A History of New York City Snowstorms Since 1900
New York Weather History: January (1900 - 2022)

Today in New York Weather History: January 31



This was the sixteenth day this winter to receive measurable snow, but just the first to have an accumulation of an inch or more.  However, the 1.6" that fell during the first half of the afternoon changed to rain and was washed away.  (A more substantial snowfall, of 4.4", would occur two days later.) 




In less than 24 hours the temperature dropped from 41°, at 4:00 PM yesterday, to zero degrees this morning at 10:00 AM.  Temperatures stayed in the single digits, or colder, for 31 consecutive hours - and they were between +1° and -2° for 17 consecutive hours (on Feb. 1).  This was also the tenth day this month to have a low in the single digits or colder - the most of any January (a record that still stands).  


This was the seventh day this month (all since 1/13) to have measurable snow, and like all of the other snowfalls, it amounted to less than an inch.  (Total snowfall for the month was 2.9".)


The last eight days of the month experienced the quintessential "January thaw" as the average high/low was 57°/38°, sixteen degrees above average.  Today's high was 63°.


Today's high of 29° was the "warmest" temperature during an unprecedented 16-day cold wave that that began on Jan. 19 - and would continue for three more days.  Since that date, temperatures were 15 degrees below average (high/low of 23°/10°).




The last week of the month was 11 degrees colder than average, the complete opposite of the first week, which was 12 degrees above average.  Today's high/low was 28°/14° (by contrast, New Year's Day had a high/low of 62°/52°).


This morning's low of 10° made it the ninth day since Jan. 16 to have a low colder than 15°.


Today was the tenth day of the past eleven in which temperatures were ten degrees or more above average (the day that wasn't, was nine above average).  During this unseasonably mild stretch of weather, temperatures were 15 degrees above average.  After a high of 60° today, the temperature tumbled to 35° by midnight after passage of a cold front.


The 0.9" of snow that fell today was the most to fall on this date since 1949 (when 1.0" accumulated).  It fell upon the arrival of an Arctic front that moved through late in the morning.  Today's snow brought the month's total snowfall to 26.1", making it, at the time, the second snowiest January on record (it's since fallen to third).


Although the first five days of January were 15 degrees milder than average, this ended up being the coldest January since 1977.  Twenty of the past twenty-five days had high temperatures of freezing or colder; this period was 11 degrees below average.  And today was no different, with a high/low of 28°/15°.




Only three degrees separated today's low and high temperature (42°/39°).


Today was the fourth day in a row in which measurable snow fell.  This has happened only one other time in the 1970-2018 period (Jan. 27-30, 1986).  However, snowfall during these four days was more of the "nuisance" variety, with 0.6" falling today, one inch yesterday, 0.1" on 1/29 and 0.4" on 1/28.  (In the winter of 2019, there were five consecutive days with measurable snow, from Feb. 28 to March 4.)


Only a trace of snow fell this month, tying 1933 as the second least snowy January on record (no snow fell in January 1890).


This was yet another month with above average temperatures, the tenth in a row and the longest such streak since 1999, when there was one of twelve months (beginning August 1998 through July 1999).


A ferocious rainstorm swept through New York overnight, with wind gusts between 45-60 mph common throughout the region.  Besides wind and rain, very mild air surged ahead of a cold front, pushing the temperature up to 61° shortly before 2:30 AM.  Although the worst of the storm had moved out by 7:00 AM, high winds continued for the rest of the day, and by evening the temperature had fallen by 25 degrees.  The 0.94" of rain that fell in Central Park (0.04" fell last night) was the same amount that fell during Superstorm Sandy back on Oct. 29-30 (but over considerably fewer hours).




This was the 20th day in a row in which no low temperature was duplicated.  During these days lows ranged between 5° and 44°.


Light snow fell between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, amounting to 1.0" - the first snowfall of an inch or more on this date since 1949.  And with a high/low of 34°/26°, this was the first colder than average day since 1/14; the low was the coldest since 1/10 (when the reading was 21°).  During these sixteen days temperatures were nine degrees above average.  


Today's frigid high/low of 16°/2° was quite a contrast to the first day of the month (New Year's Day), which had a mild high/low of 58°/39°.  Today's low was the coldest reading thus far this winter (and since Feb. 2016) and its mean temperature tied Jan. 21's, which had a high/low of 14°/4°, (only four other days in the past 25 years have had colder mean temperatures).  Finally, today's high temperature matched the high in 1935 for coldest high on this date.


Until this evening, the month was set to become one of the five least snowy Januarys on record, with just 0.1" measured.  However, the first flakes from an approaching snowstorm moved in after 6:00 PM, and by midnight two inches had accumulated.  This was the most snow to fall on this date since 1898 (when five inches piled up).  The 2.1" that fell this month made it the third January in a row with well below average snowfall (Jan. 2019 had 1.1", Jan. 2020 had 2.3").












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fun fact. 1997, 2007 and 2017 all had 0.06" of precipitation on this date (and 1967 had 0.05" of precipitation on this date).

Jeff Hirschman

We know February will have above normal snow!


The total snowfall from this past storm (from the evening of January 31 to the morning of February 2) was 17.2 inches. 2.0 on 1/31 + 14.8 on 2/1 + 0.4 on 2/2. If we add this total snowfall to the first snowfall in December and the minor shower in January (10.6 inches), we get 27.8 inches, which is more than the total snow in the previous two winters combined.

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