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New York Weather Highlights of 1988
New York Weather Highlights of 1990

New York Weather Highlights of 1989

 1989

JANUARY

6 - The five inches of snow that began falling after 9:00 AM was the biggest snowfall of a winter with only 8.1" of snow in total.  It was also a record accumulation for the date.

 

FEBRUARY

1 - Today's high of 67° was the warmest reading of the month and a record for the date, breaking the record set just last year (and the month's coldest reading would be near the end of the month).  The mean temperature was 24 degrees above average, comparable to last year's mean on this date.  

2 - Between Jan. 6 and today temperatures were 9.5 degrees above average.  No snow fell during this four-week period.   

5 - Today's high of 26° came just four days after a record high of 67°. 

 

MARCH

6 - An Arctic front passed through in the wee hours of the morning and 2.5" of snow fell during AM rush hour - just the second significant snowfall of the winter.  South Jersey and the Philadelphia metro area bore the brunt of the storm.  This would be the last snowfall of the winter.  Just 8.1" fell for the entire winter, about twenty inches below average, the least since 1972-73 when 2.8" was measured (the least ever).  Since then four winters have had lesser amounts than the winter of 1989 (1998, 2002, 2012 and 2020).   

7 - Today was one of the coldest days of the winter, nineteen degrees colder than average, with a high/low of only 25°/13°.  This was also the coldest high temperature in March since 1967  (20° on 3/18).

17 - Today's high of 70° this the mildest St. Paddy's Day since 1945 when the temp reached 75° (warmest on record).  This was also the seventh year in a row in which no precipitation fell - a record streak.

18 - The temperature nosedived 40 degrees, from 77° to 37°.  The cold front that ushered in the sharply colder air produced a severe thunderstorm mid-afternoon in which 0.35" of rain poured down in just ten minutes (between 3:14-3:24 PM).  There was also some hail, a rarity in NYC (especially in March).

24 - Beginning at daybreak and continuing until midnight, 2.05" of rain fell, a record for the date.  It was a cold rain as the high reached only 40°, thirteen degrees below average.

30 - It was a gray, rainy (0.76"), raw and windy day, with afternoon temperatures falling into the mid-40s one day after the high was 76°.

31 - Today's high of 44° (11 below average) came just three days after a high of 82°.

 

APRIL

5 - After today's high of 77° degrees (20 above average), the next 11 days would see no high above 58°.

 

MAY

1 - The rainstorm that moved in this evening was the first of five to produce an inch or more of rain between now and May 24.  Today's rain, which continued through 9:00 AM tomorrow, amounted to 1.58".

10 - A steady, all-day rain (heaviest between 10:00 AM-8:00 PM) amounted to 2.10".  Besides being very wet, the day was also very chilly, with a high/low of only 53°/46°, eleven degrees below average.  This was also the first measurable rain to fall on this date since 1974.

16 - Just before daybreak 0.58" of rain poured down in one hour between 5:23-6:23 AM. This came in the opening hours of a rainstorm (lasting through mid-morning tomorrow) that dumped 3.35" of rain (2.30" fell today).  And it came six days after a rainstorm of 2.37". 

17 - 3.35" fell during a rainstorm that began the previous day.  Rain fell for twenty-nine consecutive hours and ended shortly before 9:00 this morning.  Today's rain total of 1.05" was a record for the date, a relatively low amount for such a designation.  This is also the only time an inch of rain fell on this date since record-keeping began in 1872.

22 - This was the 21st consecutive day in which no high temperature was duplicated.  During this three-week period highs ranged between 53° and 86°, with six days well above average and five days well below average.   

24 - 0.70" of rain fell this morning, bringing the month's total rainfall to more than ten inches.  This amount pushed it past May 1984 to make it the rainiest May on record (a record that still stands).  An additional 0.21" of rain would fall before the end of the month.

31 - For the second year in a row the year's first 70-degree low was on May 31 (the typical date is June 4).  However, this year's afternoon high was significantly cooler compared to last year (82° vs. 91°).

 

JUNE

1 - Today's high was 91°, the fourth year in a row the high on June 1 was in the 90s.  It was also the first 90-degree day of the year.  Last year's first 90-degree day occurred one day earlier.

