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Weather Highlights of the Late 19th Century (1869-1899)


New york late 19th century


Central Park's first three decades of weather records, from the latter part of the 19th century, reveal that New York was significantly colder than what we've been accustomed to in the past 40 years.  These decades account for twelve of New York City's fifteen coldest years - and all of the ten coldest springs and nine of the ten coldest falls.  On average, the typical temperature of months back then was three to four degrees chillier than they are now, with March and April showing the biggest differences (6.1° and 5.4° colder, respectively).  Of course, this is not to say there weren't interludes of unseasonable warmth that wouldn't have been out of place in the 2000s.  What follows are year-by-year highlights.



- 1869 -

January 1 - The year had a snowy start with nine inches piling up - a record for the date that, amazingly, still stands.

February 15 - The City's longest-standing daily precipitation record was set today in 1869 when 2.60" of rain fell.  (This amount contributed to February 1869 being the wettest on record - and 151 years later it still is.)

February 26 - A snowfall of six inches was the third snowfall of six inches or more in Jan./Feb., joining another six inch snowfall on Jan. 19 and the nine inch snowfall on New Year's Day.  Today's snow was of the wet variety as it fell in temperatures that hovered around the freezing mark.

September 17 - Showers (0.73" was measured) and clouds kept the day's rise in temperature very minimal, as the high and low were just one degree apart (66°/65°).

October 2-3 - Four inches of rain was produced by a hurricane that struck Cape Cod (1.84" fell on the 2nd, 2.16" on the 3rd).


- 1870 -

February 8 - A snowfall of eight inches was the only measurable snow in February until the last day of the month (when 1.1" fell).  This was also the biggest snow of the winter.

March 17 - This was the sixteenth day in a row with a low in the teens or 20s.  The average was 25°, with readings ranging from 19° (today) and 29°.




July 25 - 11 of the past 15 days had highs of 88° or hotter, including seven days in the low 90s (during heat waves of three and four days).  Additionally, every day had a low of 70° or warmer, and six had lows of 77°+ (one of which was 82°). 

September 30 - After going five weeks with less than an inch of rain, 1.63" fell today.  This was the biggest daily rainfall of the year until 10/12 (when 1.91" fell).


- 1871 -

February 5 - For the second day this winter the high was a frigid 11°.  The other occurrence was on 1/23.  Lows on these days were 2° and 0°, respectively.

11 degrees
March 21 - This was the fifteenth day of the past nineteen to have measurable precipitation, and today's amounted to 1.97", making this the rainiest of them all.  In total, 4.76" was reported (0.1" was snow).

March 27 - For the fourth day in a row the low temperature was 33°.

April 8 - Today's high of 85°, the warmest reading of the month, came just two days after a low of 33°, which was the chilliest reading of the month (tied with 4/2).  It would be another seven weeks before the next reading of 85° or warmer occurred.

July 16 - This was the eighth day in a row with a high of 85° or warmer (just one of the days was in the 90s) and the twelfth day in a row with a high of 84°+.

August 30 - This was the eighth day in a row with measurable rain, which totaled 3.85".  Two of the days (8/25, 8/26) had about an inch.


Umbrella 19th century

September 30 - Today's high was 61°, making it the eighth day since 9/14 with a high in the 56°-62° range; average high during this time of September is in the 70°-73° range.  These unseasonably cool days helped September 1871 become the coolest September on record (a mark that still stands).

October 10-11 - Just four days after the biggest rainstorm of the year (2.72" on 10/6) a low pressure system brought nearly the same amount (2.65", of which 2.44" fell on the 10th).

December 1 - This was the fourth day in a row with highs in the 20s and lows in the mid-teens.  The average high/low of these four days was 25°/16°, twenty degrees below average.  This would be the longest such streak this winter.

December 21 - The first day of winter had the coldest reading of the entire winter, two degrees below zero.  (Two days later the temperature jumped to 55°.)


- 1872 -

March 5 - This morning's low was 3°, the coldest reading ever experienced in March.  This was the second coldest reading of the winter (coldest was -2° on 12/21).


July 5 - This was the sixth day in a row with highs in the 90s, and was the City's longest heat wave until one of ten days broiled New York in the summer of 1896.

October 26 - The center of circulation from a dissipating hurricane got very close to Manhattan as it moved northeastward, dropping 1.56" of rain.

November 6-11 - High temperatures during this six-day period exhibited to following pattern: 55°-55°-50°-50°-55°-55°.  These readings were at seasonable levels.

December 26 - On a day with frigid temperatures (the high/low was just 12°/6°) New York City experienced its first of four crippling snowstorms on 12/26 (the others would be in 1933, 1947 and 2010).  Eighteen inches piled up, making this New York's biggest snowstorm until the Great Blizzard of March 1888.  (It's now ranked twelfth.)

December 27 - The morning low of 6° was the sixth day in a row with a low in the single digits.  There would be eight more days with lows of ten degrees or colder this winter, which ranks as New York's seventh coldest winter on record.


