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January 2017

New York's Top 10 Weather Stories of 2016

 

A SNOWSTORM FOR THE AGES

The 27.5" of snow that piled up during a blizzard on 1/23 (0.2" of it fell late on 1/22) was the biggest snowfall on record, breaking the previous record set ten years earlier.  This Saturday blizzard followed New York's mildest November and December on record.  At the time of the storm the National Weather Service reported that 26.8" of snow had fallen, which put it 0.1" behind the 2006 storm, but, curiously, the amount was revised upward by 0.7" in late April.

 

2016 blizzard in nyc

 

FIRST BELOW-ZERO READING OF THE CENTURY

The low of -1° on Valentine's Day was the first below-zero reading since January 1994.  It was also the first sub-zero reading in February since 1963 and the latest date for such a frigid reading since 1934.  Later in the day a second record was set as the high of 15° was the coldest for the date.  (Two days later the high rebounded to 54°.)

 

One below zero

 

A TASTE OF SUMMER IN EARLY MARCH

On 3/9 the high soared to 77° followed by a high of 79° the next day, the earliest occurrences of such mild temperatures.  The high/low of 79/63  on 3/10 was 31 degrees above average and came less than four weeks after the mean temperature on 2/14 was 28 degrees below average.  (A month later the low on 4/5 fell to 26° - the coldest reading in April since 1995.)

 

A WET MEMORIAL DAY, BUT PARADES & PICNICS LARGELY UNAFFECTED

Moisture from tropical storm Bonnie produced a few periods of heavy rain before 9AM that amounted to 1.65", making this the second rainiest Memorial Day on record (the rainiest was in 1948, when 2.49" fell).  This amount was more than what fell in either March (1.17") or April (1.61").

 

A RARITY: LOW OF 79°, BUT HIGH FAILED TO REACH 90°

In the past 100 years there have been 32 days with lows of 79°; the average high on these days was 96°.  The low on 7/15 was also 79°.  However, with a high of 88°, it joined July 26, 1979 (high of 87°) as the only two days with lows of 79+ not to have a high in the 90s.

 

Rare

 

TWO FIVE-DAY HEAT WAVES

In the four-week period between 7/21 and 8/15 there were two five-day heat waves, the first time two heat waves of five days or more occurred in one summer since 2002 (when there were heat waves waves of eight and nine days). 

 

Relief

 

A WEEK'S WORTH OF RAIN IN JUST 5 MINUTES!

On July 30, 0.81" of rain poured down in a five-minute period between 8:39 and 8:44 PM - the greatest five-minute deluge in the years since 1970.  Additionally, three days during the last week of July each had an inch of rain that fell during strong thunderstorms. 

Five minutes

EXTREMES IN APRIL, AUGUST HUMIDITY

Five days in a row in August had dew points in the 70s (during every hour of the day).  This was four months after a two-week period with extremely low humidity (between 10% and 20% during the afternoon hours).

 

UNSEASONABLY WARM TEMPERATURES IN MID-SEPTEMBER & MID-OCTOBER

The high of 90° on 9/14 was the latest 90-degree reading since 1995.  Then a month later, for just the third time in the past 100 years, there were three days in a row with highs in the 80s after 10/15.

 

RAINIEST DAY OF THE YEAR

The 2.20" of rain that poured down on 11/29 (in a 12-hour period) was a record for the date and the greatest daily rainfall in nearly two years (since Dec. 9, 2014).  Furthermore, this became the rainiest day on record for any of the last ten days of November.

 

Rain_rain_rain

 

 

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2017 Weather Highlights in New York

 

2017

 

JANUARY

4 - Today saw the end of the second 14-day streak of above-average temperatures in the past 30 days.  However, unlike the first one, this streak was eight degrees above average (high/low of 47°/36°) while the one from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8 was +4 degrees (high/low of 51°/41°).   

7 - It was a very wintry day as snow fell from 10 AM to 8 PM, accumulating 5.1", and the temperature hovered around 20°.

