Remembering New York's Top Weather Stories of 2019
January 2020 Weather Recap: Mild, Dry, Largely Uneventful

2020's Weather Highlights

 Happy new year 2020



1 - It was a raw and overcast first day of the year with the mercury mostly stuck at a seasonably cold 38° during the daylight hours.  This was similar to conditions two days ago, except that day had rain. 

8 - This was the last day of an 18-day streak with above average temperatures (based on mean temperature).  It was the longest such streak since last winter, which was of similar length during practically the same date range (12/20-1/6).  And the average high/low of the two streaks was nearly identical: 47°/37° this winter vs. 48°/37° last winter.  The mildest reading of this recent streak was 57°, the coldest was 28°, which occurred tonight as midnight approached.

9 - With a high/low of 34°/23°, three degrees below average, this was the only day between Dec. 22 and Jan. 16 that was colder than average.  The other 25 days were ten degrees above average (high/low of 50°/37°).

11 - The mercury soared to 69°, easily breaking the previous record from 1975 by six degrees.  Today's high was twice as warm as two days ago (34°) and was the warmest reading in January since a high of 72° on Jan. 6, 2007 (like today, it was also a Saturday).  Today's reading was 31 degrees above average, the most above average for a daily high since Feb. 21, 2018's high of 78°, 35 degrees above average.  Today's high/low of 69°/51° was more typical of the temperature split on May 5.  Lastly, after rising to 60° at around 9:00 AM the temperature stayed in the 60s for the rest of the day.

12 - It was a beautiful May weekend in January as today's record high of 68° followed yesterday's record-setting 69°.  Today was the better of the two days because skies turned clear by mid-morning  while yesterday was a mix of dim sun and light overcast.  This was just the third time in January that Central Park reported back-to-back highs of 65°+.  (And January 1932 is the only case of three consecutive days.)

18 - One week after a record-setting high of 69°, today had quintessentially wintry conditions as a steady light snow fell during the afternoon, amounting to 2.1"; this was seven weeks after the winter's previous biggest snowfall of 1.6".  The temperature was in the 20s during the daytime hours but rose above freezing after 6:00 PM (peaking at 37° as midnight approached), changing the snow to sleet and then rain for a few hours.  This was the last measurable snowfall of the winter, the earliest date on record (one day earlier than the previous latest date, in 2002).

20 - With a high/low of 31°/20°, today was just the second day this winter with a high of 32° or colder.  It came nearly five weeks after the first such occurrence, on 12/19 (when the high/low was 25°/16°).  For comparison purposes, a typical year has nine days with highs this cold by 1/20.  Since 1980 four winters had just one day with a high of 32° or colder by this date, most recently in 2013. (and like this winter, there was one winter with two). 



7 - The previous record high for this date, 54° in 1938, was the coolest reading to be a record, but it was broken today during lunchtime; however, at 56° it was still the coolest reading to be a record.  And one of just four record highs to be in the 50s; the others are: Jan. 16 (58°); Feb. 2 (59°); and Dec. 19 (58°).  A vigorous cold front moved thru early in the afternoon, dropping the temperature to 33° by midnight (a peak wind gust of 46 mph was clocked at dusk in Central Park).  This was the coldest reading so far this month, making it just the second February on record to have no lows of 32° or colder in the first week (the other occurrence was in 1877).  

15 - This morning's low of 14° was the coldest reading of the winter, passing the low of 16° back on Dec. 19.  However, the day with the winter's coldest daily mean temperature continued to be 12/19 as today's was two degrees warmer (high/low of 25°/16° vs. 31°/14°).  Only the winters of1932, 1975 and 2002 have had a milder reading for their coldest temperature (four other winters have had 14° as their coldest reading).

24 - This was the fourth day in a row with very low humidity levels during the afternoon, i.e., in the 15%-19% range for a number of hours each day.  The last time there was such an extended number of days with such low humidity in February was in 2004 (Feb. 25-March 1).  Today's high of 62° was the mildest of the month.



