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Today in New York Weather History: Leap Year Day (February 29)


1884 (Friday)

The day after an Arctic front changed rain to snow that accumulated five inches, today's high/low was just 12°/4° (twenty-seven degrees below average).  This was the second coldest day of the winter after 12/23, which had a high/low of 10°/-1°.  The next five days (March 1-5) would have moderating temperatures but all had highs below freezing (average high of these five days was 23°).


1896 (Saturday)

A hard rain that lasted nearly all-day (4 AM-10 PM) amounted to 2.26", making this the only Leap Year Day to have an inch or more of precipitation. 


1968 (Thursday)

The month of February would have had no measurable snowfall if not for this extra day as a winter storm moved in during the afternoon.  Precipitation began as rain (more than a half-inch was measured) and changed over to snow after 11 PM, accumulating 1.1" - the only Leap Year Day to have an inch or more of snow.  The temperature stayed above freezing all day, with a high/low of 39°/33°.  Heavy, wet snow would continue through daybreak on 3/1, accumulating an additional 5.5".


1976 (Sunday)

After the first nine days of February were four degrees below average, the rest of the month had temperatures 11 degrees above average.  And the final five days of the month, under mostly clear skies, had highs that averaged 22 degrees above average: 70°-62°-67°-67°-66° (today).  


1980 (Friday)

The morning low of 12° was the coldest reading of the winter - and it occurred on the last day of "meteorological winter" (Dec. 1-Feb. 29).  The high recovered to just 21°, twenty-three degrees below average.




1992 (Saturday)

After rising to 50° shortly before midnight the day before (Feb. 28), the temperature plummeted into the 20s this morning and was down to 19° by midnight.  Gusty winds produced below-zero wind chills.  This was the first colder than average day since Feb. 13.



2004 (Sunday)

Today's high of 59° was the mildest reading in three months.


2008 (Friday)

This was the wettest February since 1981.  And this year's extra day added 0.14" of precipitation to the rain bucket.  Additionally, 0.2" of snow fell, the most snowfall on Leap Year Day since 1968 when 1.1" fell (the most for the date).  This was the last measurable snow of the winter, a season in which just 11.9" of snow fell - slightly less than last year's paltry 12.4".




2012 (Wednesday)

The mildest February on record (since passed by Feb. 2017, 2018, and 2023) ended on a raw and rainy note, with a high/low of 42°/37° and 0.37" of rain.  The winter of 2011-12 was the second mildest on record, behind the winter of 2001-02 (it's now ranked fifth).  Furthermore, this was the eleventh month in a row with above average temperatures, the longest such streak since 1998-99 when there were twelve consecutive months.  (The streak would continue for three more months.)


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