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February 2015

February 2015 - One of New York's Coldest Months on Record

Ice.surrounds.manhattan

 

Through mid-February, it appeared this would be the coldest February since 1979, but as incursions of Arctic cold continued unabated through the second half of the month, it ended up being even colder than that February.  (February 1979 was brutally cold until the last six days of the month when temperatures were eight degrees above average.)  Most who experienced February 2015 probably don't need convincing that it was an unusually frigid month, but for those who need statistical proof, read on:

 

  • It was 1) New York's coldest month since January 1977; 2) the coldest February since 1934 (which is NYC's coldest month on record); and 3) the third coldest February overall.  Among all months it was the tenth coldest (see chart below). 
  • February 2015 joins four other months in the past 25 years that rank among their respective month's 10 coldest (all of which have occurred since 2000):  July 2000, January 2004, June 2009 and July 2009.
  • There were nine days in a row (Feb. 13-21) in which the mean temperatures were 10 degrees or more below average (the longest streak since one of 11 days in February 1979).  Overall, sixteen days were ten degrees or more below average, the most since December 1989.  Five days were 20 degrees or more below average.
  • Despite there being no sub-zero readings, the month was characterized by its consistent cold.  The temperature got no higher than 43° (the only Februarys with lower "warmest" temperature were in 1978, when the maximum temperature was just 41°, and 1934, when it was 42°.)  This continued a streak that began on Jan. 6 and became the longest such streak on record (and it continued thru the first week of March).

 

Frozen.bryantpark.fountain.
Frozen fountain in Bryant Park

 

  • Every day had a low of freezing or below; every day but one, Feb. 22, had a below average mean temperature.  Fifteen days had highs of 32° or colder (a typical winter averages eighteen in total).
  • The coldest day of the entire winter was Feb. 20, with a high/low of 19°/2°, 26 degrees below average.
  • There were no big snowstorms, but 13.6" accumulated, four inches above average. (This total reflects a revision made by the National Weather Service in late March that increased Feb. 2's snowfall from 3.3" to 5.0").  This came mostly from three snowfalls in the three to five-inch range.  These snowfalls, along with the cold weather, helped maintain a snow cover in Central Park of at least six inches for the entire month.  And although total precipitation for the month was just 2.04", there have been six Februarys since 2000 with less.

 

NEW YORK'S TEN COLDEST MONTHS
         
  Mean      
  Temp Snow Coldest Warmest
Feb 1934 19.9 27.9" -15 42
Jan 1918 21.7 13.2" -4 53
Jan 1977  22.1 13.0" -2 44
Feb 1885 22.7 14.5" -2 46
Jan 1888  23.0 11.0" 0 54
Jan 1920  23.4 8.2" -1 51
Jan 1912  23.7 13.0" -3 54
Jan 1893  23.7 16.0" 1 52
Jan 1875  23.8 14.5" -3 40
Feb 2015 23.9 13.6" 2 43
Source: NOAA Local Climatological Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sleet - The Most Misunderstood Form of Precipitation?

Hail.and.sleet

 

When it comes to weather phenomena, the general public seems knowledgeable about most types of precipitation, but one they seem to have a blind spot for is sleet, often referring to this wintertime annoyance as hail.  I find their confusion curious since these forms of precipitation, although both are ice formations, are created in very different ways.  (Interestingly, in the summer no one confuses hail with sleet.)  Alas, because sleet is more of a nuisance than hail, which is formed during severe thunderstorms, it doesn't draw attention to itself - like someone who is overshadowed by a sibling who's always getting into trouble, or is an overachiever (sisters Jan and Marcia on The Brady Bunch come to mind).

 

The fact of the matter is sleet doesn't cause damage like hail does (or injuries from falls, like freezing rain does).  The only time it may create a problem is when it's wind-blown and stings your face.  It also can be annoying when it taps incessantly against window panes.  But it doesn't cause damage to vehicles, crush plants or pull down power lines.  One thing sleet and hail have in common is that during heavy periods of either, snowplows are needed to clear streets.  Sleet is also the nemesis of snow lovers, responsible for reducing lofty snow predictions when it mixes with snowflakes or completely overtakes them.