1 - Today's low was 25°, the coldest reading of March and the last reading of 32° or colder this winter (average date of the last freezing or colder temperature is 3/31).  A typical March has twelve days with lows this cold.  Only March 1942 had fewer days (i.e., zero).

9 - After getting very close on 1/11 (high of 69°), today had the year's first high in the 70s.  Under sunny skies the mercury rose to 72° (twenty-five degrees above average).  This was two weeks ahead of schedule and the warmest reading since mid-October.  Today's low of 47° was what the typical high should be on this date.

20 - After a foggy start the sun broke through during the afternoon and the temperature jumped from the mid-50s at noon to 77° shortly before 5:30 (26 degrees above average).  The day's 30-degree jump in temperature from the morning low of 47° at daybreak was the biggest rise in temperature since a 32-degree rise on May 2, 2018 (from 48° to 80°).  The temperature stayed in the 70s until after 11 PM, then a cold front moved through overnight and the mercury fell to 42° by 9:00 AM on 3/21.  The City's next reading in the 70s wouldn't occur until May 2.  



7 - Today's high of 68° was the mildest reading of the month.  This became the first April since 1940 to have no readings in the 70s or warmer.  (Since 2000 the average warmest reading in April has been 85°.)

13 - Nearly two inches of rain fell from an intense storm system that had produced deadly tornadoes in the Southeast the day before.  The 1.92" of rain that was measured was a record for the date, easily breaking the old record from 100 years ago.  Besides rain (which fell largely between 1AM-6PM) gale force winds raked the area, gusting close to 40 mph in Central Park and between 50-60 mph in many suburbs.  Temperatures rose into the 60s as the storm departed in the early evening, and the day's high (67°) was reached after dark.   



1 - Although today' high/low of 66°/53° was just one degree above average this broke a 16-day streak with below average mean temperatures.  The average high/low during this streak was 56°/42°, seven degrees below average.  This was the longest below average streak since March 2018, when there was a streak of 22 days. 

2 - Usually a high of 73° in early May doesn't warrant attention, but this year it did because this was the first reading in the 70s in more than six weeks (since 3/20).  

3 - Under sunny skies, today reported the year's first reading in the 80s (80°).  This was the first year since 2014 to have its first 80 in May rather than in April (average date of the first 80°+ reading is 4/22).  The last time the temperature was this warm was on 10/2 last year when the mercury soared to 93°.

7 - Today was the the second day of the past three to have humidity that dropped to 16% during the afternoon.  The last time humidity was this low in May was in 2007.  And back then it also happened on two days (5/3 and 5/13).

8 - A rare springtime incursion of Arctic air moved through during the afternoon and by midnight the mercury had fallen to 36°.  This was a record for the date, the first May reading in the 30s since 1978 (38° on 5/1), and the coldest reading in May since 1966 (36° on 5/10).  Light rain fell during the PM hours, amounting to 0.45".  (It should be noted that the reading of 36° credited to today actually occurred shortly before 1 AM Daylight Saving Time on 5/9, but the NWS uses Standard Time year-round for its records.)

9 - This morning's record low of 34° (with wind chill in the mid-20s) was Central Park's coldest reading in May since 1891.  And snow flurries that fell before daybreak tied May 9, 1977 as the latest date for a trace of snow.  This morning's reading was colder than April's coldest reading by two degrees.

10 - For the third year in a row Mother's Day had well below average temperatures.  This year, the low of 39° was the chilliest reading on Mother's Day since 1977 (low of 38°).  However, unlike the previous two years skies were clear and the temperature rose to 64°.  Although this was five degrees cooler than average, last year's afternoon temperatures were only in the mid-40s, and the year before that they were in the mid-50s. 

12 - Last week, on 5/5 and 5/7, the humidity in Central Park dropped to 16%, which was the lowest in May since 2007.  This afternoon it dropped to 15%, which was the lowest reported in May this century (topped two years later when 13% humidity was reported on 5/9).  Despite sunny skies it was a chilly day, with a high of 59°.

