Whether it be extremes of heat or cold, blizzards or hurricanes, drought or wind, each year has some noteworthy weather events that make it memorable. Below are top-line summaries of each year's highlights from the past 51 years (1970 thru 2020). And for more highlights for any given year double click the hyperlink, all found below.
2020 - HEADLINES: Second mildest year on record; highs of 69° and 68° on Jan. 10/11; earliest date for last measurable snowfall of the winter (Jan. 18); for first time in 80 years April had no highs of 70° or warmer; low of 34° on May 8 was coldest May temperature since 1881; very dry first half of the year (eight inches below average); July had most lows of 70°+ of any month on record; four tropical systems affected the area; after earliest reading of 32° or colder since 1988, on Oct. 31, November was mildest on record, and featured an unprecedented 6-day streak of highs of 70+; 10.5” snowstorm on Dec. 16-17.
2019 - HEADLINES: For the first time since 1941 a reading in the 90s occurred in October; the first four days of March each had an inch or more of snow, the longest streak of its kind (10.4" of snow fell). May had 19 days of measurable precipitation (only two other months have had more); April's 18 days of precipitation was the most ever for April. September was the first month in six years to report less than an inch of rain.
2018 - HEADLINES: Not only was it the 4th wettest year on record, 2018 set a record for most days with measurable precipitation; In the midst of a 14-day streak with sub-freezing highs, 9.8" of snow fell on Jan. 4; February passed Feb. 2017 as warmest on record, featuring a high of 78° on 2/20; March had four nor'easters, one which dumped 8.4" of snow the day after the spring solstice; 5.5" of snow on 4/2 was the biggest April snowfall since 1982; latest dates for a low in the 80s and 70s occurred; a surprise snowstorm of 6.4" on 11/15 snarled the evening commute for hours.
2017 - HEADLINES: February and October were the mildest on record; record lows on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 were the first back-to-back record lows since August 1994. The year ended with the beginning of a 14-day streak with sub-freezing highs that started on Dec. 26, the longest such streak since the winter of 1961.
2016 - HEADLINES: The blizzard of 1/23 buried the City under its greatest accumulation on record (27.5"). The low of -1° on 2/14 was the first sub-zero reading of the century (and since 1994). March 8 and 9 had highs of 77° and 79°, followed one month later by the coldest reading in April since 1995. For just the third time, there were three days in a row in the 80s after 10/15. Every month of the year was warmer than average.
2015 - HEADLINES: A year that began with the second coldest February of the past 100 years (11.4 degrees below average) ended with the mildest December on record (13.3 degrees above average). In between, May was the second warmest, August was the third warmest, September was the warmest and November was also warmest on record. March had the most snow since 1956; high/low on Christmas Eve was 72°/63°.
2014 - HEADLINES: A harsh winter was highlighted by nearly 42 inches of snow in a 30-day period in Jan/Feb; March was the coldest in 30 years, but just 0.1 inch of snow fell; Five inches of rain fell on 4/30; latest date for first 90-degree day since 1985.
2013 - HEADLINES: The heat wave of July 16-22 had the highest mean temperature of any heat wave of seven days or longer; during a seven-week period in May and June, 18 inches of rain fell, then between Sept. 23 and Nov. 21, a span of 60 days, less than an inch of rain was measured - the third longest such streak since 1950; the first full-day of winter had a springlike high of 71°.
2012 - HEADLINES: By 0.1 degree, 2012 became the warmest year on record; February was the mildest on record and the winter of 2012 was the second mildest; with just 0.96" of precipitation, March was the driest month in NYC since Feb. 2009; a high of 100° on July 18 was followed by a severe thunderstorm accompanied by hail; hurricane Sandy struck on Oct. 29 and produced a record storm surge that caused extensive flooding in Manhattan; a snowfall of 4.7" on Nov. 7-8 was the earliest snow of four inches+ on record; for the first time since 2001, less than 40 inches of precipitation was measured.
2011 - HEADLINES: 55 inches of snow fell in a five-week period; wettest March on record; 104° on July 22; nineteen inches of rain made August the rainiest month ever; tropical storm Irene dumped nearly seven inches of rain at the end of August; an unprecedented pre-Halloween snowstorm accumulated 2.9" in Central Park.
