February 2021 Recap: New York Trudges Through One of Snowiest Februarys On Record
A Taste of Summer: The Year's First High of 80+

2021's Weather Happenings

 

 2021JANUARY

January 26 - The 0.1" of snow that fell was the first measurable snow since the 10.4" snowstorm of Dec. 16-17, nearly six weeks ago.  Today's high and low were just three degrees apart (34°/31°).

January 31 - Until this evening, the month was set to become one of the five least snowy Januarys on record, with just 0.1" measured.  However, the opening volley of snow, from a snowstorm that would bury the City tomorrow, moved in this evening, and by midnight two inches had accumulated.  This was the most snow to fall on this date since 1898 (when five inches piled up).  The 2.1" that fell this month made this the third January in a row with well below-average snowfall (Jan. 2019 had 1.1", Jan. 2020 had 2.3").

 

FEBRUARY

February 1 - A monster snowstorm that moved in last night buried the City today, and largely exited by daybreak the following day.  In total, 17.4” of snow was measured, with 14.8” of it piling up today.  The rate of snowfall was greatest from mid-morning thru mid-afternoon.  The temperature rose from 22° just after midnight to 34° in the early evening, when the snow mixed with freezing rain and drizzle, which put a stop to further significant accumulation.  15”-24” accumulations were common throughout the region.  Besides the snow, high winds were also an issue, gusting between 30-40 mph in Central Park.  

With this snowstorm, the winter became New York’s twelfth with two or more snowfalls of ten inches or more (the first one was on Dec. 16-17, when 10.4” fell).  This was New York’s biggest snowfall in five years (when New York experienced its biggest snowfall of all-time), and tied for fifteenth greatest accumulation on record (with Feb. 3-4, 1961). 

February 7 - Today was Super Bowl Sunday, and up until this year, the most snow to fall on this occasion was 1.5" in 2000.  That amount was easily eclipsed today, when a fast moving storm dropped 4.5" from mid-morning thru late afternoon (Central Park was low-man on the totem pole as most surrounding areas had six to eight inches).  It was a wet snow, that began falling when the temperature was 37°, with the temperature not reaching 32° until early afternoon.  This brought the month's snowfall to 19.9".

February 16 - While the Southern Plains, Midwest and Ohio Valley were subjected to severe cold, snow and ice, New York basked in mild temperatures and sunny skies during the afternoon as the temperature rose to 51°, the first reading in the 50s since Jan. 2 (when the high was also 51°).  This respite broke a nine-day streak with colder than average temperatures (but below average temperatures would return the next day).  Before the sun came out a period of heavy rain fell before sunrise, amounting to 0.82". 

 

MARCH

March 5 - Sunny and cold (high/low of 37°/23°) with very low humidity in the afternoon, which bottomed out at 17% between 3-4:00.  This was the lowest humidity reported in Central Park since the first week of May last year.

March 9 - Under fair skies, the temperature rose into the 60s for the first time this year, about five weeks later than the typical date for this occurrence.  The day's high of 64° was the mildest reading since Thanksgiving Day (when the high was 65°).  Also, the air was also quite dry, dropping to 23% during the afternoon.

March 12 - One week after the humidity dropped to 17%, it was even lower this afternoon, bottoming out at 13% during mid-afternoon.  The last time Central Park reported a level lower than this was on today's date in 2016, when it was 12%.  Today's humidity was at 20% or lower for 11 consecutive hours.  Besides the low humidity, the day also featured very mild temperatures, with a high of 68°.  The day also had the year's first low in the 50s.

March 15 - Afternoon humidity fell to 12% during the afternoon, the lowest reported in Central Park since March 2016.  Additionally, dew points were extraordinary low, dropping below zero a few hours before daybreak and remaining sub-zero thru the wee hours of 3/16.  (And during the afternoon they were below -10°.)  Today was also the 14th day in a row with no measurable precipitation, the longest streak of dry weather since last June.

March 17 - This was the 16th day in a row with no measurable precipitation, matching last year's longest dry streak in September; these are the longest dry spells since an 18-day streak in the fall of 2017.  

