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Today in New York Weather History: October 17

Not All Daily Rainfall Records Are Impressive




Since New York's weather records go back to 1869 one might think that rainfall records for each day of the year would be substantial amounts, i.e., at least three inches, but that's not the case.  For example, on May 28, 2021 a nighttime rainstorm produced 1.22" of rain, which was a record for the date.  And although it was a significant amount it hardly seemed worthy of a record.  In fact, fifty-one dates have rainfall records that are for amounts less than 1.50", with nearly two dozen of them more than 100 years old. 




The most unimpressive record amounts of precipitation are found in January (thirteen days) and May (nine days).  October is the only month in which all record amounts are above 1.50".  (Seventy-five dates report more than three inches of rain for their record amounts.)


Until 2014 the most rain to ever fall on April 30 had been just 0.89", but then 4.97" poured down - now that's a record!  This left two dates with record amounts less than one inch - 0.86" on Sept. 9 and 0.91" on April 29.


The chart below shows the ten smallest daily amounts of precipitation that are records.  The most recent was on Feb. 8, 2013, when just 1.15" of precipitation qualified as a record (much of it fell as snow).  And the most recent occurrence of a low-record amount being displaced by a much greater amount was on July 8, 2021, when 2.06" broke the 1964 record of 1.05".  (And on March 14, 2017, 1.97" of rain easily erased the 1956 record of 1.02".)



(Through Oct. 2022)
Date Amount Year
Sept 9 0.86 1902
April 29     0.89 1909
June 8 1.02 1900
Jan 29 1.03 1990
May 17 1.05 1989
April 11    1.10    1913
Nov 30 1.11 1928
June 15 1.13 1915
June 11 1.14 1911
Feb 8 1.15 2013



And while the modest amounts above have bragging rights, there are 18 rainfalls of three inches or more that aren't records because they occurred on a date when an even greater amount fell.  The greatest amount not to be a record is 5.60", which poured down on Nov. 8, 1972.  However, it was a record for five years before more than seven inches fell on the same date in 1977. 


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