 

Sleet

 

On rare occasions a heavy sleet storm can result in accumulations greater than a few inches.  When this happens, walking through the ice pellets is like trudging through crushed glass.  Memorable New York sleet storms in the past 50 years have occurred in December 1973; March 1993; January 1994; two in the winter of 2007; March 2016; and February 2019.  The sleet that fell in March 1993 was part of the historical Storm of the Century.  I was walking outside when the changeover from snow to sleet occurred.  The sleet pellets, propelled by winds gusting over 40 mph, stung my face, giving me somewhat of a skin burn.  Then once inside I had to contend with the sound of the sleet crashing against my windows for hours.

 

 

 

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New York Weather Highlights of 2015

 

2015

JANUARY

5 - The temperature fell steadily throughout the day, from 49° shortly after midnight to 21° twenty-four hours later. 

8 - Today was the third day in a row with very cold temperatures, all with highs below 25°.  Today's high/low of 21°/8° was one degree colder than the high/low last year on this very date (22°/9°).  In the years since 1960 this is the only time that a date had a low in the single digits in consecutive years.

9 - Although snow that fell this morning amounted to just 1.5", it was magnified by the fact that it was more than predicted and it fell during the morning commute (6-9 AM).  During the afternoon the temperature rose to 33°, the first time it was above freezing in four days.

18 - An all-day deluge from a storm that hugged the coast dumped 2.10" of rain, a record for the date and the biggest January rainstorm since 1999.

24 - A fast-moving system dropped 3.6" of heavy, wet snow overnight that was over by 7:00 AM.  This amount was on the low end as most towns in New Jersey and Westchester Co. received between five and seven inches. 

27 - The "great" blizzard that had been predicted to dump 24" to 36" was not to be as "just" 9.8 fell yesterday evening and this morning.  The National Weather Service issued an apology to NYC, which had shut schools and its transit system based on the forecast.  However, just 30 miles east of the City, towns on Long Island received upwards of two feet of snow.  The snow ended mid-morning and the day's temperatures stayed in the 20s. 

 

FEBRUARY

2 - A nasty winter storm brought snow, sleet and freezing rain for much of the daylight hours and then Arctic air blew through during the evening, dropping the temperature into the mid-teens by midnight (with wind chills around 0°).  Precipitation began as rain (shortly before midnight) and ended as snow during the afternoon, with a total accumulation of 5.3".  A considerable amount of sleet and freezing rain hampered the morning commute.  (Most nearby suburbs had 5-7" of snow.)  This and three other snowfalls in the past ten days brought nearly twenty inches of of snow.

15 - Arctic cold returned, made made even more frigid by winds gusting between 30-45 mph.  Temperatures were in the teens throughout the day and then dropped like a rock into the single digits after 8 PM, and down to 4° above zero by midnight.  Wind chills were between 5° and 15°.  Meanwhile, the latest winter storm was yet another non-event, making it the seventh such under-performer of the past two months.  However, it dumped another fifteen inches of snow on beleaguered Boston.

16 - With a high/low of 21°/3°, today was the coldest day of the winter (23 degrees below average).  The low of 3° was the coldest reading since the winter of 2004 (when two days had lows of 1° above zero).  Since 1960 only the winter of 1979 has had a colder low temperature this late in the season (zero degrees on Feb. 18).

17 - An overnight snowfall put down 3.3" by the time it ended around 10 AM.  Because the air was so cold and dry just 0.14" of liquid produced a lot more snow than would usually be the case.  The day's high was 27°, making it the fifth day in a row with a high of 32° or colder.