23 - Much of today's 0.65" rainfall, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, poured down between 11 AM and noon.  Up until today less than an inch of rain had fallen this month (0.95").  Today's rain was 0.03" shy of the most to fall on the Saturday of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, which was in 1982.

30 - Today and yesterday both had a high/low of 81°/67° (eight degrees above average).  But whereas yesterday was on the sticky side, with afternoon dew points in the upper 60s, today was noticeably more comfortable, with dew points in the afternoon down into the upper 40s.  And it also had a lot more sunshine.  Yesterday and today were also the first back-to-back days with highs in the 80s, about three weeks later than usual, and the latest since 2013.



6 - Warm and uncomfortably humid with a high of 86°; the dew point was in the 68°-70° range all morning thru mid-afternoon. This was the first reading of 85° or warmer this year, the latest date for this occurrence since 2008 (when it happened on 6/7).  Today also had the year's first low of 70°+, which was just a few days later than the average date.  The humidity dropped sharply after a mid-afternoon shower.  Meanwhile, Newark and LaGuardia airports had their first readings in the 90s.

22 - Today's high of 90° was the first reading of 90+ this year.  And although it was about four weeks later than the average date of the first 90+ (5/28), it came a week earlier than last year.  Skies were partly cloudy and it was on the humid side.

27 - A 15-day streak with no measurable rain ended today when 0.09" of rain fell in the early afternoon.  (This was the longest dry streak since one of 18 days in the fall of 2017.)  And a 7-day streak with highs of 85° or warmer (the longest such streak since a 10-day streak in June 2010) ended when the high, due to clouds and showers, got no higher than 80°.  Despite the slightly cooler temperatures the dew point in the middle of the afternoon was an uncomfortable 73°.



1 - This morning's low of 67° would be the coolest reading of July, setting a new record for mildest "coolest" reading in any month (breaking the previous record of 66° in July 2008).  It would also be the only day this month with a low that was below average (and it was just one degree cooler than average). 

6 - The mercury soared to 96°, the hottest reading of the year.  Fortunately, the humidity was very low (30-35%).  Relief arrived late in the afternoon when strong thunderstorms dropped a little more than a half inch of rain, mostly between 4-5 PM, cooling the temperature to 70°.

10 - Tropical storm Fay zipped from North Carolina to the Jersey Shore, soaking Central Park with 2.54" of rain, with most of it pouring down between 1:30-4:30 PM.  This amount was 1) a record for the date; the greatest one-day rainfall since May 2018; and 3) the first measurable rain on this date since 2003.  The temperature and dew point were both in the 70s all day, giving the air a pronounced tropical feel.  (With a high of 77°, a streak of 21 days with highs of 80° or warmer was snapped, the longest such streak in four summers.)   This was the fourth "F"-named tropical system to affect NYC since 1970, but it was the only one that didn't strike in September. 

11 - Following yesterday oppressive conditions, today was even more uncomfortable as afternoon dew points rose from low 70s to 74°-77°.  Additionally, today's afternoon air temperature was 8-10 degrees warmer (low 80s vs. mid-70s).  Two heavy downpours in mid-afternoon and evening produced 0.75" of rain, one day after 2.54" poured down from tropical storm Fay. 

22 - Today was very similar to last year as it was the fifth day in a row with a high in the 90s (it reached 92° today) and then a severe thunderstorm dumped 1.23" of rain between 7-8 PM.  The night's rain brought July's rainfall to 5.53", making it the wettest month of the year (so far).  This was the third year in a row in which an inch or more of rain was measured on this date.

24 - Due to nationwide closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mets didn't play their home opener until today.  And although it was played in mid-summer, it didn't have the warmest reading of any home opener.  Under mostly cloudy skies, the temperature during the game was in the the upper 70s (average high is 85°), which was cooler than home openers in 1977 (90°), 1991 (90°) and 1998 (86°); however, it was on the humid side, with dew points hovering around 70°. 

