Through mid-February it appeared this would be the coldest February since 1979, but as incursions of Arctic cold continued unabated through the second half of the month, it ended up being even colder than that February. (February 1979 was brutally cold until the last six days of the month when temperatures were eight degrees above average.) Most who experienced February 2015 probably don't need convincing that it was an unusually frigid month, but for those who need statistical proof, read on:
- It was 1) New York's coldest month since January 1977, 2) the coldest February since 1934 (which is NYC's coldest month on record) and 3) the third coldest February overall. Among all months it was the tenth coldest (see chart below).
- February 2015 joins four other months in the past 25 years that rank among their respective month's top-10 coldest (all of which have occurred since 2000): July 2000, January 2004, June 2009 and July 2009.
- There were nine days in a row (Feb. 13-21) in which the mean temperatures were 10 degrees or more below average (the longest streak since one of 11 days in February 1979). Overall, sixteen days were ten degrees or more below average, the most since December 1989. Five days were 20 degrees or more below average.
- Despite there being no sub-zero readings the month was characterized by its consistent cold. The temperature got no higher than 43° (the only Februarys with lower "warmest" temperature were in 1978, when the maximum temperature was just 41°, and 1934, when it was 42°.) This continued a streak that began on Jan. 6 and became the longest such streak on record (and it continued thru the first week of March).
- Every day had a low of freezing or below; every day but one, Feb. 22, had a below average mean temperature. Fifteen days had highs of 32° or colder (a typical winter averages eighteen).
- The coldest day of the entire winter was Feb. 20, with a high/low of 19/2, 26 degrees below average.
- There were no big snowstorms, but 13.6" accumulated, four inches above average. (This total reflects a revision made by the National Weather Service in late March that increased Feb. 2's snowfall from 3.3" to 5.0"). This came mostly from three snowfalls in the three to five-inch range. These snowfalls, along with the cold weather, helped maintain a snow cover in Central Park of at least six inches for the entire month. And although total precipitation for the month was just 2.04", there have been six Februarys since 2000 that had less.
|NEW YORK'S TEN COLDEST MONTHS|
|Source: NOAA Local Climatological Data|