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August 2014

Comparing Weather Conditions of Summer's Three Big Holidays

Previously, I've published separate posts about weather conditions over the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends and for the 4th of July.  This post compares the three side-by-side, looking at them as single-day holidays (i.e., the Mondays of Memorial Day and Labor Day, and the 4th of July) for each year going back to 1970 (thru 2019).

 

Coney.island.crowded    

 

Because of where they fall on the calendar, you'd expect the 4th of July to be the warmest of the three holidays and Memorial Day the coolest, but that's happened in just one-third of the summers.  (On average, the high on Memorial Day is 75°, on 4th of July it's 84° and 81° on Labor Day.)  Memorial Day has actually been the warmest of the three holidays in five of the years (and tied with 4th of July in two other years) while in eleven years Labor Day was the warmest.  July 4th had the coolest temperature in six years (including 2014 and 2015).

 

YEARS IN WHICH MEMORIAL DAY WAS THE  WARMEST SUMMER HOLIDAY
         
    High Temperature
    Mem Day 4th of July Labor Day
2011   86 86 70
2009   81 79 74
2007   83 71 82
2006   88 87 75
1991   89 82 74
1985   86 86 83
1981   87 75 74
         
         
YEARS IN WHICH  4TH OF JULY WAS COOLEST SUMMER HOLIDAY
         
    Mem Day 4th of July Labor Day
2015   85 75 92
2014   86 74 88
2008   80 78 84
2007   83 71 82
1979   75 71 86
1978   79 62 80
         
     

The summer of 1999 has the distinction of having the warmest three-holiday average temperature, 10 degrees above average, while the summer of 1982 was the coolest, eight degrees below average (with 1992 close behind, at 7.5 degrees below average).

 

WARMEST 3-HOLIDAY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
       
Summer of 1999      
  High Low Mean
Memorial Day 89 68 78.5
4th of July 96 79 87.5
Labor Day 83 74 78.5
Average 89 74 81.5
       
COOLEST 3-HOLIDAY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
       
Summer of 1982      
  High Low Mean
Memorial Day 55 50 52.5
4th of July 77 60 68.5
Labor Day 82 60 71
Average 71 57 64
       

 

The holidays during three summers - 1972, 1986 and 2016, had nearly the same high temperatures.  In 1972 the high was 78° on Memorial Day, 79° on 4th of July and 77° on Labor Day, while in 1986 the highs were similar to 1972's, but in a different order (76-77-78).  And 2016's were all in the 80s, with a high of 82° on Memorial Day and 84° on both July 4 and Labor Day.  On the flip side, the greatest variations in high temperatures occurred in the summers of 1974 (55-95-73) and 2003 (56-92-69).

 

In the years covered by this analysis there has never been a summer in which all three holidays had highs in the 90s.  In fact, there has been only one year, 1983, in which two of the three holidays had 90-degree readings (95° on 4th of July, 91° on Labor Day).  Looking at cool temperatures, three summers saw all three holidays fail to reach 80° (1972, 1986 and 2001).

 

Eleven summers (i.e., one out of four) were rain-free across all three holidays.  The last time this happened was in 2010.  Conversely, just two years saw rain on each holiday, in 1979 and 1998.  However, in those years the three days weren't washouts nor was rain significant for each holiday.

 

Labor day weekend
  

 

 

 

 

 

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July 2014 Weather Recap: Coolest Since 2009

July2014July 2014 was New York's coolest in five years.  However, temperatures were close to average, just 0.4 degrees below normal.  This broke a string of four hot Julys, three which ranked among New York's ten hottest.  (By contrast, July 2009 was the second coolest since 1920).  28 days had highs of 80° or warmer, which was similar to the previous four Julys.  However, only three days had highs in the 90s (hottest temperature was 91°, which happened twice) while the other four years all had ten or more.  Also, the month's coolest low, 63° (which also occurred twice) was similar to the coolest reading of the previous three Julys.

 

Other observations:

  • All but one of the lows in the 70s were either 71° or 72° (fourteen out of fifteen; the other was 70°).  By comparison, although June had no 90-degree highs its warmest low was 76°.
  • The year's first 90-degree temperature occurred on July 2, the latest date for the first 90 since 1985.  (The usual first 90-degree day occurs at the end of May.)
  • Besides being the coolest since 2009, July 2014 was also the wettest since that July as 5.59" was measured (2009 had 7.11").
  • Hurricane Arthur sideswiped New York City on the 4th of July, bringing clouds, blustery conditions and some light showers thru mid-afternoon (just 0.14" was measured).  This was the third earliest tropical system to affect the area since 1970 (Barry and Andrea struck in the first week of June in 2007 and 2013).  However, skies cleared and conditions were fine by the time of Macy's fireworks exhibition.  
  • Severe thunderstorms on the evenings of July 2 and July 3 were more disruptive than Hurricane Arthur.  On July 2 close to an inch of rain fell between 7-11PM.  On July 3, despite rain falling for half as much time as the night before, nearly twice as much rain fell (1.76"). 

 

JULY OVERVIEWS SINCE 2009
(Source:  NOAA Local Climatological Data)
             
  2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Average High 83.5 86.3 87.3 88.9 90.1 80.4
Average Low 68.8 73.4 70.3 71.6 72.6 64.9
Mean Temp 76.1 79.8 78.8 80.2 81.3 72.7
Departure -0.4 +3.3 +2.3 +3.7 +4.8 -3.8
80+ Days 28 27 28 30 29 17
90+ Days 3 10 10 14 16 0
70-72 Lows 15 4 13 7 5 4
73+ Lows 0 19 8 12 20 0

 

 

 

 

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