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February 2016

Greatest Rebounds in Temperature Following Sub-Zero Cold



This post was inspired by the winter of 2016, when the high reached 61° on Feb. 20, six days after a frigid low of -1° (the only sub-zero reading so far this century).  In researching other big rebounds following a sub-zero reading I uncovered one that was even more dramatic.  It occurred in February 1943 when the temperature soared to 63° just five days after a low of -8° (the first of five days in a row in the 60s).  However, winter 2016 can lay claim to a tie for the quickest rise to 50° after a sub-zero - two days later (it also happened in the winters of 1934 and 1918).  The chart below looks at the shortest and longest rebounds to temperatures in the 50s since 1900.



A History of Back-to-Back Snowstorms



A few days ago I wrote a post about the absence of any significant snowfalls in the week following major snowstorms (13 inches or more).  However, there have been snowstorms of lesser magnitude that were followed by another significant snowfall within ten days of each other.  The most impressive of these happened during the winters of 1926 and 1994.  On Feb. 4, 1926 a snowstorm of 10.4" was followed six days later by a snowfall of one foot, while in 1994 a snowfall of 9.2" on Feb. 8-9 was followed two days later by an ever bigger storm that dumped 12.8".  And there have been two instances of three significant snowfalls in a brief span dropping significant accumulations.  In the winter of 2005 18.7" of snow fell in a 10-day period and last winter 14.1" fell in the first five days of March.




Lastly, the shortest amount of time between two snowstorms of one foot or more is 18 days.  This took place in the winter of 1978 when 13.6" of snow fell on Jan. 19-20 and 17.7" fell on Feb. 6-7.















Suffering From Post-Snowstorm Depression?



After the anticipation and euphoria created by a big snowstorm fades, some of us suffer a letdown when the flakes stop piling up (somewhat like postpartum depression).  Drunk from experiencing the fury of Old Man Winter there's hope that another storm will barrel up the coast in a few days - but it's not likely to happen (despite the tendency of the news media to end a weather story by saying, "and another storm is on the horizon").   Looking at more than twenty major snowstorms that have buried New York City in the past 100 years (13 inches or more), no major snowfalls followed in the five days afterward.  The largest accumulation, 2.9", came five days after a 14.5" snowstorm in January 1914; and 2.4" fell four days after the blizzard of January 1996 (before changing to rain).


Then there's the matter of snow melt.  New York's biggest snowstorm, in February 2006, has the distinction of having the biggest warm-up in the aftermath of a storm, with three days seeing temperatures rise into the mid-to-upper 50s.  And after January 2016's 26.8" blizzard, the third and fourth days after the storm were completely above freezing.  (The biggest warm-ups after notable snowstorms have all occurred in the 21st century.)  Although there haven't been large accumulations of snow, there have been a number of significant rainstorms in post-storm periods.  The the biggest dumped 1.80" of rain five days after a January 1978 snowstorm (13.6"); 1.49" fell five days after the President's Day blizzard of 2003 (19.8"); and 0.95" fell after a 14-inch snowstorm in the first week of December 2003.




Finally, although we haven't been burdened by more heavy snowfall immediately following a snowstorm, cold weather in a storm's aftermath has posed a challenge for digging out of some snowstorms.  The coldest period after a snowstorm was the five days that followed the 18.1" snowstorm of Jan. 22-23, 1935, all which had highs colder than 32° (average high/low of these five days was 22/5).  Other snowstorms that had cold weather afterwards include the storms of January 2005 (average high/low of 28/13), December 1960 (30/17), March 1960 (32/19) and December 1947 (32/22).




If you enjoy reading about New York's snowstorms, here are other posts you should find interesting:  

We Are Living in Extraordinarily Snow Times

Recap of Each Winter's Snowstorms (1960-2016)

The Most Snowfall in 30 Days

Remembering New York's 'Snowmageddon' of Winter 2011

Too Cold for Snow? Temperatures During NYC Snowstorms

A History of Snowstorms That Fizzled Out