that were 89° or hotter. Of these days eight were in the 90s, including today, which had a high of 95°. This was one month after an eight-day streak with highs of 88°+.
October 14 - Today was the eleventh day in a row with highs of 70° or warmer (including four in a row in the 80s). The average high/low during this extended period of unseasonable warmth was 78/62, eleven degrees warmer than average. And a week later there would be a three-day period with an average high/low of 77/57. This October ended up being the second warmest on record, two years after the warmest October on record (later tied by October 2007).