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February 2013

New York Weather History: February (1900-2021)

BlizzardHighlights: Presidents' Day snowstorms of 1979 and 2003; two snowstorms three days apart in 1994 dumped 22"; NYC's second biggest snowfall of all-time occurred on Feb. 11-12, 2006; Valentine's Day ice storm in 2007; zero degrees on Feb 18, 1979; 75° on Feb. 24, 1985, 78° on Feb. 21, 2018 is warmest reading ever in February; 20.9" snowfall on Feb. 25-26, 2010; Feb. 2010 became the snowiest month of all time (36.9"); February 2015 was the coldest since 1934; Feb. 14, 2016 had the first sub-zero reading since 1994; on Feb. 9 , 2017, 9.4" of snow fell the day after a high of 62°.

 

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Today in New York Weather History: February 28

 

1895

This was the only day of this very cold month (the second coldest February at the time, now ranked fourth) with a low above freezing.  And it was the first above freezing low since 1/16.

1942

Today's low of 29° was the last reading at freezing or colder this winter - the earliest date on record (and it still stands), breaking the 1931 record by fourteen days.  (There would be four days in March and one in April with lows of 33°.)

 

Cold weather - snoopy

1949

Two weeks after a record-high of 73°, nine inches of snow fell (and an additional 0.4" fell past midnight on 3/1).  This was the winter's second biggest snowfall (biggest was 16 inches on 12/20), and the fourth that was more than five inches.

1954

Today's unseasonably mild high/low of 59°/41° was typical of temperatures in the second half of the month.  At 14 degrees above average, the past two weeks' high/low of 56°/38° was more typical of the first week of April.  No day during this two-week period had a temperature that fell below freezing.  (At the time, this February became the mildest on record, but has since fallen to eighth.)

1981

After an extremely dry December and January, February was the wettest since 1939.  (Interestingly, December and January each received the same meager amount of precipitation - 0.58").  Nearly four inches of rain fell in the past week-and-a-half, more than the previous thirteen weeks combined.  (6.04" fell in total.)

1998

This was the mildest February on record, seven degrees above average (later passed in 2012, 2017 and 2018).  It also had no reported snowfall - the only February to hold this distinction.  This followed an equally mild January, which was 8.5 degrees above average.  And the mild trend continued today, with temperatures 11 degrees above average.   

2002

The very mild temperatures in January and February were as mild as those in 1998.  In both years the mean temperature was 40.0 degrees in January and 40.6 degrees in February.  

2007

This was the coldest February since 1979, 6.3 degrees colder than normal.  However, despite the cold conditions just 3.8 inches of snow fell.  Today was one of the handful of days with above average temperatures. 

 

Bittercold4

2008

Today's high of 28°/low of 18° was fifteen degrees colder than average. 

2014

This morning's frigid low of 9° (22 degrees below average) was the latest date for a reading in the single digits since 1967, when the low on March 19 was 8°.

 

9_degrees

2015

The coldest February since 1934 ended, fittingly, on very cold note with a high/low of 29°/13° under mostly clear skies.  This was the fifteenth day this month with a high of 32° or colder and the sixteenth that was ten degrees or more below average.  Besides being the third coldest February on record, it was the tenth coldest of any month.

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How Often Do "Average" Temperatures Occur?

Balance_scales

 

Because they are "average", seasonable temperatures imply an occurrence on a regular basis.  However, a day with an "average" mean temperature is not all that common.  Based on the years between 1970-2020, a typical year has 61 days at the average mean temperature (for the purposes of this analysis, this includes days with a mean at the season average as well as days that are 0.5 or 1 degree above/below average).  The number of such days has ranged from 50 in 1977 and 2020, to 75 in 1989 (2019 had the average number of days - 61).    

 