20 - The morning's frigid low of 2° above zero easily broke the old record of 7° set in 1950.  This was the seventh day this winter with a low in the single digits and was the coldest reading since the winter of 2004 (just four days after the low of 3° above zero got that distinction).  With a high/low of 19°/2°, the day's mean temperature was 26 degrees below average.  Since 1960 there have been only three winter days more below average (all were 27 degrees below average, in the winters of 1977, 1985 and 1994).

21 - Snow began falling around 1:30 PM and fell steadily through 9:00 when it changed to sleet and freezing rain.  Four inches accumulated (one inch fell after midnight), making it the second biggest snowfall of the winter (and the third this month between three and four inches).  Today was also the ninth day in a row in which the mean temperature was ten or more degrees below average, just the fifth time since 1960 that a streak this long has occurred.  Temperatures during these nine days averaged 17 degrees below average.

22 - You know it's been a harsh winter when a high/low of 43°/32° in late February is cause for celebration.  But after a nine-day stretch with temperatures that were 17 degrees below average (high/low of 26°/10°) and three snowfalls that amounted to 8.2", today felt like spring.  I took advantage of the sunny and mild conditions and walked to Hudson River Park to catch a glimpse of ice floating by on the Hudson River.  The day's high would be the mildest of the month, making it the coolest maximum reading for February since 1978 (when the mildest reading was just 41°).  Today's high was the mildest reading of February, and the mildest since Jan. 5 (when the high was 49°.)

23 - Yesterday's sunny skies and temperatures in the low 40s felt like springtime in this brutal winter, but it was just a 24-hour reprieve as the relentless Arctic cold returned today.  The temperature tumbled from 38° shortly after midnight to 8° 24 hours later.   And windy conditions produced sub-zero wind chills after dark.

24 - The morning low was just 4°, one of the latest dates for a temperature this cold.  This was the ninth day this winter with a low in the single digits (seven of them occurring in the past twelve days), joining twenty other winters (since 1870).  The last winter to have this many was in 1994.  Today was also the 50th day in a row in which the temperature failed to go above 43° degrees.

28 - The coldest February since 1934 ended, fittingly, on very cold note with a high/low of 29°/13° under mostly clear skies.  This was the fifteenth day this month with a high of freezing or colder and the sixteenth that was ten degrees or more below average.  Besides being the third coldest February on record it was the tenth coldest of any month.

 

MARCH

1 - A snowy Sunday afternoon produced the winter's second biggest snowfall, with 4.8" piling up before the snow changed over to light sleet and freezing rain in the evening.  Temperatures remained below freezing all day.  This was the biggest March 1 snowfall since 1968 (when 5.5" fell).

3 - A winter storm moved in mid-afternoon, bringing a few hours of snow, a few hours of sleet and freezing rain and then a few hours of rain - all which ended by midnight.  The wintry precipitation made the evening commute a nightmare.  And though just 1.8" of snow fell, it was the most to fall on this date since 1960 (when 12.5" fell).  Today's snow was the tenth this winter of one inch or more (the average number is six).  Last year had twelve such snowfalls, making these the first back-to-back winters with ten or more (in the winters since 1950). Today was also the 38th day in a row with a low of 32° or colder, the longest such streak since one of 51 days during the winter of 1976-77.

4 - Today's seasonably cold high of 45° was the mildest reading since Jan. 5.  This was also the 58th consecutive day in which the temperature got no higher than 45°, a new record.  The previous record occurred during the winter of 1948. 

5 - Rain that fell overnight rain changed to snow at daybreak and fell steadily for the rest of the day, accumulating seven inches by 6 PM.  This became the second biggest snowfall of the winter, passing the 4.8" snowfall of March 1.  In just the first five days of the month this became the snowiest March since 1967 as 13.6" fell from three storm systems.  Today's snowstorm brought the season's total snowfall to 42 inches, the eighth time in the past thirteen winters to have more than 40 inches (average is 26 inches).  Temperatures fell during the storm, from mid-30s to upper teens by the time the last snowflake fell.

