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Mild One Day, Snow the Next - A History of Dramatic Change

January 2014's Weather Was Harsh, but January 2009 Was Colder

Weather_snowypedestrians

 

January 2014 was a cold/snowy month, four degrees colder than average and with nearly 20 inches of snow.  With a mean temperature of 28.6 degrees, it was the coldest in five years, when January 2009 had a mean temperature of 28.1 degrees.  This surprised me because conditions this January seemed harsher, and a side-by-side comparison of daily temperatures of the two months seems to bear this out:

 

  • This year had eleven days that were 10 degrees or more colder than average while there just six such days in 2009. 
  • 2014 had ten days with lows of 15° or colder compared to only five in 2009. 
  • This January had eight days with highs of 25° or colder while there were just three five years ago.  One thing the two years had in common was the same number of days with highs of 32° or below, thirteen.

 

The  reason 2009 was colder overall was due to its lack of any extended stretch of mild weather.  In 2014 there was a week-long period (1/11 thru 1/17) in which the temperature never fell below 32°.  In 2009 there was only one such day.  Also, this year had five days that were 10 degrees or more above average - 2009 had no such days.  Four days in January 2014 reported highs in the 50s while 2009's mildest reading was 47°.  As a result, although this year's average low was colder than 2009's (21.8 degrees vs. 22.4 degrees) its average high of 35.4 degrees was 1.9 degrees above that of five years ago, and that is what gave 2009 a colder mean temperature.  (By the way, this year's average low was the coldest in ten years.)

 

Frigid_nyc

 

As far snowfall is concerned, this January had more than twice as much accumulation - 19.7" vs. 9.0".   Interestingly, 2009 had four snowfalls of one-inch or more - one more than this year.  However, this year's snowfalls were: 11.5", 6.4", 1.0" and 0.8" while five years ago the accumulations were: 4.0", 3.0" and two snowfalls of 1.0".

 

Snow_traffic

 

JANUARY 2014 v 2009    
  2014 2009
Mean Temperature 28.6 28.1
Average High 35.4 33.5
Average Low 21.8 22.4
Warmest 58 47
Coldest 4 6
Lows of 15 or colder 10 5
Highs of 25 or colder 8 3
Highs of 32 or colder 13 13
Mean temp 10+ deg above 5 0
Mean temp 10+ deg below 11 6
Snow 19.7" 9.0"

 

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