4 - This was the beginning of a two-week stretch in which rain fell on twelve of the days.  Last year a similar rainy spell occurred in the second half of July.  This year 7.28" of rain was measured while 7.44" fell during last year's soggy fortnight.  Today's rainfall was a minimal 0.09" which fell shortly before daybreak.

6 - During an afternoon thunderstorm 1.18" of rain fell in just half an hour (1:30-2:00).

7 - This was the sixth day in a row with declining high temperatures: 91° (6/1)-89°-86°-84°-79°-75°-64° (today).  During these days temperatures went from 16 above to 13 below average.

9 - 2.55" of rain fell, with 0.75" of it pouring down between 10:00 AM-noon and another 1.15" fell between 7-10:00 PM.  It was a record for the date.  This was the sixth day in a row with rain, totaling 4.95". 

13 - 1.16" of rain poured down in a two-hour period during a thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning (1-3:00 AM).  

15 - Overcast skies, AM drizzle and winds coming off the ocean resulted in only a three-degree difference between today's high (61°) and low (58°).  The low was five degrees below average but the high was 18 degrees below the norm.

16 - Low temperatures between June 9 and today were all in the 58°-60° range; average low during this eight-day period is in the low 60s.  High temperatures, however, ranged between 61° and 84°.

17 - In the past two weeks rain fell on twelve of the days, amounting to 7.28".

26 - 0.65" of rain fell in an hour during a strong thunderstorm between 8-9:00 PM.  This followed a day with an afternoon high of 90°. 

28 - This was the last day of rain this month, bringing May and June's combined rainfall to nineteen inches (normal is eight inches.)  Rain fell in more than half of the days between May 1-June 28.  (Twenty-two years later, in August 2011, the same amount of rain would fall in just one month.) 

30 - The AM low of 58° was the coolest reading of the month - and it was also the low on five other days.  Additionally, this was the mildest minimum temperature in June in the 1970-2019 period (also occurring in June 1981 and 1973). 

 

JULY

5 - 2.05" of rain fell today, most of it between 10AM-1PM.  This was the fourth rainstorm of two inches+ in the past two months.

22 - This was the last day of an 11-day stretch with below average temperatures.  During these it was six degrees cooler than normal and four days had afternoon highs that were only in the low 70s. 

26 - This was the hottest day of the summer, with a high/low of 96°/75°.

 

AUGUST

4 - Today was a hot day (93°), and the third day in a row in which the high temperature was four degrees warmer than the preceding day: 93°-89°-85°-81°.

8 - This morning's low of 56° was in sharp contrast to a high of 94° just two days earlier.

12 - Three inches of rain fell (3.50" including rain that fell last night between 10:00 PM-midnight).  This was the greatest 24-hour rainfall since 3.54" fell during Hurricane Gloria in late September 1985.  At one point 0.43" poured down in just five minutes (12:54-12:59 PM), one inch in fifteen minutes and 1.97" in forty-five minutes).   

14 - Seven inches of rain fell in the past four days.  And today 0.95" poured down in a one-hour period (6-7PM).

27 - This was the sixth day this month with a low in the 50s, the most in August in the 1970-2019 period (tied in 2007). 

 

SEPTEMBER

10 - Today's high was a sizzling 94°, sixteen degrees above average.

11 - Today, with a high of 91°, was the last 90-degree day of the year.  This was the latest 90-degree day since 1983 (when it occurred on Sept. 20).  In total, 1989 had sixteen 90-degree days, two fewer than average.

14 - 0.55" of rain fell between 3-4:00 PM and an additional 0.41" between 4-5:00 PM.  Despite the rain this was the eighth day in row with a high temperature in the 80s.

20 - 2.32" of rain fell, with nearly half of it (1.05") falling in 60 minutes (5:37-6:37 PM).  4.21" fell in the past two days and six inches in the past week.  Today's rainfall was a record for the date.

22 - Powerful category 4 Hurricane Hugo made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina overnight.  The NYC metro area was prepared for five to ten inches of rain when the storm's remnants moved up the coast, but the storm moved inland instead and stayed well to the west.  This was a big relief since six inches of rain had already fallen between Sept. 14-20.  