12 - The temperature rose into the 60s, topping out at 66°, a record for the date (the forecast high was in the upper 50s).  This was the warmest reading in January in ten years.  Temperatures were in the 60s from noon until 1 AM; at 10 PM it was still 64°.  Last year the first 60-degree reading didn't occur until 2/20, and the year before that it happened on 3/26.  (Typically, the "first 60" occurs at the beginning of February.) 

23-24 - A nor'easter brought winds that gusted between 33-47 mph throughout Jan. 23, but steady, wind-lashed rain didn't move in until late in the afternoon on that day.  By midnight 1.16" had fallen - and an additional 1.18" fell the next day.  It was a cold rain, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s; the high winds produced wind chills in the 20s.  This storm struck on the one-year anniversary of the blizzard that produced New York's greatest snowfall of all time (27.5").  Interestingly, the 2.33" of rain that fell from this year's storm was 0.01" more than the amount of liquid precipitation from last year's blizzard. 

31 - Light snow fell between 10 AM and 2 PM, amounting to 1.0" - the first snowfall of an inch or more on this date since 1949.  And with a high/low of 34°/26°, this was the first colder than average day since 1/14; the low was the coldest since 1/10.  During those sixteen days temperatures were nine degrees above average.  

 

FEBRUARY

9 - The day after a record high of 62°, winter returned with unprecedented vengeance as 9.4" of heavy snow fell during the morning (mostly between 6 AM and noon), and temperatures were in the upper 20s.  Snow fell at a rate of an inch or more/hour, reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for six consecutive hours.  By midnight temperatures had fallen to the upper teens.  Snowfall was in the 12"-15" range over most of Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Connecticut.  This drastic change in conditions exceeded that of Feb. 1-2, 2014 when eight inches of snow fell the day after a high of 56°.

20 - This was the end of a sunny and mild President's Day weekend, which was the mildest on record (pushing ahead of 1994's).  The average high of 61° during the three days was 19 degrees above average.  With a high of 55°, today was the coolest of the three days (Saturday had a high of 63°, Sunday's was 65°).  This would have made for a nice Easter weekend.  This was in stark contrast to the previous two President Day weekends which were the second (2016) and third (2015) coldest on record.

24 - Under sunny skies the temperature rose to 70°, the earliest 70-degree reading in ten years (and one month earlier than the average date of the first 70 of the year).  Although this wasn't a record, the morning low of 58° was.  The day's mean temperature was 26 degrees above average and came five days after a high/low of 65/53, which was 23 degrees above average.  

 

MARCH

1 - For the second time this week the high reached 70°.  However, unlike the previous time, which featured sunny skies, today was overcast with a number of showers.  This was the first March since 1972 to have its mildest reading occur on the first day of the month. 

4 - Although cold days in March aren't unusual, today's high/low of 30°/17° (average is 46°/32°) was a shock since it came after the mildest February on record.  After dark, wind chills dropped to around 10°.  It hadn't been this cold since Jan. 9 (high/low of 23°/14°).

5 - The humidity dropped to 12% during mid-afternoon, the lowest since last April, when it was 9% on 4/20.  Besides the dry conditions the day's low of 14° tied Jan. 9 as the coldest reading of the winter.  

10 - For the first time since 1934 more than an inch of snow fell on this date.  2.1" fell between 8 AM and noon.  This was a day after the temperature reached 61° in the late afternoon, which is similar to what happened on Feb. 9 when 9.4" of snow fell the day after the high was 62°. 

11 - One week after winter-like cold (high/low of 30°/19°), today was a bit colder, with a high/low of 29°/17° (18 degrees below average).  This was the third day this month with a low in the teens, which is more than December, January or February had (each had two such days).

14 - A much-touted blizzard was a bust as snow that began in the wee hours of the morning changed over to sleet, greatly reducing the 12-18" that had been predicted.  (This brought to mind the blizzard that fizzled in late January 2015 and resulted in an apology from the National Weather Service to the mayor because of the advanced closings that took place.)  Although there was no blockbuster snowfall today, the 7.6" that fell set a record for the date as well as the date's precipitation record (1.97", nearly twice as much as the previous record).

