Today in New York Weather History: February 21
With a high/low of 41°/33°, this was 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).
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 average number has been between two and three).
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.
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°.)
It was 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).
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.
Just two degrees separated today's high and low of 49°/47°, something that happens just once every two or three years.
4.3" of wet snow fell during the 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.
Today's high of 50° was the mildest temperature of a very cold month (the coldest since 1979). It matched January's mildest reading.
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).
Today's high of 46° was one of the chilliest readings to be the mildest temperature during any month.
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.
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°). This was the second year in a row to have a reading in the 70s in February - the only time this has happened. (Please note that the chart below does not include 2023's high of 70° on 2/16).
hi Rob. could you imagine if 80° had been reached? I never thought any February day would be even remotely close to being this warm. I remember the forecast high actually being in the low 70s and to think the high would only be in the 40s in just a couple of days later!
Posted by: William | 02/21/2018 at 07:19 PM
after 2018's high of 78°, the next temperature of 70° or warmer wouldn't occur for more than seven weeks (82° in April; Friday the 13 ironically).
Posted by: William | 02/14/2019 at 12:05 PM
William, I know your comment is from two years ago, but not too far away in Newark, 80 degrees was reached that day!
Posted by: Harry | 02/21/2020 at 04:03 PM
Regarding 2018's high of 80° in Newark on this date, no other day from November 16 to March eighth has ever reached or exceeded 80° in Newark. Weather records for Newark go back to 1931 by the way.
Posted by: William | 03/08/2020 at 09:36 PM