  • July 1975 was the month with the most number of days with seasonable temperatures - fourteen (July 1985 and July 2006 had thirteen).  Eight months had no days with seasonable temperatures: Feb. 1976, March 1977, Feb. 1981, Sept. 1983, Feb. 1990, Jan. 1995, Jan. 1998, Jan. 2012 and Dec. 2015.    
  • By comparison, a typical year has more days that are either 10+ degrees above or below average - seventy.  Of these days, nearly two-thirds were 10+ above average.  The number of such days has ranged from 50 in 2009 to 94 in 2015 (2019 had 52). 
  • 1991 had the most days that were 10+ degrees above average, 76.  These days comprised 90% of that year's days that were 10+ above or below average.  1978 had the fewest number of these days, 20.
  • 1976 had the most days that were 10+ degrees below average, 52, which comprised 58% of that year's days that were 10 above or below.  1991 and 1998 had the fewest number of these days, eight.
  • December 2015 had the most days with mean temperatures 10+ degrees above average, 18, while December 1989 had the most days with mean temperatures 10+ degrees colder than average, also 18 days.  And January 2000 had eight days that were 10+ degrees milder than average and another eight that were 10+ degrees below average.  (January 2018's respective days were eight and seven.)    
  • As stated earlier, close to two-thirds of a typical year's days that are 10+ degrees above or below average are above average.  In the 51 years in the 1970-2020 period, only nine years had more 10+ degrees below average days than above average days: 1970, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1989, 1996, 2000, 2003 and 2009.
  • Seasonable temperatures in New York are are most common in the summer months.  Meanwhile, winter months are when days 10+ degrees above/below average are most likely to occur.  The reason winter months have more swings in temperature is largely a function of the faster movement of air masses as well as drier air.

 

Average Temperatures in NYC

 

 

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Today in New York Weather History: February 27

 

1873

A snowfall of four inches was the fifth this month of two inches or more.  (The month's total snowfall amounted to 18.9".)

1910

Today's high of 51° was the first in the 50s since Dec. 14, a span of nearly eleven weeks.

1926

Today's high of 33° was the ninth this winter, tying the winter of 1905 for the most 33-degree highs.

33degrees

1940

Two inches of snow fell during the afternoon and evening.  This is the last time an inch or more of snow fell on this date.  It was also quite cold, with a high/low of 28°/16°, tying it with the previous day (high/low of 29°/15°) for coldest mean temperature this month.

1981

In the past twelve days, the mean temperature was 15 degrees above average (high/low of 55°/43°).

1988

It was a raw Saturday with periods of wet snow that accumulated 0.6".  This would be the last measurable snowfall of the winter.  In total, just 18" of snow fell all winter (eight inches below average). 

1992

Morning lows of today and the previous three days were: 36°-35°-34°-33° (today).

1996

It was a month of wild temperature swings, and today was the seventeenth day in which the mean temperature was either ten degrees or more above or below average.  Today, with a high of 58°, was the ninth day in a row that was ten+ degrees above average.  (After the first week of the month was 13 degrees colder than average, the last ten days of the month were 12 above average.)

1997

Today's high of 72° (twenty-eight degrees above average) was the third record high in the past nine days, but it was just two days after a low of 19°, which came three days after a high of 69°. 

Up_down_arrows2002

Light showers late in the morning amounted to 0.05" and brought February's precipitation total to 0.71", making it the driest February since 1901, and third driest on record.  (It would also be the third mildest February - now ranked sixth).  

2013

A nor'easter lashed the area overnight and its howling winds gusted to 40-50 mph throughout the region.  By the time the storm moved out late this morning, 1.54" had poured down.  This was a record amount for the date, breaking the old record from 100 years ago.   

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Today in New York Weather History: February 26

 

1869

A snowfall of six inches was the third snowfall of six inches or more in Jan/Feb, joining another six-inch snowfall on Jan. 19 and a nine-inch snowfall on New Year's Day.  With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, today's snow was of the wet variety.

1894

Today's snowfall of eight inches joined snowfalls of seven inches, six-and-a-half inches, and four inches that fell in the past 30 days.  Today's snowstorm came the day after the coldest reading of the winter, 1° above zero (a record that was later tied in 1914).  After today, the next snowfall wouldn't be until 4/12, when an inch fell.

1901

Today's high of 42° was the mildest reading of the month - and the mildest since 1/22.

1928

Today, with a high/low of 23°/7°, was the coldest day of the winter (twenty degrees below average).  This was the only day this winter with a reading in the single digits (the low was a record).

1970

The morning low of 9° at 7:00 AM was 45 degrees colder than it was yesterday at 2:00 PM (17 hours earlier).  

 

Clipart_frozenperson

1990

A high/low of 25°/7° made this the coldest day of the year, but not the coldest day of the winter, as that occurred back on Dec. 23 when the high/low was 22°/6°.  This tied 1970 as the latest date for a low in the single digits since 1967 (when the mercury bottomed out at 8° on March 19).  The day's high was 40 degrees colder than the high of just three days ago.  (A date later than 1990's single-digit low would occur during the winter of 2015, on Feb. 28).

1991

A surprise snowstorm dumped 8.9" of wet snow, the biggest accumulation in eight years (when 17.6" buried the City on Feb. 11-12, 1983).  Because the temperature was just above freezing for much of the day, the snow didn't accumulate much on the streets or sidewalks.  This was the winter's third snowfall of five inches or more.