2010 - HEADLINES: Two snowstorms dumped 20+ inches of snow, one in February, the other the day after Christmas; February's 36.9" of snow was the most on record for any month; a powerful nor'easter struck in March; April 7 was the earliest date for a 90-degree reading; July tied July 1999 as hottest month on record; 103° on July 6; a ferocious tornadic storm swept thru Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens in September; for the first time since 2002 less than than 50 inches of precipitation was reported.
2009 - HEADLINES: An early heat wave in late April was followed by one of the coolest summers on record; snowstorm on Dec. 19-20 dumped 10.9".
2008 - HEADLINES: With just a trace of snow, January tied 1933 as the least snowy January on record; six-day heat wave in July; tropical storm Hanna dumped 3.54" of rain on Sept. 5-6.
2007 - HEADLINES: 72° during first week of January; coldest Easter since 1940; 8.41" of rain fell during April nor'easter; tropical storm Barry passed thru in early June; pre-dawn tornado struck Brooklyn in August; warmest October on record.
2006 - HEADLINES: 26.9" snowfall on Feb. 11-12 became NYC's biggest snowstorm of all time (until Jan. 2016); fourth winter in a row with 40 inches+ of snowfall; driest March on record; the year's last 90-degree reading was on Aug. 3.
2005 - HEADLINES: 13.8" snowstorm on Jan. 22; the latest date on record for a low in the 70s occurred on Oct. 7 (broken a few times since); after a September with almost no rain, 17 inches of rain fell in less than three weeks in October.
2004 - HEADLINES: Ten-inch snowstorm in late January; two days in January had lows of 1° above zero, the coldest reading in ten years; no 90-degree days in July, and only two all summer; tropical storms Frances, Ivan and Jeanne all lashed the City in September.
2003 - HEADLINES: President Day's blizzard dumped nearly 20" of snow; April snowfall of 4"; coolest May in 36 years; rainiest June on record; 12 days in a row with rain between July 31 and Aug. 11; two-stage snowstorm on Dec. 5-6 dumped 14".
2002 - HEADLINES: Just 3.5" of snow during winter of 2001-02 made it the second least snowy winter of all time; mildest February on record; a four-day heat wave in mid-April was similar to that of 1976; summertime heat waves of eight and nine days, just five days apart in August; snow fell on Christmas Day (five inches) for the first time in 33 years.
2001 - HEADLINES: 103° on Aug. 9; mildest November and December on record; the driest year since 1970.
2000 - HEADLINES: A 13-day streak with high temperatures of 32° or colder was the longest since 1961; a foot of snow fell on Dec. 30.
1999 - HEADLINES: 11-day streak of 90-degree days; hottest and driest July on record; tropical storm Floyd flooded area with five inches of rain in September.
1998 - HEADLINES: Just half an inch of snow fell in Jan/Feb.; one of mildest winters on record; the last five days of March all had highs in the 80s (26 degrees above average); 75° degrees on Dec. 7 came three days after a high of 74°.
1997 - HEADLINE: Just ten inches of snow fell during the winter, the year after the snowiest winter on record; three record highs between Feb. 19-27; 3.75" rainfall on July 26 is the greatest 24-hour amount on record for July; September and October both had 2.10" of rain.
1996 - HEADLINES: Jan. 7-8 blizzard dumped 20.2" of snow, paralyzing the region for days; 75.6" of snow during the winter is most ever; just three 90-degree days all summer; a nor'easter rained out Game 1 of World Series at Yankee Stadium; 1996 passed 1972 as the year with the most days of measurable precipitation (later passed by 2018).
1995 - HEADLINES: Nearly all of the winter's snow fell during a snowstorm of 11 inches in early February; 102° on July 15; just 0.18" of rain fell in August.
1994 - HEADLINES: 2° below zero on Jan. 19; 22 inches of snow fell from two storms three days apart in early February; a hot June.
1993 - HEADLINES: March Superstorm; thirty-nine 90-degree days tied all-time record set two years earlier; twenty 90-degree days in July; very dry May-June-July; 80° on Nov. 5.
1992 - HEADLINES: Cool summer; ferocious nor'easter struck on Dec. 11.
1991 - HEADLINES: Warmest May on record; thirty-nine 90-degree days set record; a high of 102° on July 21.
1990 - HEADLINES: Mildest January on record; 85° on March 13 was earliest 80-degree reading on record; ten inches of rain fell during a 10-day period in August.
1989 - HEADLINES: One of wettest years on record; 4.7" of snow on Thanksgiving Day; one of coldest Decembers on record, but very little snow fell.