15 - Today's high was only 26°, the coldest high temperature since Jan. 9.  This tied the 1932 record for the coldest high temperature for the date and was the fifth day this month with a high temperature of 32° or colder, all of which occurred in the past twelve days.  Winds gusted between 25-35 mph, producing wind chills in the single digits.

16 - Today was 10 degrees colder than average and was the twentieth day of the past twenty-seven that were either 10 degrees+ colder or 10 degrees+ milder than average (eleven of these days were 15 degrees+ colder/milder).  Since eight were below average and twelve above average they somewhat cancelled each other out, so the entire period was a somewhat deceptive 2.5 degrees above average.

31 - It was a topsy-turvy March, which came in like a lamb (70° on 3/1) and went out like a lion as today featured an all-day rain (1.51", which came down especially hard after 6 PM) and temperatures that were well below average (high/low of 43°/37°).

 

APRIL

3 - Temperatures were nearly 20 degrees milder than last season's Mets home opener and skies were brighter (but clouds increased later in the game).  This was the second day in a row with a high in the low 60s, the first time since March 1-2 to have back-to-back highs of 60° or warmer.  And best of all, the Mets shut out the Braves 6-0 in a game that went scoreless until the bottom of the 7th inning. 

10 - For the first time since 1988 the Yankees played their home opener in 70-degree weather.  Under mostly sunny skies the temperature rose to 74°.  And the cherry on top was a victory over Tampa Bay, by a score of 8-1.

16 - This was just the seventh Easter Sunday to be in the 80s (going back to 1870), and with a high of 87° it became the second warmest Easter Sunday on record (behind 1976's astounding 96°).  Today was also the warmest reading in April since 2012 when a high of 88° occurred, also on 4/16. Today's high came five days after the year's first 80-degree reading.

19 - Under overcast skies today's high was 54°, which was eighteen degrees chillier than the average high of the previous ten days.  Today's high was just one degree milder than the average low of the previous ten days.

29 - For the second day in a row the high reached 85°.  And although 4/16 had the warmest reading of the month (87°), today had the warmest mean temperature as the low of 64° was five degrees warmer than 4/16's.

 

MAY

5 - Torrential rain poured down in the middle of the day, with 2.72" falling between 11 AM and 2 PM.  Overall, 3.02" fell during the course of the storm, easily breaking the old record for the date, 1922's 1.24".  This was the biggest rainfall in three years (since 4.97" of rain fell on April 30, 2014) and it ranks as the fifth biggest daily May rainfall (tied with May 8, 2013).

13 - It was a dreary, raw and windy day with an all-day rain that amounted to 1.61" (just 0.05" less than the record for the date).  Morning and afternoon temperatures hovered around 50° and then fell into the 40s after dark.

17-19 - Temperatures rose into the 90s for three days in a row (90°-92°-91°), making this the first three-day heat wave in May since 2001.  The high on the 18th was a record.  Additionally, the low of 75° on that day was a also a record, and the second warmest low temperature ever recorded in the month of May (warmest is 76° on May 31, 1987).  Cooler, more seasonable air moved in after 8 PM on the 19th and by midnight the temperature had fallen to 66°, on the way down to 56°.  Then the next six days would have high temperatures cooler than 70°.  (It would be three weeks before a temperature of 80° or warmer was reached.)

20 - Today's high of 65° was 26 degrees cooler than yesterday, the biggest drop in temperature following a day in the 90s since 1988 (when the high of 63° on 6/2 was 27 degrees cooler than the day before).

25 - Following last week's early heat wave, today and the previous five days all had highs cooler than 70°.  Today, with steady light rain and drizzle, was the coolest day of them all, with a high of just 59°.

26 - For the fourth day in a row the low temperature was 56°, which was at the seasonal average.

29 - Overcast skies and light rain from 5 AM until noon kept temperatures stuck in the upper 50s for much of the day (the official high, 61°, occurred in the hours before sunrise).  This was the chilliest Memorial Day since 2003, when the high was 56°.