6 - Conditions following yesterday' snowstorm felt like Aspen as skies were a deep blue and temperatures very cold, with a high/low of 27°/12°, twenty degrees below average.  For the past six weeks there has been snow cover in Central Park, which built to 19" after yesterday.

8 - Yesterday's high was 11 degrees milder than the day before and today was 11 degrees milder than yesterday.  Under mostly sunny skies, the high reached 49° degrees, the mildest reading since Jan. 5.

11 - We missed by one degree duplicating last year's first 60-degree temperature of the year on this date.  Still, today's high was the mildest since Christmas Day's balmy 62°.

15 - This was the first day since Jan. 23 to have no snow cover in Central Park, a streak of 50 days, the fifth longest streak on record.  (Last winter there was a streak of 39 days; in 2011 one of 53 days.)   

20 - Although Spring began at 6:45 PM it was a day when winter reasserted itself as snow fell during the afternoon and evening, amounting to 4.5".  As the snow fell the temperature also fell, from the upper 30s to upper 20s.  Today's snowfall brought March's total to 18.6", making it the snowiest month of the winter (December had 1.0", January 15.3" and February 11.9") - and the snowiest March since 1956.  With a total of 47 inches, this became the tenth snowiest winter since 1950.  

21 - For the fourth day in a row the morning low was 29° (average is 37°).  The next day's low was 28°.

23 - Clear and cold, with a high/low of 38°/23°, which was 14 degrees below average.  This was the coldest mean temperature after the spring equinox since March 22, 2004 (36°/24°) and March 22, 2002 (33°/22°).

24 - The National Weather Service announced that it had increased New York's winter snowfall by 3.3" (as measured in Central Park).  Specifically, snowfall was adjusted on three dates: Jan. 6 (from 0.5" to 1.0"); Jan. 24 (from 2.5" to 3.6"); and Feb. 2 (from 3.3" to 5.0").

26 - A few weeks ago we missed having our first 60-degree by one degree but today it finally happened, shortly after sundown.  This was the latest date for the year's first 60 since 1982 when it happened on March 30.  The temperature held steady at 61° for a few hours and then a cold front moved through, so there would be no repeat performance tomorrow.

29 - Although it was a bright and sunshiny day, the mean temperature was eleven degrees below average (high/low was 46°/25°).  This was the 28th day this year with a mean temperature ten degrees or more below average - the most since 1916 when there was also 28 days in the first three months of the year.  This came one year after there were 27 such days between January and March.  (The typical number is eleven.)

 

APRIL

7 - Two-and-a-half weeks after a four-day streak of lows of 29°, today was the fourth day in a row with a low of 42°, which was right at the seasonal average.  Highs during these days were also very similar: 60°-61°-63°-62°, but three or four degrees above average.

15 - At 72°, today's high was the year's first in the 70s, three weeks later than average and tying 2003 for the latest "first 70" since 1993 (when it happened on 4/19).  Skies were partly cloudy.

18 - Three days after reaching the 70s for the first time this year, today's high reached 80°, a few days ahead of schedule.  And while this year's first 60+ and first 70+ came later than last year, 2014's first 80 didn't happen until 5/11.

20 - Dreary and foggy with rain thru early afternoon that amounted to 1.37".  This was comparable to the amount that fell in the previous 30 days, and would account for nearly two-thirds of April's total rainfall (2.08").

 

MAY

10 - Today was Mother's Day and it was partly cloudy, warm and humid, with a high of 83°.  This was one degree warmer than last year's Mother Day and the warmest Mother's Day since 1993 (when the high reached 89°).

12 - Today, with a high of 86°, was the eighth day this month with a high in the 80s.  These eight days are the most to occur in the first 12 days of May.  Between May 2 and today the average high was 80°, nearly twelve degrees above average and more typical of mid-June.  In addition to these warm temperatures it was also very dry.  Today was the 20th day in a row in which no measurable rain was reported.