- 1873 -

February 24 - Today, with a low of -1°, became the latest date for a sub-zero low - a record that remains intact. This sub-zero low came about four weeks after another reading of -1° on Jan. 30.


Minus 1

February 27 - A snowfall of four inches was the fifth this month of two inches or more.  (The month's snowfall amounted to 18.9".)

March 10 - The 0.3" of snow that fell today was the last measurable snow of what was New York's snowiest winter for the next 50 years, with 60.3" measured.  (The winter of 1923 would top it by 0.1").  It's now ranked fifth.


- 1874 -

January 7 - The 3.14" of rain that fell today was the greatest daily rainfall in January for more than 100 years (until 1979).  It was also a mild day, with a high of 56°.

April 30 - The last three days of the month had lows of 32° or colder, joining eight other days with lows this cold.  No other April has had this many days with lows of freezing or colder, which contributed to this being the coldest April of all time.  (The following April, and April 1943, would have nine such days, the second most.)

May 10 - The day after the year's first reading in the 80s, today had the first reading in the 90s (the high was 90°).  However, the heat was short lived as a backdoor cold front moved through, dropping the mercury to 52° by midnight. 

September 29 - What was once the season's sixth hurricane moved over New York as a tropical storm and dropped 0.64" of rain on Central Park.  This was considerably less than the seven inches of rain that flooded the City from Sept. 16-18 from a non-tropical system.

December 20 - Ten inches of heavy snow piled up after starting out as rain.  As the temperature dropped below freezing (from a high of 36°) it changed over to snow.  Total liquid precipitation for the day was 1.92".  (Both amounts are records for the date that are still standing.)


- 1875 -

January 4 - Today's high of 40° was the mildest reading of the month, making it the chilliest mildest reading of any winter month.  (January 1875 would be the coldest January until 1888, and has since fallen to seventh coldest.)

February 23 - Today had the first low above 32° this year - the deepest into the year for this occurrence (a mark that still stands).  The reading of 42° was the mildest since Nov. 17th's low of 43°.

March 20 - An ice storm on the first day of spring dropped 0.54" of liquid precipitation in temperatures that were below freezing all day (high/low was 31°/22°).

March 23 - Five of the past six days had highs of 32° or colder.  Average high/low during these six days was 31°/18°, seventeen degrees colder than average.

April 13 - A heavy snowfall totaling ten inches began today and ended in the wee hours of the morning of the 14th.  However, the snow didn't stick around for very long as tomorrow's temperature rose into the low 50s after dark.

April 17-18 - An Arctic high delivered mid-winter cold, with highs/lows of 33°/27° and 32°/25°.  These highs were 25 degrees below average. 

April 22 - This was the sixth day in a row with a low in the 20s (average low this time of the month is in the low-to-mid-40s).  This helped this month become the second coldest April on record (behind April of last year).




April 25 - Less than two weeks after a snowstorm of ten inches, another significant snowfall dropped three more inches - despite the fact that the temperature got no lower than 34°.  This is Central Park's latest measurable snowfall on record.

July 26 - For the first time this year a daily rainfall of an inch or more fell - the latest date on record for this occurrence (a record that still stands).  Typically, the average date for the first one-inch+ precipitation total is in the first week of February (it's happened on New Year's Day in seven years).

August 8 - This was the fifth day in a row with very similar highs/lows: 82°/68° (8/4)-82°/69°-82°/67°-82°/70°-81°/71° (8/8).

October 24 - This was the third day in a row with a high of 71° and it came a month after another three-day streak of 71° highs (Sept. 27-29).

November 5 - The first five days of the month had close to winter-like temperatures, with an average high/low of just  42°/33° (twelve degrees colder than average).

November 30 - It was a bitterly cold day with a high/low of just 14°/5° (31 degrees below average).  This was the earliest date for a reading in the single digits and a high in the teens.  It was also colder than any day of the winter to come (based on mean temperature).


- 1876 -

February 4 - Eleven inches of snow fell from a storm that began last night and continued into today, when most of the accumulation occurred.  This was by far the biggest snowfall of the winter as only 7.3" fell from eight other snowfalls.

September 17 - Heavy rain from a minimal hurricane that raced inland through North Carolina and Virginia dumped 3.37" of rain in Central Park (a record for the date that still stands).

October 15 - 0.5" of snow accumulated, the earliest measurable snowfall on record (a record that still stands).  The day's low of 32° was also a record.

Nov. 30-Dec. 2 - For the second year in a row (on the very same dates) the City was in the grips of an early incursion of Arctic air.  This year, however, temperatures were a bit "milder" (average high/low of 27°/18° vs. 23°/10°).


- 1877 -

January 1-2 - The year started with a snowstorm that dumped 13.0" on the City (4.8" on New Year's Day, 8.2" on the 2nd).  This amount was more than the five snowfalls in December that totaled slightly more than twelve inches.  Both days of the snowstorm had highs of 24°.