March 18 - After one of the driest first halves of March on record (0.16" was measured), light rain that began at around 9 AM continued for the rest of the day.  The rain amounted to 0.60", and was the first measurable precipitation since 3/1.   Temperatures were mostly stuck in the mid-40s.  

March 26 - Between noon and 2:00 winds shifted from the southeast to the southwest and the temperature jumped from the low 60s to low 80s.  Today’s high of 82°, a record for the date, and the first reading in the 80s in March since 1998.   This early jump into summer was a surprise since the predicted high was in the low 70s.  This became the eighth year to have its first reading of 80+ in March, and the fourth earliest date (after March 13, 1990; March 20, 1945, and March 21, 1921).  Interestingly, this early first 80 followed last summer’s early last 80, which happened on 9/10.

 

APRIL

1 - Temperatures were in the chilly 44°-50° range during the Home Opener of the Yankees, made even chillier by blustery conditions, as winds gusted between 25-30 mph.  The only positive aspect of the day (the Yankees lost to Toronto in 10 innings) was that the sun began to break through the overcast skies during the second half of the game. 

4 - Despite starting out overcast, it turned into a beautiful Easter Sunday as the skies cleared late in the morning, and the temperature rose to 65°.   The air was also quite dry, with the relative humidity falling to 23% late in the afternoon.  

6 - On a stunningly beautiful day, the high reached 70° and the humidity dropped to 7% late in the afternoon – the lowest humidity level reported in Central Park since 2007 (6% on March 30).  This followed 13% humidity yesterday afternoon (and March had a day with 12% humidity, and two others with 13%).  For five hours the humidity stayed below 10% (and dew points were in the 3°-5° range).

8 -  Skies were sunny, the mercury rose to 70°, and the Mets came from behind in the bottom of the ninth inning to win their home opener against Miami, 3-2.  As so often happens, the Mets had better home-opener weather than the Yankees, as skies were brighter, and it was about twenty degrees warmer.  

28 - In a span of ten hours the mercury shot from 52° (at 4AM) to 85° (2PM), the warmest reading since Sept. 5 (when the high also reached 85°).   Yesterday's high, by contrast, was a slightly below average 64°.  Today's diurnal variation of 33 degrees was the greatest since Jan. 13, 2018, when it was 39 degrees (high/low of 58°/19°).  This was the year's second reading in the 80s, occurring five weeks after the first. 

 

MAY

18 - This morning's low of 60° was the first low in the 60s this year, the latest date for this occurrence since 2003 (when it happened on 5/30).  Under partly cloudy skies, the high rose to 82°.  (Last year's first 60+ low was also late, occurring on 5/15.)  Since 1980, the typical date of the first 60+ low has been 5/2. 

26 - It was a warm and sticky day.  Temperatures varied greatly in the area, as the high reached 86° in Central Park (and at LaGuardia), while Kennedy Airport was just 75°, and Newark Airport's high was 94° (its fourth reading in the 90s this month; CPK had none).  Rain showers in the early evening and around midnight produced 0.07" of rain, the most in two-and-a-half-weeks.  (Because severe thunderstorms were predicted, the Mets and Yankees postponed their games, but the storms didn't materialize.)   

28 - Morning sunshine gave way to overcast skies in the afternoon, and rain moved in after 4:00 (just as the Memorial Day weekend was getting underway).  The rain became steady and wind-swept after dark (peak gust was 36 mph at Central Park), and amounted to 1.22", which was a record amount for the date (the rain continued thru the morning of 5/29).  The temperature dropped from 69° in the early afternoon to 49° less than twelve hours later.  This was the latest date for a reading in the 40s since 2000 (when it happened on 6/7). 

30 - Today’s very cool high/low of 51°/47° was identical to yesterday’s.  But while yesterday’s high tied for the coolest high on 5/29, today’s high broke the record by four degrees.  These highs were 24 degrees below average (and more typical of the first day of spring).  Today’s and yesterday’s high/low were the chilliest back-to-back days in late May since May 25-26, 1967 (46°/42° and 53°/46°).  And also like yesterday, there were gray skies and rain, with 0.89" falling from sunrise to mid-afternoon.  The 48-hour rainfall total (from two storm systems, beginning late afternoon on 5/28) was 2.57”, which was nearly 50% more than what fell between May 1-27 (1.77”). 