 

JUNE

6 - Measurable rain fell for the eighth day of the last nine, but the total amount was unimpressive - just 0.41" (by comparison, the deluge of May 5 saw 2.72" fall in three hours).  Today's rainfall was 0.06", which fell throughout the day.  Temperatures during these nine days were close to five degrees below average.

9 - For the first time since 5/19 (when the high reached 91°), the temperature reached 80°.  The last time more days passed without any readings of 80°+ after a 90-degree reading was in 2009 (a streak of 21 days).

11 - Today had the year's fourth day in the 90s, the most by this date since 2008.  This became the twenty-first year (since 1872) to have four 90-degree days by this date (about once every seven years).

12 - Today's high of 93° tied 1973 and 1933 for the record high, but it had the warmest mean temperature of the three days: 84.5° (93/76) versus 82.5° in '73 (93/72) and 80.0° in '33 (93/67).  This was also the fifth 90-degree day of the year, the most at this point in the year since 2000 (when there six by 6/11).

13 - Today was  the third in a row with temperatures in the 90s, with today being the hottest (high/low of 94°/77°).  However, compared to LaGuardia and Newark Airports, with their respective highs of 101° and 99°, Central Park was in a relative comfort zone.  With today's heat, this became the first year since 1976 to have its first 90-degree days come in back-to-back heat waves (the first heat wave was May 17-19).  Finally, yesterday's and today's lows of 76° and 77° were the first that were 75+ on these dates in the 1970-2019 period.

17 - The 1.39" of rain that fell between 11:30 AM and 2 PM was nearly triple the amount that had fallen so far this month (0.48"), and nearly equal to the amount that fell since May 23 (1.42"). 

18 - It was a sultry Father's Day, with the dew point in the low 70s throughout the day, peaking at 74° early in the afternoon.  Combined with a high of 85°, the heat index was in the low 90s.

19 - For the second day in a row tropical conditions prevailed.  With a high of 88° and dew points in the low 70s, the heat index reached 96°.  The heat broke late in the afternoon when strong thunderstorms moved through, dumping 1.28" of rain, mostly between 4:30 and 6:30 PM.  And at 7 PM, for the first time since daybreak on the 18th, the dew point fell below 70°. 

23 - For the fourth day in a row the high was 83°, a few degrees above average.  Today's high was noteworthy since the day's low was an uncomfortable 76°; a low that warm is usually a springboard for a high in the 90s (or at least in the upper 80s).  Mostly overcast skies and high humidity (dew points were in the 70s all day, peaking at 75° between 9-10 PM) is what kept the temperature from rising very much.  

24 - This was the third day since 6/17 to have more than an inch of rain fall from storms that lasted approximately two hours.  Each storm, however, came at a different time of day.  Today's, which produced 1.11", came at daybreak; the storm on 6/19 came at the beginning of the evening rush hour (1.28" fell); and the storm on the 17th (which dumped 1.39") was during lunchtime/early afternoon.  Additionally, today's high of 84° followed four days in a row that had highs of 83°.  

 

JULY

7 - Today had the fourth short-duration (2-3 hours) downpour of one-inch+ in the past three weeks.  The 1.49" that fell this morning, from about 10:15 until noon, was the most of these four rainstorms.  (1.79" fell in total.)

13 - With a high of 90°, today had the first 90-degree reading on this date in 20 years.  By contrast, the previous 20-year period (1978-1997) had ten years with highs in the 90s.

22 - This was the last day of the third heat wave of the year (today's high was 92°).  This one lasted four days, one day longer than the heat waves in May and June.  After today the rest of the month would be four degrees cooler than average.  

 

AUGUST

1 - Today's high was 92° and was the year's next-to-last day with a high in the 90s; however, the last reading in the 90s wouldn't be for another eight weeks (on 9/24). 

29 - It was a dreary, cool and damp day, with a high/low of only 68°/61°.  The day's high, which was reached shortly before noon, was the first high cooler than 70° in August in seven years.  It was also the coolest day since 6/8 (based on mean temperature).  