31 - A new record for July was established this morning when the day's low temperature of 70° was the 26th day this month with a low of 70° or warmer, breaking the previous record from ten years ago.  However, for a while the record seemed like it might be in jeopardy when the temperature dropped from 74° to 70° during heavy rain showers after 1 AM.



4 - Four weeks after the City was lashed by tropical storm Fay, an intense tropical storm, Isaias, blew through the area today, packing quite a punch.  Because the center of the storm moved further inland than anticipated, the City was spared heavy rain, but winds gusted to 48 mph in Central Park and 78 mph at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan (and 68, 69 and 70 mph at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports, respectively).  While just 0.55" of rain fell from daybreak thru lunchtime in Central Park (much of it between 11AM-noon), four inches+ flooded eastern Pennsylvania.  Although it wasn't associated with Isaias, a severe thunderstorm late last night dumped practically the same amount of rain in about 30 minutes as fell this morning.

7 - Rain that began around daybreak cooled the temperature to below 70° for the first time since July 17.  This 20-day streak was the fourth longest of its kind, just two days shy of the record set in the summers of 1980 and 2010 (and a streak of 21 days occurred in 1988).  The mercury sunk to 66°, which was the coolest reading since a low of 65° on June 29. (The day's forecast low had been for the low 70s.)

12 - Very tropical conditions brought heat (high of 90°), stifling humidity (the dew point reached 77°, producing a heat index around 100°), and then a severe thunderstorm during the late afternoon.  The 1.76" of rain that poured down (almost all between 4-5 PM) was more than triple the 0.55" that fell last week from tropical storm Isaias.  



10 - Today's high of 82° was the last reading of 80+ this year.  Among summers with 20 or more days of 90+ (this summer had twenty such days) this is the earliest date for the last 80+; the usual date is Oct. 4.   (Among all summers the earliest date for the last 80+ high was in 1902 on 9/2.)  Two other summers that reported their last reading of 80°+ few days later than this year's had considerably more days in the 90s : 1966, which had 37 hot days, had its last 80+ on 9/11, and 1999, which had 27 hot days, had its last 80+ on 9/15.

21 - The morning low of 49° was the first temperature chillier than 50° in September in seven years, and the earliest date for this occurrence since 1993 (when it was on 9/20).  Today's low came after lows of 50° the previous two days.  (Since 2000 the average date for the first low in the 40s has been 10/5.)

25 - For the past week a strong high pressure system was anchored over the Northeast, bringing fair skies, low humidity and the coolest temperatures of the month.  It was also responsible for keeping the remnants of two hurricanes (Sally and Beta) south of the area.

26 - This was the sixteenth day in a row with no measurable rain, one day more than June's dry streak, which had been the longest this year.  The last time there was a lengthier streak was during the fall of 2017 when there was one of eighteen days (Sept. 20-Oct. 7).



12 - Moisture from the remnants of hurricane Delta moved into the area and produced a steady, but light, all-day rain that amounted to nearly one inch (0.96"); an additional 0.34" fell the following day.  Winds out of the northeast, gusting between 25-30 mph, kept the temperature unseasonably cool.  The high of 57° (which occurred shortly after midnight) was the first maximum reading in the 50s since 5/9.

16 - Starting this morning at around 10:00 a steady rain moved in and by midnight 1.36" had fallen.  Two-thirds of this amount (0.91") came down between 11 AM and 2 PM.  The day's high of 66° occurred in the overnight hours, but quickly dropped into the low 50s once the rain started.  This was the second year in a row in which more than an inch of rain fell on this date (last year, 1.83" was measured).

29 - The remnants of hurricane Zeta (which struck the Gulf Coast last night) merged with the energy from a winter storm that struck the southern Rockies and Plains earlier in the week, resulting in rainy and raw conditions in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Rain began around 7 AM and continued until mid-day on the 30th.  1.53" fell today, 0.64" the next morning.  The rain fell heaviest from 10 AM until 3 PM today, with nearly an inch measured.  After the rain became lighter gusty winds of 25-30 mph moved in. 

