Today in New York Weather History: February 19
Today in New York Weather History: February 21

Today in New York Weather History: February 20


1890 (Thursday)

Rain changed to snow and 1.0" accumulated.  This was the only measurable snowfall in January and February, and would be the least snowy Jan/Feb until 1919, when 0.8" fell.  (And many years later, 1998 would have just 0.5" in those two months.)


1912 (Tuesday)

Yesterday and today had the first back-to-back lows above 32° in eight weeks (since Dec. 26-27).


1918 (Wednesday)

After the day's high of 59° was reached at daybreak (the mildest reading in three months), Arctic air moved in and the temperature dropped to 18° by midnight (with a wind chill of zero degrees).  By daybreak on the 21st the mercury bottomed out at 8°. 


1921 (Sunday)

The winter's biggest snowfall amounted to 12.5".  Precipitation began shortly after midnight as rain, but quickly changed to snow after 1 AM and continued until early evening; it was a very wet snow, produced by 2.68" of liquid precipitation.  Winds gusted to 41 mph.  The temperature fell slowly throughout the day, from 35° to 22° (on the way to 14° by daybreak on the 21st).


1924 (Wednesday)

Beginning last night, a nor'easter dumped nearly five inches of heavy snow that continued into the wee hours of this morning; then changed to sleet, then rain as the temperature rose into the mid-30s by late morning (precipitation ended around noon).  Winds gusted between 30-40 mph during the rainy part of the storm.  In total, 2.62" of precipitation was measured (2.21" of it fell today).


1927 (Sunday)

Just two degrees separated today's very cold high/low of 25°/23°.  Skies were overcast with some very light snow in the air (0.4" accumulated).


1936 (Thursday)

This morning's low of 9° was the twelfth, and last, low in the single digits or colder of the winter - the last winter with ten or more such frigid lows (thru the winter of 2024).  In total, there have been fourteen winters with ten or more days with lows of 10° or colder (with more than half concentrated between 1873 and 1888).


1943 (Saturday)

Just five days after a morning low of 8° below zero (the third coldest temperature on record in Central Park) today's high reached 63° - the greatest rebound in temperature following a sub-zero reading.  This was the first of five consecutive days with highs in the 60s.




1958 (Thursday)

Today's high was 33° - the first day since Feb. 7 with a high above freezing.  The twelve days from Feb. 8 thru Feb. 19 had an average high/low of 24°/13°, which was fifteen degrees colder than average.


1959 (Friday)

High temperatures of the past three days: 44° on 2/18, 33° yesterday and 22° today.


1964 (Thursday)

This was the ninth day since 2/8 to have measurable snow.  The combined amount of 11.9" was comparable to the snowstorm on 1/12-13 that dumped 12.5".  Today's snowfall was just 0.4" and over by 4 AM.  It was part of an extended wet snowfall that began late on 2/18 and amounted to 6.8" in total.




1981 (Friday)

A rainstorm that began yesterday dropped 0.85" in the bucket last night and 1.77" today, for a total of 2.62".  This was the biggest rainstorm in seven months.


1990 (Tuesday)

This was the fourth day of see-saw temperatures, with highs of: 58°-38°-56°-35° (today).


2005 (Sunday)

The first measurable snow of the month fell today.  And over the next ten days three mini-snowstorms of five inches+ would pass through, dumping a total of 18.7" of snow.  The first storm moved in this evening after 9 PM, and by the time the snow ended at 10 AM on the 21st, five inches had accumulated.




2007 (Tuesday)

Today was the 36th day in a row with a low temperature of 32° or colder, the longest such streak since one of 51 days in the winter of 1976-77.  (There would be one of 38 days during the winter of 2015.)


2015 (Friday)

The morning's frigid low of easily broke the previous record of 7° set in 1950.  This was the seventh day this winter with a low in the single digits and was the coldest reading since the winter of 2004 - and came just four days after a low of 3° had received that distinction.  With a high/low of 19°/2°, the day's mean temperature was 26 degrees below average.  Since 1960 there have been only three winter days more below average (all were 27 degrees below average, occurring in the winters of 1977, 1985 and 1994). 