March 10 - The day after the mildest reading of the month (57°), the temperature at daybreak was 21°.  This was the first of eleven days in a row in which there were no highs milder than 40°; four days in a row would see lows in the teens (coldest reading was 10° on 3/19).  The average high/low during this very cold outbreak was 32°/22° (eleven degrees colder than average).

March 19 - Yesterday's and today's frigid highs and lows of 26°/12° and 22°/10° were comparable to the Arctic cold experienced on the same two dates the previous year (30°/9° and 27°/9°). 

April 21 - Lows of the past six days exhibited the following pattern: 40°-42°-41° and 40°-42°-41°.

October 4 - A dissipating tropical storm dumped 4.05" of rain in Central Park (a record for the date that still stands).


- 1878 -

January 18 - This was the third day in a row with a high of 32°.

February 1 - Today's two-inch snowfall was the last measurable snow of the winter (sleet was also part of the mix).  This would be the earliest date for a winter's last snowfall until 2002, when the last snowfall happened on 1/19 (and it occurred on 1/18 during the winter of 2020).  In total 8.1" of snow fell during the winter of 1878. 

March 25 - A mild March was interrupted by one day of mid-winter temperatures as the high/low was only 30°/13° (twenty degrees below average); the previous day with a high of freezing or colder was five weeks ago.  The low was a record for the date (which still stands).  

April 18 - Today was the sixth day this month with a low of 42°, which was the chilliest reading of the month.  This is the mildest reading to have the designation as the chilliest temperature of any April.  (In the years between 1869-1899 the coldest reading in April was typically in the upper 20s).

October 23 - The center of the dissipating "Gale of 1878" moved west of Manhattan.  Shortly after daybreak winds gusted over 50 mph and 0.73" of rain was measured in Central Park.




- 1879 -

January 16 - A snowstorm during the morning and afternoon produced an accumulation of thirteen inches.  Temperatures were quite cold, with a high/low of 20°/13°.

May 10 - This was the third day in a row with a high/low of 69°/49°.  This was the first time for this type of streak, and has since been replicated just two other times (in May 1984 and August 1988).

August 18 - 3.95" of rain flooded the City from bands of heavy rain produced by a hurricane that struck North Carolina this morning and moved up the coast during the day.  This amount was a record for the date (a record that still stands).

October 18 - Today's low of 63° was the thirteenth low in the 60s or milder this month, the most such days on record for October (October 2007 and 2017 would have 12). 

November 5 - 1.5" of snow fell on a day with a low of 23° - both are records that still stand.  This was also the third day in a row with a high only in the 30s (typical high in early November is in the mid-50s).


- 1880 -

April 14 - Today's high of 80° came just two days after a record low of 26° (since eclipsed in 1976).  This was the first reading above 64° since 3/5 (when it was 72°).


Pedestrians on FifthAve-48thSt_NYPublicLibraryCollection



May 18 - The 0.01" of rain that fell today was the only measurable rain to fall in the first 22 days of May.

May 27 - For the third day in a row the high was in the mid-90s, and the low was in the low 70s: 95°/73°, 95°/72°, and 96°/72° (today).  Today's high would be the hottest reading of the year.

May 31 - Until the last two days of May just 0.11" of rain had fallen this month, but 0.28" fell yesterday, and 0.23" fell today.  At the time this was the driest May on record (it has since fallen to fourth place).

September 9-10 - Rain from a hurricane moving north from South Carolina started late on the 9th (0.67" of rain fell) and continued into the morning of the 10th (adding 0.54"). 

November 28 - This was the eighth day in a row with a high of 32° or colder.  The average high during the unseasonably cold streak was 29°/18°.  (Average high temperatures during this time in November are in the upper 40s.)

December 1 - The 1.5" of snow that fell today is the only time an inch or more of snow fell on this date.

December 4 - This was the fourth day in a row with a high of 38° (but each day's low temperature was different). 


- 1881 -

February 11 - Today's high of 52° was the first in the 50s in three months (since Nov. 12).

April 6 - During the past eight days the mildest high temperature was just 41°.  And the last two days of this streak had highs below 32° (more than twenty degrees below average).

September 7 - Today's high of 101° was the first time on record that a high in the triple digits occurred in September.  More than one hundred years later it continues to be the latest date with a high of 100°+.  (There has been only one other date with a high in the 100s in September - Sept. 2, 1953).  Additionally, the day's low of 79° is the warmest minimum reading in the month of September.


101 degrees


October 1 - Today's summer-like high/low of 87°/72° featured the first low in the 70s in the  month of October.  (It would be another 17 years until the next low this mild happened in October; in total, nine years have had lows in the 70s in October, with the last time being in 2018.)


- 1882 -

February 4 - A snowfall of nine inches followed a snowfall of eight inches on Jan. 31.  (Eight of the inches fell today.)  Temperatures were quite cold, with a high/low of 22°/13°. 

April 4 - Today had the first 80°+ reading of the year, which followed the first reading in the 70s yesterday (75°) and first reading in the 60s the day before that (61°).