1994

The 1.4" of snow that fell around daybreak was the 11th snowfall this winter of one inch or more, the most since the winter of 1963-64. 

1995

The last measurable snowfall of the winter fell during the morning, when 0.5" accumulated.  This was the earliest date for the final accumulation since the winter of 1985-86, when it occurred on Feb. 15.  (On average, the last measurable snowfall occurs in mid-March.)

2010

After 9.4" of snow fell last night, an additional 11.5" fell today, ending in the early afternoon.  The storm's total of 20.9" made this the fourth largest accumulation in New York history (now ranked fifth) - and just 0.1" shy of the total from the great blizzard of March 1888.  With this storm, February's total snowfall reached 36.9", the most ever in any month.  (And this was without any snow from the Mid-Atlantic blizzard of Feb. 4-5 that stopped at the City's doorstep.)  This ended up being the last snowfall of the winter.

 GreenwichVillage_Snow_2010

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Today in New York Weather History: February 25

 

1914

Today, with a high/low of 26°/1°, was the fifteenth day of the past eighteen with a high of 32° or colder.  Average high/low during this period was 26°/12°, thirteen degrees below average. Today's low was a record that still stands.  Additionally, 17.3" of snow fell during this 18-day period.

1930

Today's high soared to 75°.  At the time it was the mildest reading ever recorded in February (duplicated in 1985 and surpassed in 2018).  Besides today's warmth, there were highs of 69° and 68° on 2/22 and 2/21 (both records) and 65° yesterday.  (Average highs during this time of year are in the low 40s.)

 

75degrees

1934

On a brutally cold day (high/low of 16°/9°) light snow began falling mid-afternoon and fell steadily thru the following afternoon, accumulating 9.3".  This was the third snowfall of 7.5" or more this month and brought February's total snowfall to 27.9".  At the time, this was the second snowiest month on record (now ranked sixth) and the snowiest February (since topped by Feb. 2010 and 2014).

 

Weather.oldmanwinter

1976

Today's high reached a springlike 70°, just two days after the high was 33°.  Although this was twenty-six degrees above average, it was five degrees shy of the 1930 record.

 

70

1978

Although today's high was only 41° (three degrees below average), it was the mildest reading of the month.

1982

Today's high was 28°, the only day this month with a below-freezing high temperature.  This was in contrast to January, which had sixteen such days.

1984

Today was the last of seventeen days in a row with above-average temperatures.  During this streak temperatures were 12 degrees above normal.

 

Clipart_happysun2

1985

The incredibly mild high/low of 69°/49° averaged in the four days between Feb. 22-25 was 24 degrees warmer than average - and more typical of late April.

1990

1.8" of snow fell in the very early hours of the morning and then bitterly cold air moved in.  At midnight the temperature was down to 10° (following a low of 30° yesterday and 50° two days earlier).  This was the first measurable snow in five weeks and the only snowfall in February.  It was also the biggest accumulation of the winter (until March 6, when 3.1" would fall). 

1992

It was a raw and damp day, with just a two-degree difference in the high (35°) and low (33°) - just mild enough to keep the 0.35" of precipitation that fell in liquid form.

2010

After starting in the morning as steady rain, a changeover to snow occurred in the afternoon and developed into the City's third major snowstorm of the winter.  9.4" accumulated by midnight - and an even greater amount fell overnight.  The day's total precipitation amounted to two inches, just two days after 1.42" was measured. 

 

Nyc_snowplow

2012

The area was raked by high winds that gusted between 45-55 mph in many places.  Central Park recorded a peak gust of 53 mph, the strongest gust since last August when Hurricane Irene struck. 

2018

This was the eleventh day of the past twelve to have measurable precipitation.  The 0.73" of rain that fell this morning thru early afternoon was the largest amount to fall during this 12-day period (2.01" fell in total).  Today was also the seventeenth day this month with measurable precipitation, the most in one month since December 2012.  Additionally, this number of days tied February 1884 for the most days of precipitation in February.

 

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Today in New York Weather History: February 24

 

1873

Today, with a low of -1°, became the latest date for a sub-zero low, a milestone that remains intact.  This sub-zero low came about four weeks after another reading of -1°, on Jan. 30.

1883

High temperatures today and the previous four days: 34° (2/24)-35°-36°-37°-38°(2/20).  All were below the seasonable average of 40°.

1961

Today's high/low of 65°/46° was 22 degrees above average and came three weeks after a high/low of 20°/-2°, which was 23 degrees below average.

