February 2015 - One of New York's Coldest Months on Record
We Are Living In Extraordinarily Snowy Times

Winter 2015 Recap - Global Warming Takes a Holiday



The winter of 2015 started off  mild, but then cold weather established itself in the second week of January and didn't loosen its grip.  (This analysis is based on meteorological winter, which begins on Dec. 1 and ends on Feb. 28.)  Despite the relatively mild temperatures of December (three degrees above average), this was the coldest winter since 2003, as January was 2.7 degrees below average and February 11.4 below average.  This frigid January and February combo was the coldest since the winter of 1920 - and the tenth coldest overall (eight of the top 10 occurred more than 100 years ago).  February was the coldest since 1934, and the tenth coldest of any month.


The winter had no sub-zero days but there were nine days with lows in the single digits, the most since 1994 (which was also the last winter to have a sub-zero reading).  Of course, there were a number of days in which with wind chills were in the -5° to -15° range.  


Last winter, also a harsh one, was characterized by a record amount of snow in a 30-day period (42 inches).  This winter was characterized by persistent cold, which resulted in a new record for most consecutive days in which the temperature never rose above 43°.  The streak began on Jan. 6 and continued for the rest of the winter, a period of nearly eight weeks (and it continued into the first week of March).  During these days the mean temperature was nearly eight degrees colder than average.




In January and February, a series of snowstorms were forecast that didn't live up to their potential, or ended up bypassing us (burying Boston instead).  However, even with these fizzled snowstorms Jan/Feb picked up a healthy 30.5" of snow, which was well above the average of 16.2".  There was a snow cover of two inches or more for the last five weeks of the winter. 




In total, there were nine snowfalls of an inch or more (and one other that amounted to 0.9").  The largest accumulation came from the snowstorm of Jan. 26-27, which brought 9.8".  This storm had originally been forecast to dump 24"-36" on the City.  In February there were three with accumulations of between three and four inches.  


Twice this winter I appeared on PIX-11's 5 o'clock newscast to comment on the frigid conditions.


  Mean Temperature
Winter Jan Feb Jan/Feb
1875 23.8 25.2 24.5
1904 25.3 25.4 25.3
1918 21.7 30.4 25.8
1920 23.4 28.5 25.9
1888 23.0 29.3 26.0
1912 23.7 28.8 26.2
1885 29.4 22.7 26.2
1893 23.7 29.4 26.4
1881 24.7 28.7 26.6
2015 29.9 23.9 27.1
Source: NWS New York, NY  


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Ken K. in NJ

Thanks for this latest research. Terrific discovery that this was the coldest Jan/Feb since 1920. That's even more impressive than it being the coldest February since 1934.

Looks like we may finally get above 43 degrees tomorrow, but if enough cold air lingers, maybe not. After that it looks like we're good for several more days. History in the making!

Thanks again.



Thank you for posting! This ain't a bad read. During the winter of 2015, I was a high school student at the time, and for six Mondays in a row, I had a delayed opening on January twelfth and a class cancellation on all of the five Mondays that followed (through 2/16) for either holiday or weather related reasons. the experience felt like a three day weekend was the temporary new normal.

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