16 - Measurable rain fell for the first time since April 22, a span of 23 days.  Showers fell before daybreak and then again tonight between 8:00 and midnight, measuring 0.30".  This was New York's longest dry spell since the spring of 2001 when  one of 26 days occurred.  With today's rainfall May 16 tied April 1 as the second likeliest date to have rain (June 3 is the most likely). 

25 - Today was Memorial Day and it was practically a carbon copy of last year's holiday, i.e., sunny and warm.  The only difference was that today's high of 85° was one degree lower than last year.  This was the ninth time in the past ten years that Memorial Day saw a high in the 80s.

26 - With a high/low of 88°/67° today was the warmest day of the month, which would end up being the second warmest May on record (behind 1991).

30 - For the fifth time in the past six days the high reached 85°.  Besides the warmth, dry conditions also continued as the number of days in which less than an inch of rain fell reached forty.  Although a significant number, it's half as many days as the record of 81 days set in the summer of 1999.

31 - Today's high of 87° made this the eighteenth day in May with a high of 80° or warmer - a new record for the month.  It was also the seventh day in a row with highs of 85° or warmer.  During these days highs averaged 86°, twelve degrees above average.  The month was the second warmest May on record, 0.2 degrees behind May 1991.

Up until 4 PM it appeared this was going to be the first May since 1964 with less than an inch of rain, but then strong thunderstorms moved in and dumped 1.46" of rain - three times the amount that had fallen in the first 30 days of the month (0.40").  In fact, more rain fell in the 45 minutes between 4:00 and 4:45 (0.93") than had fallen in the previous 40 days.  By midnight the temperature had tumbled to 57°, 30 degrees colder than twelve hours earlier.

 

JUNE

1 - After a week of temperatures in the summery mid-80s today was 30 degrees colder with periods of rain, drizzle and fog.  Today's high in the 50s was chillier than any day in May - the first time this has ever occurred.  

2 - With a high/low of just 55°/50° this was the chilliest day in June since June 2, 1946 (52°/48°).  Today's high was twenty-one degrees below average.  Drizzle and light rain fell throughout the day, bringing Central Park's total rainfall since 5 PM on 5/31 to 2.55" - more than the previous sixty days. 

21 - The significant rain that had been predicted from the remnants of tropical storm Bill didn't materialize as just a third of an inch fell overnight (1.50" had been forecast).  However, by this storm being a dud, Father's Day turned out to be nice and summery, with temperatures in the upper 80s under partly cloudy skies.  Then a quick downpour between 6:00 and 6:20 PM dumped as much rain than what fell in the wee hours of the morning. 

23 - Today's high was 90°, the year's first 90-degree reading, which was four weeks later than usual (but earlier than last year's first 90-degree day, which occurred on 7/2).  The day was hazy and the air thick with humidity, which produced a heat index in the mid-90s.  Turbulent weather rolled through the area late in the afternoon but Manhattan escaped the severe storms as just 0.02" of rain was measured in Central Park.

28 - Overnight rain was over by daybreak but clouds and mist/fog persisted and the day's high/low of 73°/61° made this the coolest Gay Pride Day since 1996.

30 - Today was the sixteenth day this month with a high of 80°+, which is close to average.  What made it noteworthy is the fact that this number was two fewer than the number of 80-degree days in May, the first time this has happened since 1985 and just the second time in the years since 1950.  Additionally, June's average high of 79.5° was just 0.1 degree above that of May.

 

JULY

4 - Skies were overcast through mid-afternoon (including some light rain from 1:30-2:30) but then the sun broke through and the rest of the day was very pleasant.  This was the second year in a row in which the weather on Memorial Day was much nicer.  Today's high was 75°, one degree higher than last 4th of July.

7 - Conditions were very tropical as high humidity and a high temperature of 88° produced a heat index of 95° during the afternoon.  Today's high was the warmest reading in two weeks.

8 - It was one of those rare days when the afternoon high failed to reach 90° despite a low temperature in the upper 70s.  Today's high of 88° was the eighth day this year with a high of either 88° or 89°.