Coincidentally, May 29-30 of last year had the same, but much warmer, high/low:  81°/67°.  This is just the second time that the same dates in  consecutive years had temperature "twins" (the other instance was in 1897 ad 1898 on July 27-28).

31 - Today, Memorial Day, was the fourth day in a row with a low in the 40s, tying May 1884 for the latest streak of this many days.  (However, 1884's streak was chillier: 48°-43°-42°-48° vs. this year's 49°-47°-47°-49°.   This was the chilliest three-day Memorial Day weekend on record.  Although Memorial Day was eight degrees cooler than average (high/low of 70°/49°), it felt summer-like compared to Saturday and Sunday, which were overcast, rainy and very cool, with each day having a high/low of just 51°/47°. 

 

JUNE

6 - Central Park had its first reading in the 90s this year (92°), as well its first low in the 70s (76°) -  the first time since 2013 that both occurred on the same date.  Today's first low in the 70s fell on the same date as last year's; the last time this happened was in 1988 and 1989 (when the date was 5/30).  This weekend's highs of 89°/91°, and those of two weeks ago, 89°/88°, were in very stark contrast to last weekend's highs of 51°/51° (Memorial Day weekend). 

9 - With a high of 90°, this was the fourth, and last, day of a four-day heat wave.  (And the day before the heat wave started, the high reached 89°.)  This was the first heat wave of this length in June since 2008.  And although that heat wave's average high was significantly hotter (95° vs. 91°), this June's heat wave had low temperatures that were significantly warmer (75° vs 70°).  It was also very humid, with dew points largely in the 68°-72° range, producing afternoon heat indices in the mid-90s.  With four days in the 90s through 6/9, this was the earliest for that number of days since 2000, when the fourth such reading occurred on 6/2 (ironically, that year would have only seven in total). 

12 - Today's high/low of 69°/62° was the same as yesterday's (and skies were overcast both days).  This followed another pair of days with the same high/low just just a few days earlier, as June 8 and 9 each had a high/low of 90°/72°.   (And June 6 and 7 missed being "twin" days by one degree, as the highs/lows were 92°/76° and 91°/76°).   Two weeks earlier, on Memorial Day weekend, the high/low on both days was 51°/47°.  (A typical years has two or three of these temperature twins.) 

 

Comments

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Landen

Not only did the 82° high on March 26 break the 1922 record by six degrees, it was NYC's earliest 80 degree day since 3/13/1990 (the earliest 80 on record), a day earlier than 1998's first 80, but it was also the first time since 1977 that NYC had its first 60, 70, and 80 degree days in March. Has this happened before 1977 or no?

Henry

Answer to Landen’s question: 1945, 1977, and 1989 are the other years in which the first 60-, 70-, and 80-degree readings occurred in March. Another unusual warm-up occurred in 1892 (although this instance was in early April instead of March) in which the first 60-, 70-, and 80-degree readings occurred on three consecutive days (April 2-4).

Ethan

1989 did not have its first 60 degree day in March because there was a record high of 67° on 2/1. That years first 60 degree day was on 1/24 when the high was 61°.

Henry

Thank you for correcting me. Funny how even I caught my mistake after I posted my comment. The correct answer (which can also be found in the March 2021 post): 1945, 1977, and 2021 are the three years in which the first 60-, 70-, and 80-degree readings occurred in March.

William

every single week (beginning on 3/5 and ending on 4/2) kept alternating from chilly one Friday to mild the next Friday and back to chilly again the following Friday and so on.

3/5: the high/low was 37/23
3/12: the high/low was 68/52
3/19: the high/low was 43/31
3/26: the high/low was 82/52
4/2: the high/low was 39/28
and the high on 4/9 was expected to be somewhere on either side of 60° at the time of when this comment was first posted.

Henry

Seven of the ten previous Easters had pleasant highs in the 60s.