1988 - HEADLINES: Thirty-two 90-degree days (with 23 concentrated in a six-week period in July and Aug.); low of 5° above zero on Dec. 12.
1987 - HEADLINES: Late January snowstorm; heat wave during late May; 1.1" of snow fell on Veteran's Day.
1986 - HEADLINES: Last snowfall of the winter was on Feb. 14; coolest 4th of July morning on record; last 90-degree reading at end of July; four very chilly mornings at the end of August.
1985 - HEADLINES: 2° below zero on Jan. 21; 75° in late February; 1st 90-degree reading not until July 14; Hurricane Gloria struck in late September; a dry year overall.
1984 - HEADLINES: March was third coldest since 1950; strong nor'easter in late March; early June heat wave; two 3-inch rainfalls within a week between June 30 and July 7.
1983 - HEADLINES: Snowstorm on Feb. 11-12 buried NYC under 17.6", the most since winter of 1978; a hot summer, with thirty-six 90-degree days culminated with 99° on Sept. 11; a frigid Christmas Day, with a high/low of 13°/4°; more than 80 inches of precipitation fell during the year, an all-time record later called into question because of a malfunctioning rain gauge in Central Park.
1982 - HEADLINES: A very cold January; early April blizzard dumped 9.6" of snow the week before Easter; the summer's eleven 90-degree days were concentrated between July 8-27; Christmas Day tied Christmas 1889 as mildest ever.
1981 - HEADLINES: Hudson River is ice-choked in 1st half of January; driest January on record.
1980 - HEADLINES: Hottest August on record; thirty-two 90-degree days, the last of which was on Sept. 22; 1° below zero on Christmas morning.
1979 - HEADLINES: Wettest January on record (including 3.98" on Jan. 2-21); a very cold February, including a low of 0° on Feb. 18; President's Day snowstorm (12.7"); tropical storm David in early September; 88° on Oct. 22; Christmas Day was milder than Easter Sunday.
1978 - HEADLINES: For the first time since the winter of 1961, two snowstorms dumped more than a foot of snow, including the Blizzard of Feb. 1978 (17.7"); twelve days in a row with high temperatures at freezing or colder; 38° on May 1 was the last time a temperature fell into the 30s in May (until 2020); 4th of July was rainy and cool.
1977 - HEADLINES: 2° below zero on Jan. 7; a frigid six-week period during the winter averaged ten degrees below average; nine-day heat wave in July averaged 97°, including 104° on July 21; 9.19" of rain fell on Nov. 7-8.
1976 - HEADLINES: 1° below zero the morning of Jan. 23; hottest Easter on record, with a high of 96°; Hurricane Belle made landfall on Jones Beach the night of Aug. 9; driest November on record; low of 9° on Dec. 3; first snow of the winter fell on Christmas night.
1975 - HEADLINES: Wind shear during a severe thunderstorm on June 25 was responsible for downing Eastern Airlines Flight 66 at JFK; nearly twelve inches of rain fell between July 3-25; four days in a row had an inch or more of rain in late September; 83° on Oct. 14; coldest day of the year was Christmas Eve (23°/16°).
1974 - HEADLINES: High of 66° on Jan. 27; 4th of July was hottest day of the year (95°), and 40 degrees warmer than Memorial Day; very early sub-freezing AM low on Oct. 20; 81° on Nov. 1.
1973 - HEADLINES: Just 2.8 inches of snow fell during the winter, making it the least snowy on record; an eight-day heat wave occurred between Aug. 28- Sept. 4; high of 77° on Nov. 15; a huge ice storm immobilized the region on Dec. 16-17; December was the wettest on record.
1972 - HEADLINES: The temperature dropped from 86° to 43° in 24 hours on April 19-20; High of 92° on Sept. 17; two huge rainstorms in a 4-week period in the fall dumped 4.09" on Oct. 7 and 5.60" on Nov. 8.
1971 - HEADLINES: 6.4" of snow fell on New Year's Day; tropical storms Doria and Heidi dumped a combined ten inches of rain within three weeks of each other late in the summer; AM low of 67° on Nov. 2.
1970 - HEADLINES: The temperature fell from 54° to 9° in a 17-hour period on Jan. 25-26; four inches of snow fell on Easter Sunday (March 29); hottest Mother's Day on record (high of 93°); a high of 91° on Sept. 26 was the fourth day in a row of 90-degree temperatures.