31 - This morning's low was a frosty 32°, the first reading of freezing or colder in October since 1988 (which also occurred on Halloween).  This was the coldest reading this year since March 1 (when the low was 25°). 



8 - Today's high of 75° (18 degrees above average and one degree shy of the record for the date) was the warmest reading in six weeks (since 9/28), making Nov. 2020 just the seventh November since 1900 to have a warmer reading than October's (Oct. 2020's warmest was 74°).  The previous time it happened was in 2003 (and it would happen again in 2022).

11 - Despite overcast skies and the arrival of rain after 2:00 PM the temperature rose into the low 70s.  This was the sixth day in a row with highs of 70° or warmer, which set a new record for the month of November (breaking a tie with Nov. 2015).  The average high during this streak was 74° - seventeen degrees above average (highs were 70°-74°-75°-75°-74°-72°). The rain (which amounted to 0.78") didn't cause the temperature to drop much as it stayed in the mid-60s.  Combined with a dew point that was also in the mid-60s, the air had a tropical feel to it.  Every day of this streak was 10 degrees or more above average, equaling another six-day streak back in January with temperatures this much above average.

Today also saw a low in the 60s for the second day in a row, something that hadn't occurred in November since 1982 (which had a four-day streak).  And at 64° it was one of the mildest daily minimum readings on record for any November (and was eight degrees milder than the average high for the date). 

15 - A squall line tore through the area this evening from 8:15-8:45 PM, delivering a brief downpour and high winds.  With a gust of 41 mph, Central Park got off relatively easy compared to the area's three major airports, which clocked peak gusts in the 58-62 mph range.  And although the rain was torrential in my neighborhood (Greenwich Village), Central Park reported just 0.06".  Finally, the day's mild high of 64° occurred just as the squall line was moving through.

18 - Today's unseasonably cold high/low of 36°/30° (14 degrees below average) was half as warm as it was a week ago, when the high/low was a balmy 72°/64° (19 degrees above average).

26 - It was Thanksgiving Day, and a pre-dawn deluge seemed a distant memory by afternoon when the sun came out and the temperature rose into the mid-60s.  Not only was today's high of 65° tied for third warmest on the holiday (behind 1933's 69° and 2007's 66°), its low of 55° was the mildest of any Turkey Day as was the mean temperature of 60.0°.  And the 0.79" of rain that poured down this morning was the seventh greatest amount to fall on the holiday, and the most since 2006 (which was the rainiest Thanksgiving, with 1.72" measured).   



16 - An intense nor'easter brought the season's first measurable snow, which began late in the afternoon.  By midnight 6.5" had piled up, and the snow continued overnight thru daybreak (adding four inches).  This was December's biggest snowfall since the post-Christmas blizzard of December 2010 that paralyzed the city with 20".  Today's snowfall was more than twice the amount that fell during the previous winter (4.8").  It was also a record amount for the date.  With 10.5" in total this was the thirteenth December snowstorm to dump ten inches or more.  This storm dumped tremendous amounts of snow in Pennsylvania, New York State and New England, with some locations picking up between two to three feet (Binghamton, NY had 40").

Besides the snow it was also quite cold.  Today's high/low of 31°/24° made this the first day of the winter to have a high of 32° or colder.  Winds gusting between 30-40 mph created wind chills in the 10°-15° range.

19 - Today and the previous three days had very similar, cold temperatures: 31°/24° (on 12/16); 33°/24°; 32°/24°; and 32°/20° (today).  These four days were nine degrees below average.  Coincidentally, last December had a an equally cold four-day period at about the same time (Dec. 18-21), with an average high/low of 32°/21°.