Central park 1890s

September 11 - Rain from a tropical storm amounted to 3.23", with much of it (2.57") falling today.

September 23 - Less than two weeks after heavy rains from a tropical storm soaked the City, another tropical system brought more flooding rains to the Mid-Atlantic states and drenched New York with its greatest rainfall for any calendar date - 8.28".  And in the preceding two days 3.52" of rain fell.  With a total of 16.85" of rain for the entirety of September (most of which fell between the 11th and 23rd), this would be the wettest month on record - until August 2011 (when 18.95" was measured).

November 18 - Today's high was 63° and would be the last day of 60° or milder for four-and-a-half months, until 4/1 next year (when the high reached 70°).

November 29 - A snowfall of nine inches came four days after a 4.5" snowfall.  And with a high/low of 27°/23°, today was the fourth day in a row with a high of 32° or colder. 

December 31 - After 14 inches of snow fell in November (the second snowiest November), December had no snow at all, not even a trace (just one of six Decembers to have this distinction).  This was despite the fact that it was a cold December (17th coldest on record), with 23 days with highs below 40° and 24 days with lows of 32° or colder.  


- 1883 -

February 10-11 - Eight inches of snow piled up, the second biggest snowfall of the winter (one inch less than the snowstorm of Nov. 29).  However, today's snow changed to rain as the mercury rose to 36° while November's snowstorm had much colder air in place (the high was just 27°).

February 24 - High temperatures today and the previous four days: 34° (2/24)-35°-36°-37°-38°(2/20).  These were below the seasonable average of 40°.

March 12 - This was the tenth day in a row with highs colder than 40°.  (This followed the mildest reading of the month, 60°).  High/low during this time was 33°/17°, ten degrees below average.  Two snowfalls during this streak amounted to 5.5".

March 30 - A snowfall of 4.5" was the sixth snowfall of four inches or more this winter (this was despite the fact that no measurable snow fell in December).

April 24 - 0.5" of snow accumulated, the second latest date on record following 4/25 in 1875 (when three inches fell).  Despite the snow the temperature got no lower than 34° (similar to 4/25/75). 

July 28 - The 0.08" of rain that fell today was the last rainfall of the month, bringing the month's total to 3.21", which was the same amount as last July.   Since then, it's happened two more times: Dec. 1916 and 1917 both had 4.25", while Dec. 1960 and 1961 both had 3.04".

September 4 - The earliest date for a reading in the 40s occurred today when the low fell to 47°.  The average date for this occurrence is a few days after the first day of autumn.  The high was also on the cool side, 68°, which was one degree higher than yesterday.  (Sept. 1883 is the third coolest September on record.) 

December 17-25 - Five snowfalls during this nine-day period produced 22.6" of snow, the second greatest amount of any December (now ranked third).  A little more than half fell on 12/24 and Christmas Day, when 12.3" piled up from two different snowfalls.  This nine-day period had an average high/low of 28°/17°.

December 23 - It was a frigid, frigid day with a high/low of just 10°/-1°.




- 1884 -

January 9 - Today's high of 48° was the mildest reading of the month, making this this the fourth year in a row in which the mildest reading in January was below 50°. 

February 29 - The day after an Arctic front changed rain to snow that accumulated five inches, today's high/low was just 12°/4° (twenty-seven degrees below average).  This was the second coldest day of the winter after 12/23 and its high/low of 10°/-1°.  The next five days (March 1-5) would have moderating temperatures but all had highs below freezing (the average high of these five days was 23°/12°).

March 30 - It was a very late date for a sub-freezing high temperature (31°) at a time of the month when the average high is around 50°.

May 30 - It was a chilly Memorial Day, with a record low of 42° (a record that still stands).  And the day's high of 55° was also a record for chilliest high for the date.

June 26 - Almost all of June's 4.98" of rain poured down from a rainstorm that began yesterday evening and continued today.  In total, 4.74" of rain was measured, with 4.29" of it falling today.  Interestingly, this is the only year in which an inch or more of rain fell on this date (four years later 0.99" was measured). Today was also unseasonably cool, with a high/low of 67°/58°.

September 11 - This was the eighth unseasonably warm day in a row, with afternoon highs that ranged from 88° to 91° and lows that were between 71° and 77°.  The average high/low during this period, 89°/75°, was 14 degrees above average.




September 30 - The last three days of the month accounted for all of September's rain, and it was very little - 0.21", making this the driest September on record (a dubious honor that it still holds).

October 22 - Today's 0.89" rainfall was comparable to the amount that fell in the previous seven-and-a-half weeks (since 8/31), a period that would typically receive about 6.50".

November 23 - Today's high of 61° tied 11/5 and 11/6 as mildest reading of the month, which was on the cool side for the distinction.  And yet it would be nineteen weeks before a milder reading was reported (66° on 4/3).

