Today in New York Weather History: January 18
Today in New York Weather History: January 20

Today in New York Weather History: January 19



A winter storm brought heavy snow, sleet, and gusty winds.  After beginning as light rain late last night, nine inches of snow piled up this morning (mostly between 3:00-9:00), and the afternoon saw an onslaught of sleet that was propelled by winds blowing at 25-35 mph, producing wind chills in the single digits (the air temperature was in the mid-20s).  The sleet accumulated 2.5".


As a snowstorm moved up the East Coast during the evening (dumping 10" of snow by noon on Jan. 20), a mass of Arctic air was moving over the Northeast.  This high pressure system would remain entrenched for more than two weeks and result in a record sixteen consecutive days (thru Feb. 3) in which the temperature never rose above 29°.  This was the same snowstorm that crippled Washington, DC the day before JFK's inauguration.





The morning low of was the year's coldest reading.  (However, the day with the coldest mean temperature would be Feb. 1, when the high/low was 12°/7°).


Snow began falling after 8 PM, and by midnight 2.5" had accumulated.  By the time it ended in the early afternoon of 1/20, 13.6" had piled up, making it New York's biggest snowstorm in nine years. 


New York City's 18-month drought emergency was lifted today.  Although 1981, with just 38 inches of precipitation, was the driest year since 1970, precipitation in December was above average (5.18") and January 1982 would receive 6.46".   


A high/low of 21°/12° made this coldest day of the winter, fifteen degrees below average.


A cold rain during the afternoon (amounting to 0.71") changed to snow after 7 PM, and by 11:00 1.3" had accumulated - the first snowfall of one-inch+ of the winter. 





This was the coldest day of a mild winter, with a high of 23°/low of 11°.


The morning low of 2° below zero was the coldest reading of the winter, and a record for the date.  This Arctic outbreak ranked with that of Dec. 1989, Jan. 1985, Jan. 1982, and Jan. 1977 for its widespread severity.





0.86" of rain fell during the afternoon, with most of it (0.64") coming down in just an hour (3-4 PM).  Rain throughout the Mid-Atlantic states produced disastrous flooding, as it fell on top of the deep snow pack left behind from the blizzard of two weeks ago.


Today's high/low of 20°/4° made this the coldest day of the winter.


The typical snow season in New York lasts about three months (from mid-December to mid-March), but this winter it lasted less than two weeks.  Today's three-inch snowfall was the last measurable snow of the season, and came twelve days after the first (when 0.5" fell).  For the entire winter, just 3.5" fell, the second smallest amount of any winter (the least was during the winter of 1972-73 when only 2.8" fell.)  


After four consecutive winters with 40+ inches of snow, this winter's first measurable accumulation fell this morning - one of the latest first snowfalls on record.  Just 0.3" fell, shortly after sunrise.





Today's and yesterday's high temperatures of 41° were the mildest readings between Jan. 3 and Feb. 4.


Today was the tenth day in a row with highs in the 30s, the longest such streak since the winter of 2011 when there were streaks of 11 days (Jan. 25-Feb. 4) and 12 days (Jan. 5-16).






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1981 - today's high of 45° was the first time this year the temperature rose into the 40s. this was the latest first 40° day of any calendar year on record. also, today had the mildest reading between 12/14 and 1/25 (ahead of 12/29 & 12/30 by one degree).


The winters of 1932, 2002, 2013 and 2019 are the only four with no lows in the teens or colder from November 24 to January nineteenth.

Harry Mandel

Some interesting notes:

When it was 4-deg in 1971, Albany, NY up the Hudson had an incredible -28 low, their coldest low ever.

The 1994 subzero low was the last one in Central Park until Feb. 14, 2016. That is the longest streak of no subzero lows (22 years), breaking the previous record of 18 years from 1943 to 1961.


2020 was the first time since 1990, and just the ninth time overall, where January had no highs of 32° or colder in the first nineteen days of the month.

Ken K. in NJ

Sometime during that 1961 cold spell I took the Stuyvesant HS entrance exam. I remember discussing the record cold outside of the school while waiting to go in. It was snowing, but only a couple of inches and it did not disrupt my subway trip into Manhattan from Brooklyn. A trip I would repeat many times over the next 4 years...I got in!

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