It used to be that New York's most stifling overnight temperatures in the summer fell into the upper 70s - but lows of 80° or warmer were few and far between. However, this began to change in the late 1970s. Since then, lows of 80° or warmer have occurred 38 times (thru 2020) - still infrequent, but no longer unheard of. As Sandy and Danny sang to each other so famously in Grease, "Oh, those summer nights!"
- Looking at the years from 1950 onward, only 1952 and 1957 registered 80-degree lows before 1978. But since 1978, nineteen years have had lows of 80+. To put it another way, there were no 80-degree lows in the twenty year period between 1958-1977, but they've occurred every two or three years since 1978.
- The most 80-degree lows were experienced during the summer of 2002, when there were four. Four other summers have each had three such stifling readings: 2013, 2010, 1988 and 1980.
- The warmest low temperature, 84°, has occurred four times, most recently on July 22, 2011 and July 15, 1995 and twice during the summer of 1908. (2011's high was two degrees hotter than 1995: 104 vs 102; both days in 1908 had highs of just 93°). Interestingly, on the day of New York's hottest temperature on record, 106° on July 7, 1936, the morning low was 77°. Therefore, July 22, 2011 is the day with New York's hottest mean temperature (94°).
- With the exception of 1952, when an 80-degree low occurred on June 26, all other 80-degree lows have occurred in July or August. The latest date for such a warm low is Aug. 30, 2018. This broke the previous record, in 1985 and 1988, by 14 days.
- The summer of 1995 reported the most low temperatures of 77° or warmer, eleven - one which was 84° and the remaining ten were between 77°-79°. It was followed by 1999 and 2002, with ten.
- The biggest rise in temperature on a day with a low of 80° or warmer was 22 degrees, which happened on July 10, 1993 (102°/80°) and was equaled on July 6, 2010 (103°/81°). The smallest rise in the past 100 years is eleven degrees, which was reported on Aug. 30, 2018 when the high/low was 92°/81°. However, there have been seven even smaller variations in the years before 1911, with the smallest being seven degrees, which occurred during the summers of 1906 and 1908, both with a high/low of 87°/80°.
- A low in the upper 70s or warmer doesn't guarantee the afternoon high will soar into the 90s. There have been fourteen instances where the high has stayed below 90° (three of them occurred in 2015, two in 2016). The two days that failed to reach 90° with the warmest low occurred on July 26, 1979, when the high struggled to 87° after a low of 79°, and on July 15, 2016 when the high reached 88° after the same low. The smallest diurnal variation when the low was 77° or warmer was seven degrees - and it also happened during the summer of 1979. On Aug. 4, under a thick haze, the high struggled to reach 84°.
- Twelve years since 1950 haven't had a low of 77° degrees or warmer. The coolest "warmest" low was 74° degrees, which occurred in the summers of 1996, 1976 and 1962.
- Between 1950 and 1977 the typical year had twenty-eight days with lows of 70° or warmer. Since 1978 the average number of such day has risen to thirty-seven. The most was 60 days in 2005; the fewest was eight in 1962.
|Daily Minimum Temp|
Note: Chart does not yet include 2013's three 80-degree lows, 2015's one or 2016's two.