1979

For the third time in the past five years more than an inch of rain fell on this date.  1.54" fell this year, 1.69" in 1977 and 1.21" in 1975.  Today's rain washed away the remaining snow on the ground from the President's Day snowstorm five days ago (12.7" fell).

1985

Today's high of 75° broke the old record by 10 degrees and tied Feb. 25, 1930 for the warmest reading ever reported in February (later outdone by a high of 78° in 2018).  This followed by two months a 70-degree day at the end of December (and one month after a sub-zero morning low).

 

75

2005

Snow moved in during the evening and by 3 AM on the 25th six inches had accumulated.

2011

This was the first morning since Dec. 26 with less than an inch of snow on the ground in Central Park, a span of sixty days.  

2015

The morning low was just, one of the latest dates for a temperature this cold.  This was the ninth day this winter with a low in the single digits (seven of them occurring in the past twelve days), joining twenty other winters with this many (since 1870); the last winter with this many was in 1994.  Today was also the 50th day in a row in which the temperature failed to rise above 43°.

 

4

2017

Under sunny skies the temperature rose to 70°, the earliest 70-degree reading in ten years (and one month earlier than the average date of the first-70 of the year).  Although this wasn't a record (see 1985), the morning low of 58° was.  The day's mean temperature was 26 degrees above average and came five days after a high/low of 65°/53°, which was 23 degrees above average.  

2020

This was the fourth day in a row with unusually low humidity levels during the afternoon, i.e., in the 15%-19% range for a number of hours each day.  The last time there was an extended number of days with such low humidity in February was in 2004 (Feb. 25-March 1).  Also, today's high of 62° was the mildest of the month.

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Today in New York Weather History: February 23

 

1875

Today had the first low above 32° this year - the deepest into the year for this occurrence (a mark that still stands).  The reading of 42° was the mildest since a low of 43° on Nov. 17.

1926

Today's snowfall of two inches during the pre-dawn hours brought the month's total to 26.3", making this the snowiest February on record (now ranked sixth).  This came one year after the second snowiest January on record (at the time).

1939

Today's high of 29° came three days after a high of 69°.

1940

Today was the sixth day in a row with a high of either 37° (four days) or 38° (two days, including today).  And tomorrow would be the eighth day this month with a high of 37°.

1969

Just one degree separated today's high (35°) and low (34°) - the first time for such an occurrence in 27 years.  During the afternoon an inch of wet snow fell before changing to light rain.  The City was on the western edge of a monster winter storm that dumped 25.8" of snow on Boston (at the time, its biggest snowstorm on record).

 

1 degree

1972

It was a very wintry day as a frigid morning, with a low of 9°, was followed by a nighttime snowfall of 5.2" (which fell between 7PM-1AM).

 

Clipart_shoveling_snow

1987

4.2" of heavy, wet snow fell this morning between 2-11:00, accounting for half of the month's precipitation.  Then the temperature rose into the low 40s during the afternoon. 

1994

Today's snowfall of 2.6" (0.3" of which fell in the wee hours of 2/24) was the winter's tenth snowfall of one inch or more.  The last winter to have this many was the winter of 1967. 

 

Clipart_sleet 

2010

A cold rain fell throughout the day, totaling 1.20".  Just three degrees separated the day's high/low (38°/35°).  The rain continued until daybreak on the 24th, adding 0.42".

 

Umbrellas_nyc

2015

Yesterday's sunny skies and temperatures in the low 40s felt like springtime in this harsh winter, but it was just a 24-hour reprieve as the relentless Arctic cold returned today.  The temperature tumbled from 38° shortly at midnight to 8° twenty-four hours later.  And windy conditions produced sub-zero wind chills after dark.

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Today in New York Weather History: February 22

 

1968

Between Feb. 10 and today, temperatures were 10 degrees below average (average high/low was 32°/14°), but there was no measurable snow.

1980

1.1" of snow fell before a changeover to rain took place.  This was the month's second, and last, day of precipitation.  The last time there were so few days of measurable precipitation in a month was back in October 1963.

1981

For the seventh day in a row the mean temperature was at least 12 degrees above average.  The high/low during these days was 58°/45°, seventeen degrees milder than normal.  This streak came in the midst of seventeen consecutive days of above-average temperatures (Feb. 14-March 2). 

1986

The high temperature was 40° for the fourth day in a row.

 

40_2

1991

Today's high of 66° broke the record high set last year (63°).  Then a cold front moved through during the evening and the temperature fell to 38° just before midnight.  The cold was ushered in by winds that gusted to near 40 mph.