25 - A fierce storm lashed the area overnight, with rain and strong winds that gusted to 45-65 mph (a gust of 47 mph was clocked at Central Park).  The 0.92" of rain that fell was the third greatest amount to fall on the holiday (behind 1945 and 2002).  The high, reached a few hours before daybreak, was 61° - the eighth time the high was in the 60s on 12/25.  After the rain and wind exited, sharply colder air moved in, dropping the mercury to 29° by midnight.  With today's mild high, 2020 became just the second year (2015 is the other) with highs in the 60s on Christmas Day (61°), Thanksgiving Day (65°) and Easter Sunday (63°).


To read highlights from other years between 1970 and 2021 double click here. 





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Joaquin Hernandez

Do mild winters mean cooler summers?


to respond to the above question, the answer is not always. both 1998 and 2002 had very mild winters, fifth mildest and mildest respectively. however, 1998 had eight 90° days and 2002 had 32 ninety degree days. the winters of 1932 and 2012 (which also rank among the ten warmest of all time) had fifteen and nineteen 90° days respectively. so to say that mild winters always mean temperate or torrid summers will never be an accurate prediction.

Joaquin Hernandez

Wow! Thanks for the info! One more thing. This winter has been a mild one, right?


yes indeed. the winter of 2020's average mean temp through 2/8 is 39.2°, which currently ranks as the seventh warmest of all time, but with less than three weeks left in meteorological winter, there is plenty of time for the winter to end up ranking (decidedly) lower or higher than seventh warmest. we'll see what happens!


This April, we haven’t got a day in the 70s or 80s, has that happened before?


Since 1900 it's happened in just one year - 1940. However, in that year there were also no highs of 70+ in March while this year saw three.


January had a warmer reading than April this year (69° vs 68°). has January ever had a warmer reading than April before? If so, what was the year and warmest reading for the two months?


Has there ever been a march with a 70 degree day followed by an april that had no days


Although there haven't been any Marches with highs in the 70s followed by an April with no highs of 70+ (until 2020), in 1874 February (on 2/23) had a day with a high of 72. Then the next day of 70+ wouldn't be until 5/9.


May had a colder reading than April this year (34° vs 36°). The only other year in which this has happened was in 1878, when the coldest reading in May and April was 40° and 42° respectively (and 2010 is the only other April with no reading colder than 40°).


Typically, when is the first back-to-back highs in the 80s?


Are you sure NYC hit 90 today? I looked up the temperature and the forecast was only 88.


Yes, the NWS reported the day's high reached 90 at 1:09 PM.


How warm has this july been so far


Very warm, about three degrees above average. It will likely rank among the 10 hottest Julys on record.


I have a feeling this year will be among the 10 warmest unless there is an arctic outbreak at the end of the year


A note about July 22’s evening storm: This storm was captured on a video which showed a flash of lightning striking near the base of the Statue of Liberty; the video even made it on the news. It was a wondrous sight!


this summer (June through August) had 56 days with a low of 70° or warmer. this was the most on record for any meteorological summer season. the previous record was in 1906 with 53 such days. moreover, 1908, 2005 and 2010 are the only other summers with fifty or more such days.


November was warmer than April of this year (by about three degrees). When was the last time this happened? and how often does this happen?


It's happened nine other times, most recently in 2003 when November was 0.2 degree warmer than April. The biggest difference in temperature was in 1975 when November was 4.4 degrees milder than April. In addition to 2003 and 1975, the other years in which November was milder than April it's happened are 1948, 1946, 1931, 1927, 1909, 1902 and 1874.


Has november ever been warmer than october


Based on what I looked at, looks like 2020 was the warmest November in Central Park history. I think just a above average December (about 39.5 degrees) will lead to warmest year on record.


No. The closest appears to be in 1888 when November was 3.1 degrees cooler than October.


Yep, it was the warmest on record, 0.2 degrees warmer than Nov. 2015.


The middle week of December may shape up to be very eventful. A winter storm seems to be taking a similar path as the December 2010 blizzard exactly ten years ago and may strike the East Coast on Wednesday. If the temperature stays below freezing that day, we could be seeing the greatest snowfall in nearly three winters (since Jan. 4, 2018). Then, if the temperatures stay in the 30s for the rest of the month, hopefully we can have a white Christmas.

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