2016 (Saturday)

After four near-misses on 1/10, 2/1, 2/2, and 2/4, when the highs reached 59°, today saw the year's first reading of 60°+.  Although this was two-and-a-half weeks later than the average date for this occurrence, it was far earlier than last year when it occurred on 3/26, (and on 3/11 the year before that).  Today's high was 62 degrees above the AM low of -1° six days ago (bringing to mind 1943's rebound on this very same date).


2017 (Monday)

This was the end of a sunny and mild Presidents' Day weekend, which was the mildest on record (pushing ahead of 1994's).  The average high of 61° during the three days was 19 degrees above average.  With a high of 55°, today was the coolest of the three days (Saturday had a high of 63°, Sunday's was 65°).  This would have made for a nice Easter weekend.  These mild conditions were in stark contrast to the previous two Presidents' Day weekends, which were the second (2016) and third (2015) coldest on record.


Feb19 breathtaking oculus


2018 (Tuesday)

Overcast skies in the morning gave way to sunshine by lunchtime, and the temperature soared to 67°, the warmest reading since Nov. 3.  This was the fourth day this month with a high in the 60s (all since 2/11), making this the third February in a row with four or more such days - a record streak.  This followed three Februarys in a row with no highs in the 60s.   


2023 (Monday)

Although the warmest high temperature on Presidents' Day is 64° in 2008, President's Day 2023 has the distinction of having the mildest mean temperature, with a high/low of 61°/47° (2008's low was 40°), 17 degrees above average. 
















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Ken K. in NJ

It seems very unusual to break a record low by 5 degrees. Do you have any data on when was the last time that happened?


Ken, that's an excellent question, but one I'm unable to answer since it's not a statistic I track. However, like you, I suspect it's rare to break a record by such a large margin. One stat I do know is that this was just the second record low set in NYC in the past 15 year.

Ken K. in NJ

Thanks for the reply. Are you sure about there being just 2 record lows set in the past 15 years? That seems impossible. I know record lows have become rare, but it seems to me there's been one every few years or so. I don't have any stats like you do, just going from memory, so I'll take your word for it, but maybe you can double-check.


I came across that fact yesterday on NY1-Weather's Twitter feed, but spurred on by your healthy skepticism I rolled up my sleeves and did some investigating. I found four dates since 2000 in which record lows were tied, one each in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. However, yesterday's would be the only new record. This doesn't overly surprise me since the years before 1930 were notably colder than they are now so a lot of record lows were established back then.

Ken K. in NJ

Thanks for the research. I guess I was thinking back to those "tied" records. I think I also have trouble getting my head around the fact that "15 years ago" only goes back to 2000!



Rob, you should do a post about how often daily record low temperatures are either broken or tied in Central Park. to me, they're alot more difficult to attain than record highs are. we just recently went through 10 years in a row ('05-'13) without any. I'm guessing global warming or the park's long period of record keeping might be a couple of reasons. if you ask me, record lows are just as infrequent as 100° days are.


in 1898, 3.07" of rain fell, a record amount of rainfall for this date, which still stands (the high/low was 39/36). no other February day has ever had three inches or more of precipitation.


also in 2015, this was the third latest date on record for a temperature this cold. on February 24, 1873, the low was -1°, and on February 25 of both 1894 and 1914, the low temperature was one above zero.


1.3" of snow fell on this date in 2019. this brought the total amount of snow since December first to 3.6", making this the seventh least snowy meteorological winter on record, and the least snowy since the winter of 2002 when 3.5" fell (all of which fell on two January days).


correct me if I'm wrong, but during the winter of 2019, November (6.4") had more snow than December, January and February combined (3.6"), a first for any winter season. the closest this came to happening was in the winter of 1990, when November had 4.7" and Dec, Jan and Feb combined had five inches.


I have a question since you mentioned NY1 Weather's twitter account. why did they stop tweeting? for some reason, nowadays, they just retweet tweets from other people. as of posting this comment, the last time they sent out a tweet of their own was on August 11, 2020. I miss seeing their tweets about weather stats in New York and I hope they tweet again soon.

By the way, regarding the entry for 2017, it’s funny that you said “this would have made for a nice Easter weekend”, cause Easter would be even warmer, in fact, the second warmest ever, at 87°, only 1976 had a warmer Easter, at 96°.

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