19 - Today's high of 93° was the hottest reading in nearly two years (since Sept. 11, 2013's high of 96°).  And the heat index reached 102°.  This was just the second day this year with a high in the 90s (but 18 more would follow).

20 - With a high/low of 94°/82°, today's mean temperature was the hottest of the year.  This was despite the fact that four other days would have hotter high temperatures.

25 - Today's high and those of the previous three days: 85°-86°-87°-88° (today).

29 - Since 7/19 four days briefly had the hottest temperature of the year: 93° on 7/19; 94° on 7/20; 95° on 7/28; and 96° today.  However, despite today's high, the hottest mean temperature of the summer was on 7/19, with a high/low of 94°/82°.  (Today's low was five degrees cooler than 7/19's.)

30 - A series of tropical downpours during the afternoon dumped 1.95" of rain - the first rain to fall on this date in fifteen years.  Today's amount was comparable to the rainfall of the past four weeks and was the biggest rainstorm since Jan. 18 (when 2.10" fell).  During one 20-minute period (between 1:25 and 1:45 PM) nearly an inch of rain poured down.  It was a very muggy day, with dew points in the low 70s and a high of 87°.

 

AUGUST

3 - After three days in a row with highs of 89°, today's high hit 90°.  All four days were perfect summer days, with fair skies and comfortable levels of humidity.

4 - Despite a strong thunderstorm around 4 AM, the daylight hours were delightful as we experienced our fifth day in a row of beautiful summer weather.  Today, like three of the past four days had a high of 89° (the other day reached 90°).  This was the sixteenth day this year to have a high of 88° or 89°, the greatest number on record at this point in the year.

6 - Today's high of 83° broke a 19-day streak with highs that were 85° or warmer.  This was the fourth longest streak since 1940.  However, another streak continued as today was the 28th day in a row in which the high was 80° or warmer. 

20 - Today was the 42nd day in a row with a high of 80° or warmer, making this the second longest such streak on record (moving ahead of 1943 and 2011, both of which had streaks of 41 days).  The longest such streak, which occurred in 1944, lasted 59 days.

31 - This was the first August on record in which every day had a high of 80° or warmer.  (A typical August has seven days with highs in the 60s/70s.)  It joined July 1944 as the only month with highs of 80+ on every day.  Today's high reached 91°, the eighth 90-degree day of the month, which is double the usual amount.  Overall this was the third hottest August on record.

 

SEPTEMBER

5 - A high in the lows 80s made this just the sixth year to have 100 days with highs of 80° or warmer.  And the record of 108 days (set in 1944) was within reach.

7 - Today was Labor Day and the high reached 92° - the first time a high was in the 90s on the holiday since 1983.  Today was also the 60th day in a row in which the high was 80° or warmer - a new record.  The previous record was set in the summer of 1944.

8 - Clear and sizzling hot as the high soared to 97°, twenty degrees above average and a record for the date.  This was the hottest reading of the year and the hottest in September since 1983 (when the mercury reached 99° on 9/11).  However, today's mean temperature of 87° wasn't the hottest of the summer; that remained on 7/20 when the high/low was 94°/82°.

9 - Although today's high of 90° was cool-down from yesterday, it felt nearly as uncomfortable because of a dew point around 70°.  This was the sixth 90-degree day of the month; only four other Septembers have had more 90s: 1961 (8), 1983 (7), 1970 (7) and 1895 (7).   

10 - Clouds and showers prevented the temperature from reaching 80° for the first time since July 9 - a record streak of 62 days.  Although today's afternoon temperatures were in the mid-70s, a dew point around 70° gave the air a heavy, tropical feel.  (The official high was 79°, which occurred just after midnight.)  Today's rainfall amounted to 1.53", which was a record for the date.