23 - In less than 12 hours the temperature dropped from 81° (9 above average) to 47° (11 below). 

 

OCTOBER

2 - 1.10" of rain fell during the morning, making this the eighth time in the past ten years that rain fell on this date.

18 - It was a raw and overcast day with afternoon temperatures in the upper 40s just 24 hours after the high reached a mild 70°.

20 - 2.78" of wind-swept rain fell today, and 5.34" over the past four days.  With today's rainfall (a record for the date) Central Park's total precipitation for the year topped sixty inches, making 1989 one of the five wettest years on record - with more than two months remaining in the year.  Winds today gusted to 40 mph.

28 - Today's high of 77° tied with two days ago as the warmest temperature of the month.

30 - For the sixth day in a row we enjoyed high temperatures in the 70s.  This stretch of days, which included four with highs of 76° or higher, averaged 15 degrees above average.

31 - A rainy Halloween.  Over a 12-hour period (10AM-10PM) 0.89" fell.  On the positive side, it was the sixth day in a row with temperatures 10 degrees or more above average.  Today's rain was the first to fall on this date since 1976.

 

NOVEMBER

4 - For the seventh day in a row the high temperature was cooler than the day before: 77° (10/28)-76°-73°-66°-63°-56°-53°-48° (today).  Today's high was ten degrees below average.

13 - High temperatures today and the previous three days: 56°-55°-56°-55° (today).

15 - Today's morning low was a balmy 61°, twenty degrees above average (and eight degrees warmer than the day's average high).  Under overcast skies the afternoon high rose to 69°.

23 - A Thanksgiving Day snowstorm along the Mid-Atlantic (which began late last night) dumped 4.7" of snow on NYC; however, it was over by the time the Macy's parade (right) began.  Although this wasn't a wintertime snowfall it was larger than any accumulation during the 1989-90 season.  The day's high topped out at just 31°, 20 degrees below average.  This was the earliest date for a sub-freezing high temperature since 1933, when there was a high of 30° on 11/16 (and in 2018 the high on 11/22 was 28°).

 

DECEMBER

22 - In the midst of a brutally cold December (second coldest on record) today's high/low of 18°/8° was not only the coldest day of the month - but of the entire year.

23 - The morning low of 6° was the coldest reading of the month and the year, twenty-three degrees below average.  With today's frigid temperatures 1989 became the year with the most days with mean temperatures 10 degrees above or below average (in the years since 1960; later broken in 2015).

24 - This morning's low of 9° was the third day in a row that dawned with a low in the single digits (it was 6° yesterday and 8° two days ago).

27 - Eighteen of the past twenty-seven days had mean temperatures that were 10 degrees or more colder than average.  The past seven days all had morning lows of 14° or colder - and the average low during this week was just 10°, nineteen degrees colder than average.

30 - This was the 32nd day in a row with below normal temperatures, a period in which readings were close to 11 degrees colder than normal.  However, despite these ice-box conditions just 1.4" of snow fell. 

31 - This was the only day of this very cold month in which temperatures were above average (high/low of 53°/31°).  It was also the wettest New Year's Eve since 1948 as 0.52" fell - the only significant rainfall of a bone-dry month in which just 0.31" was measured before today.  (Going into December it appeared that 1989 would go down as the wettest year on record as only 2.76" was needed to pass 1972's total of 67.03", but it was not to be.)

 

Chart - 1989 hottest and coldest

 

To read highlights from other years between 1970 and 2019 double click here. 

 

Comments

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Henry

I’ve been watching the brilliant videos from the brilliant late Nelson Sullivan - also known as “5ninthavenueproject” on YouTube - his unparalleled documentation of NYC/gay life between 1982-1989 is something I often come back to, very ahead of its time in terms of the vlog style format which wouldn’t be popularised for another 30 years.

Anyway, the question I have is what was the weather like on the 3rd of July, 1989? That was the day of the last tape. From film it looked like a very hazy and smoggy day.

Rob

Hi Henry, July 3, 1989 had a bit of haze in the morning but for the most part it was a sunny day, with a high/low of 86°/68°, which was slightly above average.

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