December 20 - The day before the winter solstice began was the coldest day of the winter as the high/low was only 7°/-3°.  Feb. 11 (1885) would come close with a high/low of 11°/-2°. 


- 1885 -

February 11 - Although it was brutally cold, with a high/low of only 11°/-2°, there was an even more frigid day earlier in the winter - on 12/20, which had a high/low of just 7°/-3°.

March 18 - Today's low of 8° was the 18th in the single digits or colder this winter, breaking a tie with the winter of 1872-73 for most on record (later passed by the winter of 1918, which had 20 frigid lows).

March 24 - This was the eighth day in a row with lows in the teens or colder.  The average low during this stretch was just 13°, twenty degrees below average.  (March 1885 is the third coldest on record).

May 31 - Today's rainfall of 0.11" brought this spring's total rainfall to 4.95", making it the driest meteorological spring on record (a record that still stands).  And the month of June would continue these dry conditions, with just 1.32" measured. 

July 21 - Today's high was 99° and came in the midst of a sweltering eleven-day period between 7/16 and 7/26 in which eight days were in the 90s.


October 13 - A tropical storm moved northward through central Pennsylvania and dropped 1.50" of rain in Central Park. 


- 1886 -

January 15 - This was the tenth day in a row with sub-freezing highs (including five days in a row with lows in the single digits).  The average high was 22°, ranging between 8° and 31°.   There was one snowfall during this cold stretch - five inches on Jan. 9.

February 8 - This was the 34th day in a row with highs colder than 40°.  Twenty-one of these days had highs of 32° or colder.  Nearly 19" of snow fell from six snowfalls.  This would be the longest such streak until 1945, when there was a streak that was one day longer (Jan. 5-Feb. 8).


Winter during victorian era


May 28 - For the eighth time this month the low was 51°.

June 23 - A tropical storm passing to the south of New York, dropped 1.20" of rain.  Cloud cover and rain kept the temperature in the 60s all day (the high/low was 66°/62°).


- 1887 -

March 21 - Today's high of 49° was the mildest reading this March - the only March with its mildest reading below 50° (it would happen a week later as well).  By comparison, January and February each had a reading in the low 60s.

March 29 - The temperature fell slowly throughout the day, from 29° shortly after midnight to 19° nearly 24 hours later.

April 18 - Rain changed to snow, accumulating 3.0".  This followed a two-inch snowfall on April 1-2.  Today's snow was a week earlier than the latest measurable snowfall on record, in 1875, where there was a three-inch snowfall on 4/25.

June 1 - After experiencing what, at the time, was the driest May on record (0.34" was measured; it's now ranked second after May 1903), June began with a rainfall of 2.60", which was more than what fell in the previous six weeks.  It was also a record for the date (which still stands).

July 31 - The final week of the month had high temperatures that ranged between 88° and 91°.  In total. the month had 17 days of 88°+.  And there were 18 days with lows of 72° or warmer.  At the time this was the third hottest July on record, and it would be among the five hottest until 1949 (it's now ranked 28th).

September 25 - This morning's low of 40° was the second earliest date for a reading this chilly in September (earliest date was on 9/21 in 1871; 1887 has since fallen to third earliest).




- 1888 -

January 1 - The first day of the year was quite a rainy one as 2.05" fell.  This was the first year (since record keeping began in 1869) to have rainfall of an inch or more on New Year's Day, and it's the record for the date.  (Six other years have since had an inch or more on 1/1, the most recent being in 2007.)

March 12 - The Blizzard of '88 (also known as the Great White Hurricane) roared into an unsuspecting New York during the morning and brought the City to a standstill for the next few days.  16.5" of snow fell today, with an additional 4.5" falling tomorrow into the early morning hours of the 14th.  This was New York's biggest snowstorm until Dec. 1947 (it's now ranked fourth).  In addition to the large amount of snow, the storm's danger was magnified by mountainous snow drifts created by winds that gusted between 45 and 55 mph, and extreme cold, as the temperature dropped from 33° to 8°.  200 people died in the City, many from exposure to the elements. 

March 13 - A bit more snow (three inches) fell today from yesterday's blizzard, but what stood out today was the extreme cold (even by mid-winter standards) as the high/low was just 12°/6° - the second coldest day ever experienced in March (the high/low on March 5, 1872 was 10°/3°).  With gusty winds still prevalent, wind chills were below zero.  This was the fourth March in the 1872-1888 period to have two days with lows in the single digits; since then it's happened in just one other year (in 1916).


Blizzard of 1888

May 11 - Of all of the dates that have had the temperature stuck in the 60s, this is the earliest in the year it has occurred (the latest date is 11/21).  The high/low was 67°/62° and an all-day rain soaked Central Park with 1.63", a record amount for the date (until 1981).   

August 21 - The remnants of a hurricane that first struck south Florida, then Louisiana a day later soaked the City with 4.12" of rain (a record for the date that still stands) as it traveled just to the north of the City on its way to New England.