1997

Today's springlike high of 69° was a record for the date and three degrees warmer than two days ago when another record high was set.  

2001

5.5" of snow fell tonight between 5-11:00 PM, the fourth snowfall of 3.5" or more this winter.  It was a powdery snow with just 0.31" of water content.  Today's high/low of 25°/17° tied Christmas Day as the coldest day of the winter (although both had the same mean temperature, Christmas Day's high/low was 27°/15°).

2003

Five days after a blizzard buried the City under 19.8" of snow, a cold, hard rain fell from mid-morning until late afternoon, with 1.49" measured.  This was the same amount of liquid precipitation measured on 2/17 (when 16.3" of the blizzard's snow piled up).

2008

Six inches of slushy snow fell during the morning and continued thru early afternoon. This amount was also a record for the date and was the biggest snowfall of the winter - the largest accumulation since New York's biggest snowstorm of all time two years ago (since relegated to second place). 

 

Slushysnow

2015

You know it's been a harsh winter when a high/low of 43°/32° in late February is cause for celebration.  Coming after a nine-day stretch with temperatures that were 17 degrees below average (26°/10°), and three snowfalls that amounted to 8.2", today felt like spring.  I took advantage of the sunny and mild conditions and walked to Hudson River Park to catch a glimpse of the ice floating by on the river.  The day's high would be the mildest of the month, making it the coolest maximum reading for February since 1978 (when the mildest reading was just 41°).  Although today's high was seasonable for the date, it was the mildest reading of February, and the mildest since Jan. 5 (when the high was 49°). 

 

Ice.hudson.river.nyc   

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Today in New York Weather History: February 21

 

1905

A high/low of 41°/33° made this the mildest day of the month (and the only day with a low above freezing).  Not surprisingly, this would be the third coldest February on record (it's since fallen to fifth).

1918

This morning's temperature at 8:00 was 8°, fifty-one degrees colder than yesterday's temperature at daybreak (the mildest reading of the month).  And wind chills overnight were between -5° and -10°.  This was the nineteenth day this winter with a low in the single digits, which established a new record (breaking a tie with the winter of 1885).  And tomorrow would be the twentieth day with a reading below 10°.  A typical winter between 1869-1917 saw six such days (in the 21st century the number is between two and three).

1947

Snow that began yesterday evening (accumulating 4.2" by midnight) continued through this morning and piled up an additional 6.5".  Temperatures were very cold, with a high/low of 24°/14°, sixteen degrees below average. 

1950

The morning low of 6° was the coldest reading of the winter.  (The average low during the last week of February is close to 30°.)

1968

A frigid day, with a high/low of only 21°/5°.  The day's mean temperature was 20 degrees below average, joining five other days this winter that were 20 degrees or more colder than average (occurring on five consecutive days between Jan. 8-12).        

1977

Today's high was 32°, making this the only year in the 1970-2014 period to have a high of 32° or colder on this date.  This was also the only date between Dec. 3 and March 3 with just one occurrence until 2015, when there was another high of 32° on this date.

1981

Just two degrees separated today's high and low of 49°/47°, something that happens just once every two or three years.

1993

4.3" of wet snow fell on this Sunday evening, mixing with freezing rain and rain near the end as the temperature hovered around freezing.  At the time this was the largest accumulation of the winter, but it would be easily topped three weeks later by the March Superstorm.

 

Snowonthanksgiving

2003

Today's high of 50° was the mildest temperature of a very cold month (the coldest since 1979).  It matched January's mildest reading.

2007

At just 49°, today was the mildest reading of a February that was even colder than 2003.  This reading was colder than the low temperatures on two days in January (53° on 1/5 and 54° 1/6).

2010

Today's high of 46° was one of the lowest readings to be the mildest temperature during a winter month.  

462015

Snow began falling around 1:30 PM and fell steadily through 9:00 when it changed to sleet and freezing rain.  Four inches was measured, making this the second biggest accumulation of the winter (and the third snowfall this month between three and four inches).  Today was also the ninth day in a row in which the mean temperature was ten degrees or more below average, only the fifth time since 1960 that a streak of this length had occurred.  Temperatures during these nine days were 17 degrees below average.

2018

Today's high soared to 78°, breaking the previous record by ten degrees.  This was the warmest reading ever reported during the month of February; the warmest reading previously was 75°, which occurred in 1930 and again in 1985.  This was only the eleventh time a reading in the 70s was reported in February at Central Park (on average the mildest temperature in February is around 60°).

 

Chart - 70s in February

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