14 - It was a delightful day with clear skies and very pleasant temperatures that were a touch below average.  The morning low of 59° was the first in the 50s since late June.  With a high/low of 77°/59° today snapped a 16-day streak of above average mean temperatures.  During these sixteen days temperatures were close to eight degrees above average.

17 - Under sunny skies the temperature rose into the upper 80s, the 109th day this year with a high of 80° or warmer - a new record.  The previous record was set back in 1944.

 

OCTOBER

1 - The record warmth of September didn't extend into October as today's high was 64°, the first high below 70° since June 4 (the longest streak of 70-degree+ temps on record).  Skies were overcast and there was a period of light rain during the evening hours. 

2 - September's warm conditions were a distant memory as the area was lashed by wind-driven rain (1.09") and temperatures largely in the low-to-mid-fifties.  In the previous eleven weeks there had been just a handful of days that had cooler than average mean temperatures, and none more than two degrees cooler than average, but today, with a high/low of 57°/48° was nine degrees below average.

9 - After a warm day, with a high in the upper 70s, a cold front triggered a period of heavy rain just as Friday's evening rush hour was getting underway.  0.89" poured down between 5-7:00, with much of it falling in the first hour.

19 - This morning's low was 35°, the chilliest reading this early in autumn since back in 1976 when the low fell to 34° on the same date as today. 

28 - Showers and downpours that fell throughout the day amounted to 1.40".  Today's rain accompanied a warm front that pushed temperatures into the upper 60s by nightfall (the day's high was 69°, reached shortly before midnight).  More than an inch of rain also fell in the three previous years that rain fell on this date (in 2009, 2008 and 2006).  

 

NOVEMBER

1 - Weather conditions were great for runners of the NYC Marathon as skies were lightly overcast and temperatures ranged from upper 50s at the start of the race to mid-60s by mid-afternoon.  The last time temperatures were this pleasant for the event was ten years ago.   

6 - Today's high of 74° tied the record for the date and was the warmest reading in November since 2003.  Meanwhile the morning low of 66° broke the record for mildest low temperature and became the second mildest low ever reported in November (one degree behind Nov. 2, 1971).  This was the fourth day in a row with highs in the 70s -the longest such streak in November since 1994.  The average high during these days was 72°, fifteen degrees above average.

7 - The day's high temperature was reached shortly before 2 AM - 72°.  This made it the fifth day in a row with a high in the 70s - the longest streak of highs in the 70s of any November..  The temperature then slowly fell throughout the day, but it was still a mild 53° at midnight.  During the first week of November the high/low averaged 70°/56° -11 degrees milder than average and more typical of late September.

14 - Today, under clear skies and with windy conditions, was the first day this month with a below-average mean temperature (high/low of 49°/42°, two degrees below average).  Also, today's high of 49° was the first day since 4/9 with a high temperature chiller than 50°. 

24 - The season's first freezing temperature occurred this morning shortly before 4 AM.  (Since 1980 the typical date for the first freezing reading has been 11/21.)  The rest of the day remained chilly, with a high of 46°.  (Yesterday had a chillier mean temperature, with a high/low of 44°/33°).

30 - The mildest November on record (passing Nov. 2001 by 0.1 degree) ended on a chilly note, three degrees below average (high/low of 47°/33°).  This would be the last day of the year with a colder than average mean temperature.

 

DECEMBER

8 - Although today's high/low of 49°/41° was five degrees above average, it was the chilliest day of the first half of December.

13 - Today's high (67°) and low (55°) both set warm temperature records for the date.  And for the second day in a row the day's mean temperature was 23 degrees above average. 

14 - The day after a record high and a record mild low were set (67°/54°), today's high/low of 67°/53° tied the records for the date.  After foggy/overcast conditions during the daylight hours, a period of heavy rain fell between 7-8:00 PM (amounting to 0.33").  Temperatures then rose, with the record-tying temperature occurring shortly before midnight. 

