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Ken K. in NJ

Hi. It was 31 degrees this morning (April 16). When was the last time it was below freezing this late in the season? Thanks.

Rob Frydlewicz

Ken, the last time NYC saw a temperature of 32 degrees or colder this late in April was in 1980 when it was 32 degree on 4/17. And the last time the temperature fell below 32 degrees this late was way back in 1943 when the low was 30 - also on 4/16. As far as the snow we had overnight, although it was only a "trace" (accumulation on cars and metal surfaces doesn't count), it was the latest date for a dusting since 1997, when it occurred on 4/18. The last time measurable snow fell in April was in 2006 when 0.1" fell on 4/1.

Ken K. in NJ

Thanks. Impressive, so yesterday (4/16) was the coldest for this late in the season since 1943. Not only that, with the winds, yesterday was bitter. I looked up 4/16/43 on the NYT database and the forecast for that day was "Warmer with Moderate winds" (it was 28 degrees the day before), so it seems to me that yesterday had a lower wind chill.

BTW, the low for 4/16/43 according to the NY Times was 31, not 30, but I believe that was because the "official" records were from The Battery until 1960 or 1961, when all records, even retroactively, were based on Central Park readings.

Rob Frydlewicz

Interesting comment about official site of measurement, but stats such as hottest and coldest temps for NYC both occurred before 1960 and were based on Central Park. Perhaps the Times was using a different source.

Ken K. in NJ

Rob: Just to elaborate a bit on the location for "official" NY records. Until the Winter of 1960 or 61 the official location for weather readings was The Battery. At that point the official location was moved to Central Park. Records had been kept at both places all along.

But since the official records were now from Central Park, all historical records were changed to reflect the Central Park readings rather than The Battery readings. For example NY's all time high temperature became 106 degrees instead of the 102 degrees that had been cited until then based on the Battery records. Similarly the all Time low became minus 15 instead of minus 14.

I was a kid back then, but since I was already a weather buff, I do remember the move, but I'm not sure if it was in 1960 or 1961. I do recall there were articles in the NY papers about it at the time.

Rob Frydlewicz

Ken, this is fascinating. I've seen references to various locations but I never delved into it and how it was carried out. It brings to mind when the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar and the shifts that were required. By chance, do you know the difference in accumulation of the big snow from Dec. 1947 between the Battery and Central Park? Thanks again for expanding my knowledge base!

Ken K. in NJ

According to the NY Times of 12/27/47 (i.e. the Day After), the official measurement was 25.8 inches.

BTW, I found an article on the NY Times database from 12/60 about the impending move of the Weather Bureau uptown. It makes a brief mention of the changes in official records. Now that I've read the article I'm fairly positive the move took place in January of 1961. Here's a link:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F60F11F83D541A7A93CBAB1789D95F448685F9

I'm not sure if you have to be a subscriber to open the link, if you have trouble let me know and I can send it to you via E mail as a pdf file.

--Ken

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