September 8-21 - In a two-week period (including a six days in a row, between Sept. 8-13) measurable rain fell on eleven of the days, amounting to nearly seven inches.  Three days (today was one of them) had more than an inch, another three had between 0.50"-0.99".

October 5- Today's high of 66° was the warmest reading this month - the only October to have its warmest reading cooler than 70°.  (Three Octobers' warmest readings have been 70°, most recently in 1977.)


- 1889 -

January 10 - Although every one of the first 10 days of January had lows in the 30s, none were 32° or colder.  The average of 36° was twelve degrees above average.

May 10 - The first reading in the 90s this year (91°) was very early but after today there would be just one more (on June 9).

August 1 - The wettest July on record (11.89" was measured) continued into the first day of August, which was the third day in a row to have more than an inch of rain.  In total 5.68" fell during these three days (1.70" fell today).

August 14 - Since July 15 nearly fourteen inches of rain fell.  Six days had an inch or more.

September 10-13 - A dissipating hurricane stalled off the Delmarva Peninsula and brought bands of rain over the course of four days, amounting to 4.46", with much of it (3.34") falling on the 12th and 13th.  Except for one hour during the afternoon of the 13th the temperature was stuck in the 60s.  These four days were the start of streak of nine days in a row with rain (and ten out of eleven); total rainfall during this period was around six inches.


Rainy evening 1890s

September 18 - This was the ninth day in a row with measurable rain.  In total 5.93" fell, with more than half (3.34") falling on the 12th and 13th.

December 19 - This was the last day of precipitation this year, bringing 1889's total to 57.19".  At the time this was rainiest year on record, and it would hold the crown until 1903 (it's now ranked 14th.) 


- 1890 -

March 19 - A late season snowfall of six inches was the largest accumulation of the winter, beating the snowfall of Dec. 14 by half an inch.

September 4 - Today's high of 88° made this the warmest reading in September.  This was the sixth year in a row in which there were no 90-degree readings in September, the longest such streak on record.


City streets in summer late 1800s


September 11 - For the second year in a row temperatures were stuck in the 60s on this date, and the high/low were the same in both years (68°/62°).  This year 0.38" of rain fell, while 0.55" fell last year. 

December 26 - Seven inches of snow fell today.  A month later (1/25) it would be edged out as the biggest snowfall of the winter when eight inches piled up.


- 1891 -

January 25 - After precipitation started as cold rain, it changed to heavy snow which accumulated eight inches.  This was the biggest snowfall of the winter, overtaking a seven-inch snowfall on 12/26.

March 2 - The morning low of 9° was the coldest reading all winter.  This was similar to last year when the only reading in the single digits was also in March (7° on 3/7).

May 6 - The day's low was 32°, the latest date for a low of freezing or colder in Central Park.  (Three days later the high was 82°.)


- 1892 -

March 18 - Snow that began falling late last night continued through this morning and accumulated eight inches (the 7.2" that fell today is the most to fall on 3/18).  This was the biggest snowfall of the winter (passing a six-inch snowfall on 1/16) and came in the midst of an unseasonably cold 12-day stretch (March 11-22) in which temperatures were 12 degrees degrees below average (high/low of 34°/22°).


Snow in union square by childe hassam


July 29 - Today was the end of a five-day heat wave that saw the last two days reach highs of 97°.  The average high/low during these five days was 95°/76°.  (The two days preceding the heat weave had highs of 89°). 

November 9 - Rain changed to snow and then back to rain as midnight approached.  During the time when the snow fell 2.3" accumulated, making this the earliest snowfall of two inches or more (until 1953, when 2.2" fell on 11/6).  Because of the rain that fell afterwards the snow didn't stay on the ground for long; in addition, the temperature got no colder than 35°. (The following day would see 1.31" of rain.)

December 31 - This was the eleventh day in a row with highs of 32° or colder.  The average high during this streak was 26°.  This chill, however, would end on New Year's Day when the temperature rose into the low 50s after nightfall.


- 1893 -

January 1 - 1.32" of rain fell, which was 0.02" more than what fell in all of December.  Last year, 1892's first rainfall of an inch or more occurred on Jan. 2 (1.02" was measured).  Today's high of 52° would be the mildest reading of the month.

January 17 - Today was the seventh day in a row with a high in the teens.  The average high/low during this streak was 17°/8°.  This streak of bitter cold was embedded in a 13-day streak with highs of 30° or colder.

February 17-18 - A snowstorm dumped 9.1", with much of it falling on the 17th.  This was the biggest snowfall of the winter (in total there were five snowfalls of four inches or more).  Both the 17th and 18th had a high/low of 28°/17°.

March 9-10 - This was the first time since Dec. 16-17 to have back-to-back days with lows above 32°.

August 19-20 - A hurricane moved over New York City, just the second time this has happened.  A wind gust of 85 mph was clocked and 3.81" of rain fell (1.34" on 8/19 and 2.34" on 8/20).




August 24 - Just four days after a hurricane lashed the City a tropical storm passed to the west and dumped 3.61" of rain.