 

SEPTEMBER

1 - This morning's low of 55° was the first reading below 60° since 6/9, and was the chilliest reading on this date since 1975.  And with a high of 71°, the day's mean temperature of 62.5° was the coolest on 9/1 since 2002, when the high/low was 65°/59° (a mean of 62.0°).

2 - Today's cool high/low of 68°/54° and yesterday's 71°/55° produced the chilliest first two days of September on record (going back to 1900).  The previous chilliest Sept. 1-2 was in 1912.

4 - It was a beautiful Labor Day, with mostly clear skies and seasonable temperatures.  This was in contrast to Saturday and Sunday, which were mostly overcast and cool, with high temperatures in the upper 60s.

24 - Under clear skies the temperature reached 91°, the first 90-degree reading since 8/1, and the latest date for a 90-degree high since 1970, when there were highs in the 90s on 9/25 and 9/26. This was a record for the date and the first time the temperature rose in to the 90s on 9/24 (however, there would be a high of 93 on 10/2 in 2019).   Today was also the twelfth day in a row with above average temperatures.

 

OCTOBER

8 - Today became the latest date for a low in the 70s, besting the previous record, set in 2005, by one day.  However, because of clouds and high humidity the temperature never left the 70s all day (and the dew point was in the 70s from 8 AM onward).  Additionally, rain showers that fell from 8 AM until noon ended the City's 18-day streak with no measurable rain - the longest such streak in nearly two-and-a-half years.  By coincidence, the 0.22" of rain that fell today was the same amount that fell on the previous day with rain (on 9/19). 

9 - The day after the latest date for a low in the 70s happened, that record was broken as today's low was 71°.  And like yesterday, the high got no higher than 77° as skies were overcast and dew points were in the muggy 70s throughout the day, very rare in the month of October. 

11 - This was the seventh day in a row with a mean temperature ten degrees or more above average, the longest such streak in October since 2007, when there were two seven-day streaks.  (Since 1980 only one October has had a longer streak - 10 days in October 1990).  During these seven days the average high/low was 80°/67° - 14 degrees above average.  Today, with a high/low of 77°/60°, was the coolest of the seven days. 

16 - The temperature fell into the 40s for the first time this fall (at around 11 PM), the latest date since 2005 (when it occurred on 10/20, the latest date on record).  This came one week after the latest date for a low in the 70s was posted (a mark that was bested one year later).

20 - Humidity levels dropped below 20% during the first half of the afternoon, a rarity in October, which is the month least likely to experience humidity below 25%.

24 - Today's forecast warned of an intense rainstorm expected to produce rainfall comparable to the amount that had fallen since Sept. 1 (2.70"), but just 0.20" was measured.  Despite showers and fog the temperature rose to 73°, making this the 19th day this month with a high in the 70s - the second most 70-degree days on record for the month of October (Oct. 1947 had 23).  Meanwhile, the day's low of 67° was a record for the date, five degrees warmer than the date's average high, and the month's eleventh low in the 60s - only October 1879 and 2007  reported more - 13 and 12, respectively (Oct. 2017 would tie 2007 on 10/29; and Oct. 2021 would tie 1879's number). 

29 -On the five-year anniversary of superstorm Sandy, an intense nor'easter lashed the area with gusty winds and an all-day rain that amounted to 3.03".  This was more rain than fell in the past 60 days, and the biggest rainstorm of the year, passing the rainstorm of 5/2 by 0.01".  Despite the rain and wind temperatures were on the mild side, with a high/low of 68°/60°, which was 11 degrees above average. 

31 - As the warmest October on record came to a close today had the chilliest high temperature of the month.  But at 57° it was only two degrees chillier than average.  And it was a beautiful day with clear skies. 

 

NOVEMBER

3 - With a high/low of 74°/51° today was the 22nd day since Sept. 21 with a mean temperature 10+ degrees above average (50% of the days in the period).  During this time temperatures were nearly eight degrees above average.

5 - The NYC Marathon was run in gray conditions with fog and mist moving in shortly before noon.  Temperatures held steady in the upper 50s throughout the race and afternoon humidity was above 90%.  And although it was just 0.01", this was the first measurable rain to fall during the Marathon in twenty years.