15 - For the sixth day in a row temperatures were in the 60s - and today was the mildest of the days, with a high of 68° - reached in the wee hours of the morning (a new record).  The only longer streak of 60°+ in December was one of seven days in 1998 during the first week of the month.  Today was the third day in a row with a record high, and the fourth day in a row with a record-mild low temperature. 

16 - After six days in a row with high temperatures in the 60s, today saw a cool down.  However, the high/low of 53°/46° was still thirteen degrees above average.

17 - It was a mild and rainy day.  The 1.25" of rain that was measured in Central Park fell mostly between 11 AM and 4 PM.  This was the eighth day in a row with mean temperatures more than 10 degrees above average.  The average high/low during these days was 63°/52° - nineteen degrees above average.

19 - Although today had the chilliest mean temperature since the end of March (high/low was 40°/35°) it was still two degrees above average.  This would be the coldest day of a record-mild December and ended a nine-day streak of mean temperatures ten degrees or more above average.  The last time there was a streak of this many days was in January 2002.     

23 - Eleven years after my flight home to Pittsburgh was cancelled due to inclement weather, it happened again - on the same date.  1.55" of rain was measured, falling just 0.07" short of setting a new record.  Most of the rain fell between 3:00 and 9:00 PM.  Besides being rainy it was also mild, with a high of 64°.

24 - It was an extraordinarily mild day, with a record high of 72° and a record-warm low of 63° (the warmest low temperature ever recorded in December.)  This low temperature was the same as the previous record high for the date.  The day's mean temperature was 33 degrees above average.  These springlike conditions came just two years after a high/low of 71°/61° on Dec. 22.

25 - For the second day in a row a record high maximum and minimum temperature were set.  The high of 66° occurred just after midnight.  The low of 57° was seven degrees milder than the previous record.  This was the month's fourth record daily maximum high and fifth record daily maximum low.  And for the second year in a row Christmas Day was warmer than Easter Sunday.

26 - With a high/low of 59°/47°, this was the 93rd day this year with a mean temperature that was 10 degrees or more above average (today's departure from the norm was +19 degrees) - the most in the years since 1955.  The previous record holder was 1989.

31 - With a high/low of 48°/42° today was the 18th day this month with a mean temperature that was 10 degrees or more above average.  Thus ended the first December on record in which no day reported a below average mean temperature.

 

Chart - 2015 hottest and coldest
     

To read highlights from other years between 1970 and 2019 double click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 2015 - Not as Cold & Snowy as Last Year, But Sill Cold & Snowy

January 2015

Compared to last January, January 2015 wasn't as cold or snowy, but it was still colder and snowier than average, with a mean temperature 2.7 degrees below average, and snowfall more than double the month's average (16.9" vs. 7.0").  It was also the wettest January since 1999.  What follows are the four key stories of the month:

 

  • A typical January is five degrees colder than December, but this year it was 11 degrees colder as December was on the mild side (3.2 degrees above average).
  • There was a "January thaw" of just one day, on Jan. 5 when it was 56°/41°.  After that day the "warmest" temperature for the rest of the month was just 43°.  By contrast, January 2014 had a thaw of five days.
  • The rainstorm of Jan. 18, which drenched the area with 2.10", was the biggest rainstorm in January since 1999.
  • Of course, the biggest story of the month was the blizzard that fizzled during the last week of the month, giving the City "just" 9.8" rather than 24"-36" that had been predicted the day before the storm moved in.

 

Blizzard.of.2015

 

JANUARY 2015 vs. JANUARY 2014
      30-Year
  2015 2014 Average
Average High (+/-) 36.1 (-2.2°) 35.4 (-2.9°) 38.3
Warmest Reading 59° 58° 59°
       
Average Low (+/-) 23.6 (-3.3°) 21.8 (-5.1°) 26.9
Coldest Reading
       
Mean Temp (+/-) 29.9 (-2.7°) 28.6 (-4.0°) 32.6
Highs of 32 or Colder 13°
       
Precipitation 5.23" 2.79" 4.13"
Snowfall 16.9" 19.7" 7.0"

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