October 23 - A shield of heavy rain from a tropical storm that passed over the Delmarva Peninsula soaked the City with 2.46".


- 1894 -

February 26 - Today's snowfall of eight inches joined snowfalls of seven inches, six-and-a-half inches, and four inches in the past 30 days.  Today's snowstorm came the day after the coldest reading of the winter, 1° above zero (a record that was later tied in 1914).  After today the next snowfall wouldn't be until 4/12, when an inch fell.

May 25 - This was the eighth day in a row to receive measurable rain.  In total, 2.40" was measured during this streak (with about half falling on the 21st and 23rd). 

July 10 - This was the fourth day in a row with a low in the 50s (59°-56°-58°-56°).  These readings were ten degrees cooler than average.  The low on the 8th is a record that still stands. (By contrast, there have been no readings in the 50s in any July between 2010 and 2020.) 

August 20 - Today's 0.08" rainfall was the last rainfall of what would be the driest meteorological summer until 1966.  Just 4.36" was measured, which was 1/3 the average amount (the summer of 1966 received 0.05" less).

September 19 - A rainstorm that moved in yesterday evening and continued through today dumped more rain (5.16") than what fell all summer (the second driest on record).  Today's rainfall of 4.30" was a record for the date (that still stands).  At the time this was the third greatest daily rainfall (now ranked 16th).

September 20 - All of September's 8.68" of rain fell in a 13-day period ending today (with nearly half of it falling yesterday).

November 5 - Today was the fifth day in the past four weeks to pick up an inch or more of rain (1.67" on 10/10; 1.69" on 10/24; 1.06" on 10/31, 1.60" on 11/3; and 1.12" today). 


- 1895 -

February 28 - This was the only day of this very cold month (the second coldest February at the time, now ranked fourth) with a low above freezing.  And it was the first above freezing low since 1/16.

June 3 - This was the last day of an early season heat wave, which lasted five days.  After starting with a high of 90°, three highs of 96° followed; and today's high reached 95° (but after a cold front moved thru the temperature dropped to 63° by midnight).  The highs of June 1-3 were all records that are still standing.


Bathing beauties 1890s

June 4 - The day after the heat wave ended, today's temperature got no higher than 67°, twenty-eight degrees cooler than yesterday's high.

September 23 - A four-day heat wave, the latest on record, ended today, with a high of 97°.  This is the hottest reading ever reported in the second half of September.

November 1 - For the second day in a row the high/low was 52°/41°, and followed another pair of identical high/lows on these same dates five years earlier (high/low of 50°/37°).

December 31 - The mildest reading of the month was 60° and this was the fifth day this month that it was reached - and all were since 12/20.  It wouldn't be this mild again until 3/31.


- 1896 -

February 17 - With a high/low of 7°/-5°, today was the coldest day of the winter, moving ahead of the previous coldest day this winter, Jan. 6, with its high/low of 12/-2°.

February 29 - A hard rain that lasted nearly all-day (4 AM-10 PM) amounted to 2.26", making this the only Leap Year Day to have an inch or more of precipitation. 

March 15-16 - Less than two weeks after a snowfall of ten inches on March 2 an even bigger snowstorm dumped a foot of snow.  It began early in the afternoon of the 15th and by midnight 6.5" fell; an additional 5.5" fell the next day through midday.  Then the snow changed to rain as the temperature rose into the mid-30s.


Clip art snowflakes

April 18 - For the first time since record-keeping began Central Park had its first reading in the 90s in April (it was also the first day in the 90s to have a low in the 50s; the second such occurrence would be three weeks later).  This followed highs of 87° and 88° on the two preceding days.  1896 would have 24 days in the 90s, which would be the most in one year until 1936.

April 20 - This was the last day of a seven-day streak with very mild temperatures, with an average high/low of 81°/61°.  This followed a six-day stretch ending 4/8 that experienced a cold average high/low of 41°/29°.





August 11 - Today was the third day in a row with a low temperature in the 80s, the first time for this occurrence.  There have been three other streaks of this length since then: in 1906, 1908 and 2013. 

August 13 - 1895's record for most days in the 90s, twenty-three, was broken today when the high reached 90°.  This number of hot days wouldn't be surpassed for 40 years.  Today was also the last day of a ten-day heat wave, still one of the lengthiest on record.  Four of the days had afternoon heat indexes in the 110°-115° range and nine days in a row had lows between 76°-82°.  This lengthy period of heat and humidity was responsible for the deaths of 1,500 persons in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states.


Kids swimming in 19th century



November 27 - With a high/low of 72°/60°, today's mean temperature of 62.0 was the mildest in nearly two months (since 9/30).

November 30 - The City was shoveling out from a five-inch snowfall (that started the day before) three days after the high reached 72° (a record that still stands).