10 - Arctic air swept in overnight and the temperature fell steadily all day, dropping from 51° shortly after midnight to 25° nearly twenty-four hours later.  The low was a record for the date (the previous record was set in 1914) and was the earliest occurrence of a 25° reading since 1976, when it occurred one day earlier.  (The average date for the first 25° reading is 12/6.)

11 - The morning low of 24° was a record and followed yesterday's record. This was the first time since August 1994 that back-to-back record lows were set.

 

DECEMBER

9 - The first measurable snowfall of the season accumulated 4.6" between 10 AM and 11 PM.  It was the biggest first snowfall since 2012 when 4.7" fell on Nov. 6-7.  Once the snow began falling the temperature hovered between 31° and 32° for the rest of the day.  And although Nov. 11 had a colder mean temperature (high/low of 38°/24°), today's high of 35° was the coldest since March 15.

13 - With a high/low of 31°/20°, today had the winter's first high of 32° or colder, five days earlier than average (based on the years since 1980).  Last year it occurred on 12/16 and on 1/5 the previous winter.  At daybreak the wind chill fell into the single digits as winds gusted close to 40 mph.

15 - With a high/low of 28°/20° today was the third day in a row with a high of 32° or colder, the longest such streak in December in seven years.  And during the afternoon/early evening 1.2" of snow fell, the third day in the past seven with a snowfall of an inch or more (joining 4.6" that fell on 12/9 and 1.2" on 12/14). 

28 - Today's high/low of 18°/11° made this the coldest day of the year (topping Jan. 9, which had a high/low of 23°/14°) and the coldest day in nearly two years - since Valentine's Day 2016, which had a frigid high/low of 15°/-1°.  The last time the high was this cold in December was in 1989.

31 - The coldest reading of the year occurred tonight when the temperature dropped to 9° shortly before midnight (wind chill was -5°).  This made it the second coldest reading to occur for the ball-drop at Times Square, besting the previous second coldest in 1962 by two degrees (2017 was also the 100-year anniversary of the coldest ball-drop reading).  Today, with a high/low of 20°/9°, was the sixth day in a row with a high colder than 32° and the fifth in a row colder than 25°.  The last time New York experienced this many consecutive days with highs of 25° or colder was in January 2004.

 

Chart - 2017 hottest and coldest

 

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

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December 2016 Weather Recap - The Streak Continues ...

1christmas 2016After last year's extraordinarily mild December, the warmest on record by a wide margin (13.3 degrees above average), December 2016 fell back to earth, 0.8 degrees above average.  Through 12/21 the month was two degrees colder than average, but then the jet stream reversed itself and temperatures were seven degrees above average during the last ten days of the month, pushing the month into the above-average column - the eighteenth month in a row with above average temperatures.  With every month of 2016 experiencing above average temperatures, it was no surprise that the year was one of the mildest on record, ranking fourth (joining 2015, 2012 and 2010 in the top 10).  Here are a few other observations:

 

  • Wintry conditions took hold from 12/9-12/20, with temperatures five degrees below average.  This included the winter's first measurable snowfall (0.4" during the evening of 12/11) and first snowfall of one-inch or more (2.8" during the evening of 12/17).  Two days had highs below freezing (and four other days had highs between 33° and 35°).  And the low of 17° on 12/16 was the coldest reading in December in seven years.  That day's high/low of 27/17 made it one of the five coldest days of the entire year.  And while last December was the first to have no reading of 32° or colder, this December had 11 such days (which is fairly typical).

 

First snow

 

  • Heading into the last week of the month it looked like this might be the first December since 2005 to have no temperatures in the 60s, but then the high reached 60° on 12/27.
  • After having the wettest November in ten years (5.41"), December reversed course and was the driest in ten years (2.89").  Despite this below average amount measurable precipitation fell on twelve days.  For the second year in a row the year's total precipitation was well below average (42.17" vs. the average of 49.94"; 2015 had 1.20" less precipitation than this year).  The last time there were comparable back-to-back dry years was in 1985 and 1986.

 

Warmest years in new york

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