2012 (4/8): 67 degrees
2014 (4/20): 60 degrees
2015 (4/5): 61 degrees
2018 (4/1): 60 degrees
2019 (4/21): 66 degrees
2020 (4/12): 63 degrees
2021 (4/4): 65 degrees

All these readings ranged from seasonable to 10 degrees above average.

Henry

The first eight days of April (1-3 having February-like temperatures and 4-8 having pleasant springtime conditions) contained a wider range of temperatures (high/low of 72/28) than the entire April last year (high/low of 68/36).

Landen

What were the highs on easter 2013 (3/31) and 2016 (3/27) because I know the high in 2017 (4/16) was 87°

Rob

The high/low in both years was very similar: 54/44 in 2013, 55/43 in 2016.

Rob

And in terms of precipitation, April is starting out like March, with rain falling on the first day of each month, followed by and extended dry spell. However, it appears the dry period in April won't last as long.

Joaquin

This April, it has been a roller coaster ride for temperatures! Yes or no?

Ethan

The forecast for Wednesday, 4/28 in nyc is in the mid 80s. Is there a possibility it could hit 90 for the 1st time this year?

Henry

Answer to Joaquin: The most likely answer is no. Big temperature swings are common in April as a result of the alternating sequences of the warm air coming from the South and the retreating Arctic air (the wind direction and the strength of the sun are factors too). Therefore the high temperature in April can range from the low 40s to the mid 80s. To state a few years as examples, Aprils 2019 and 2021 are the rules, and April 2020 is the exception where the air mass was almost steady.

Henry

Answer to Ethan: There is a possibility. I have noticed that the strength of the sun (especially when the sun is high in the spring and summer) can sometimes propel the temperature up to a few degrees higher than the forecast. To state examples, this is what happened on the first 80-degree days in 2018 (4/13), 2019 (4/19), 2020 (5/3), and 2021 (3/26). The original forecast for these days was the mid-to-high 70s.

Henry

So today (April 28), the sun boosted the temperature up to 85 degrees. This is the warmest April reading since the last weekend in April 2017 (which had 85 degrees on 4/28 and 4/29). So while our speculation of a possible 90-degree reading did not happen, we still had our first 85-degree reading today.

Joaquin

I feel like the month of May has been cool (especially the beginning of May and like last year), and this year is no exception. Why is this?

Rob

So you've already forgotten that we had a high in the low 80s on 5/2? Actually, the month's temperatures have been slightly above average. In general, weather patterns are influenced by the position of the jet stream.

Joaquin

No, I am talking about this upcoming pattern. A cool wave is forecast this weekend and next week. I didn’t forget that 80-degree day on May 2nd. Lol.

Ethan

This year has still yet to see its first 60 degree low (it got close with a low of 59 on 4/29). When was the last time nyc has had its first 60+ low this late in the year?

Rob

2003's first low of 60+ wasn't until 5/30. And like this year, 2003 had a low of 59 on 4/29. (By the way, last year's first 60+ low was on 5/15.)

Joaquin

Talking about low temps of 60+, what is the average date of NYC's first 60+ degree low?

Rob

Since 1990, the average date has been April 30. During this period the dates have ranged from 3/10 (in 2016) to 6/1 (in 1997).

William

2020 and 2021 was the first instance of consecutive years to have the first low of 60° or warmer happen on or after May fifteenth since 1994 (5/24) and 1995 (5/22). all but two of the years in the 2010s decade (2011 and 2016 are excluded) had the first low of 60° or warmer in either the first half of April or in the first half of May.

William

New York City’s Central Park and Boston Logan International Airport in Massachusetts both had the exact same amount of snow for the 2020-2021 season (38.6”). however, Boston’s snow season lasted from the day of Halloween to April (November had no measurable snow), while Central Park’s snow season lasted from December to February.

Henry

We are now past the cool wave in early May. If the second half of May is warmer than average as predicted, this year will have the warmest spring since 2012. This spring, the daily high temperatures were well above average (including 82 degrees on 3/26, 85 degrees on 4/28, twelve 60+ degree days in March, and ten 70+ degree days in April). But the daily low temperatures have been slow in rising. Today (May 18) had the first low of 60 degrees this year.

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