December 22-23 - One week after a snowfall of seven inches, six inches fell beginning tonight and continuing through the morning of the 23rd, followed by another round during the evening after an Arctic front moved through.  What was curious about this snowfall was the fact that it had a very low liquid content (0.25" water was measured) despite temperatures that were 32° or above last night through daybreak of the 23rd, and rain was mixed with the snow at times.


- 1897 -

January 28 - Snow began falling after 9 PM on the 27th and continued thru mid-day today, accumulating ten inches.  The temperature was in the low 20s throughout the storm.

February 12 - Today's snowfall of 8.5" was the fourth of six inches or more this winter.  Snow started falling shortly before daybreak and was mostly over by mid-afternoon.  The snow fell heaviest between 11 AM and 1 PM when three inches accumulated.  Temperatures were mostly in the mid-20s.

October 16 - Today's high of 87°, twenty-five degrees above average, was the warmest reading in October in the years of Central Park measurement in the 19th century (since 1869).  Although this temperature would be matched in 1919 and exceeded in 1922 (89°), this year's occurred thirteen and eleven days later than 1919's and 1922's, respectively.

December 25 - Today's high/low of 32°/17° made this the eighth Christmas in the past 15 years with a high of 32° or colder, the greatest concentration of cold Christmas Days on record. 

December 26 - Today's three-inch snowfall was the eighth time since 1872 that an inch or more fell on this date, an average of once every three years.  Thereafter, however, the rate slowed to once every fifteen years.  (12/26 is the date in December most likely to see one-inch+ of snow.) 


- 1898 -

July 3 - Today's high reached 100°, the first reading in the triple digits in 17 years.  However, the wait wouldn't be nearly as long for the next reading in the 100s (July 1, 1901).

July 4 - This year's high of 96° followed July 4th highs of 85° in 1897, 78° in 1896 and 69° in 1895.

July 13 - A year after 2.29" of rain fell on this date, 2.17" fell today.  It was a cool day, with a high/low of 69°/58° (yesterday's high was 70°, and the day before that had a high of 71°).  

July 28 - For the the second day in a row the high/low was 80°/74°.  Coincidentally, the same two dates last year also had the same high and low (67°/64°).

September 5 - This was the last day of a six-day heat wave, with highs ranging from 90° to 93° (and the next two days had highs of 88°).  Lows on these six days were between 75° and 79°.

November 30 - Just three days after a snowstorm dumped ten inches, a snowfall of six inches accumulated today.  (And three inches had fallen on 11/24.)  The nineteen inches of snow that fell this month is the most to ever fall in November.


- 1899 -

January 1 - The year started snowy and quite cold as three inches fell between 2:00 and 8:00 this morning and the temperature slowly fell throughout the day, dropping from 18° to 8°.  Breezy conditions (gusts of 15-20 mph) created wind chills in the zero to -5° range.

February 12 - This was the third day in a row in which temperatures failed to rise above 9°.  Highs/lows on these days were 7°/-6° (2/10); 9°/-2° (yesterday); and 9°/4° (today).  Today was also on the snowy side with snow falling most of the day; by midnight 5.3" had accumulated.


Frozen man


February 13 - This was the fifth day in a row of a memorable cold wave in which highs were between 6° and 11° and lows between -6° and +6°.  In addition to the bitter cold, a blizzard that began yesterday continued today burying the City under sixteen inches of snow (10.7" fell today on top of yesterday's 5.3").  Winds that gusted between 25 and 35 mph produced wind chills around -10°.  At the time this was New York's third biggest snowfall (now tied for 17th place).  This snow came five days after a snowfall of 6.5".


Blizzard of feb 1899


April 6 - This was the sixth day in a row with a low of 32° or colder, tying two other six-day streaks in 1875 and 1891 as the longest on record in April (and there have been none of this length since then).  

May 4 - Today had the season's last reading in the 40s (the low of 48° was seasonable for the date), the earliest date on record for this occurrence (which still stands).  In the 19th century, the average date of this occurrence was 5/28 (in the 21st century, the date is ten days earlier).

June 20 - Today was the seventh day this month with a high in the 90s, the most of any June until 1923 (when there would be eight).  These hot days contributed to making this, at the time, the hottest June on record (until 1923; it's now tied for tenth). 

October 18 - It was a very mild day, with a high/low of 79°/67° (twenty degrees above average).  This was the sixth day of a seven-day streak in which every day's low was in the 60s, which was comparable to the average high during this time of the month (low 60s).

December 27 - The 0.1" of snow that accumulated today was the first measurable snowfall of the winter, a winter that would have 13.4" of snow in total, the least since the winter of 1878.


Here are recaps of decades of the 20th and 21st centuries:








Year-by-Year Review (1970-2019)


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A fellow "weather geek" friend told me about this German site that claims to have monthly temperature info going back to 1821 (in Celsius). It's the only pre-1869 info on NYC temperatures I have ever seen, making me think it might be bogus. What do you think?



I would expect that Germany, and other European nations, would have records that go further back than Central Park's since its history (in general, not just weather) goes back further than that of the US. (FYI, Thomas Jefferson kept weather records.)

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