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A Look Back at 2023's Weather - New York's Warmest Year on Record

 

Trophy

 

Despite a summer with temperatures that were slightly below average, 2023 unseated 2012 as New York City's warmest year on record.  What captured the crown for 2023 were four very mild months: January (mildest on record, 9.8 degrees above average); February (third mildest); April (second mildest); and December (second mildest). 

 Chart - 2023 became NYCs warmest year

Although 2023 had the warmest average temperature on record (i.e., the average of the high and low), it ranked third for average high (behind 1991 and 1990). 

  Chart - 5 warmest years by temp  high  low (2023) 

Not only was the year very mild, it was also a wet one, the eleventh wettest on record, with 59.26" measured (2021 is ranked tenth, with 59.73".)   Rainfall was nearly ten inches above average (and thirteen inches more than 2022).  This ten-inch overage was largely due to September, which had 14.25" of rain - the fourth greatest monthly amount on record.  

 

Despite the excessive precipitation, consistently mild wintertime temperatures (third mildest winter on record) weren't conducive to snow, and the 2.3" that fell (from three snowfalls of 0.4", 1.8", and 0.1") was the smallest amount Central Park reported for any winter.  The previous winter with the least snowfall was 1972-73, with 2.8" (average winter snowfall is about 26"). 

 

The year had four months with 6.50” or more of rain: April (7.70"); August (6.56"); September (14.25"); and December (6.71").  These four months accounted for 60% of the year's precipitation.  Only five other years have had this many months with 6.50" of precipitation (2018, 2007, 1989, 1983 and 1901).  

 

Despite 2023 receiving ten inches more precipitation than average, it was the eleventh year to have three months in the first half of the year with less than two inches of precipitation.  February and May were the driest months of the year, with both receiving just 1.28”.  And June wasn't far off, with 1.62".  

 

There were 12 days with highs in the 90s in 2023, the fewest since 2014, which had eight (average is 17 days).  The year's hottest temperature was just 93°; the last time a summer had a hottest reading this "cool" was in 2014.  Additionally, June had the fewest highs in the 80s since June 1985, and August was the first since August 1986 to have no readings in the 90s.  But while the number of days in the 90s was well below average, the number of lows in the 70s was well above average (50). 

 

Here are some other interesting aspects of 2023:

  • Every day in January had above average temperatures.
  • The winter of 2023's first measurable snow didn't happen until 2/1, the latest date for this occurrence of any winter.
  • April 2023 became  just the sixth April to have two days with highs in the 90s.  And the low of 70° on 4/14 was the earliest reading in the 70s on record.
  • The year's first reading in the 90s was very early, on 4/13, and the last reading in the 80s was very late, on 10/28.
  • 2023's hottest reading of 93° was three degrees cooler than the typical hottest reading of a year, and the year's lowest temperature, 3° on 2/4, was six degrees colder than the typical coldest reading of a year. 
  • A typical year has 70 days with lows of 32° or colder, but in 2023 there were only 28 such days.  And there was just one day with a high of 32° or colder (the average is 18 days).
  • Three inches of September's rain fell in an hour on 9/29 (during a rainstorm that dumped 5.48" in total).
  • The first three weeks of April had just 0.40" of rain, but the month ended up being the seventh rainiest April after 7.30” fell in the last nine days of the month.  The rain was from three rainstorms, each producing more than two inches of rain.
  • Smoke from forest fires in Canada choked the area in an orange-colored haze during June 7-8 and again on the last three days of the month (but it wasn't as bad as the first round).


Orange new york haze-breslov institute

 

Here are recaps of previous years:

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

 


Disputing Central Park's Last 1-Inch Snowfall

 

 Snowfall

 

For the past month I've been scratching my head over the National Weather Service and The Weather Channel touting that Central Park hasn’t had a snowfall of an inch or more in nearly two years (since Feb. 13, 2022).  But that’s simply not true, and their observation appears to be based on a flawed understanding of what a "snowfall" is.

 

Last winter, Central Park had a snowfall of 1.8” on Feb. 27-28, with 0.9” falling on 2/27 (in the evening) and another 0.9” on 2/28 (in the wee hours of the morning).  As I see it, the entirety of the snow event determines a snowfall amount, not the confines of a calendar date.  (Snowflakes don’t abide by boundaries of calendar dates, as half of significant snowfalls since 1950 have begun on one date and ended the next day.)

 

Many of us are well aware that last winter was the least snowy on record, so scraping together an artificial factoid isn't needed for us to appreciate the lack of snow in New York. 

 

 

1.6 inches of snowWRONG!

 


New York's Top Weather Stories of 2022


Top stories

After 2020 and 2021 were among the ten mildest years on record in NYC (ranked second and eighth, respectively) 2022 was somewhat "cooler" as it ranked 16th (out of 154 years).  And it was significantly drier, with 13 inches less precipitation than 2021 (but it was an average amount).

 

Perhaps the biggest weather story of 2022 was the heat of the summer. Despite having a very late date for the first high in the 80s (5/21) the year had 25 days with highs in the 90s, which was the most since 2010.  For just the 12th time, July and August each had 10 or more days with highs in the 90s.  Every day in July had a high of 80° or warmer, and a six-day heat wave that month (7/19-24) was the longest one in ten years.  Nighttime temperatures were also balmy as July-August had the most lows in the 70s on record (46, compared to an average of 29).  Finally, a seven-day streak with lows of 75° or warmer in August was that month's second longest streak of its kind.  

 

As the year came to a close a "flash" cold snap at Christmastime came close to eclipsing July and August's heat as the year's top weather story.  This incursion of Arctic cold produced 1) the biggest temperature drop in one day (50 degrees); 2) the coldest reading since January 2019; 3) the coldest reading in December since 1989; and 4) the coldest reading on 12/24 since 1983.  As the Arctic air approached it was preceded by the year's biggest rainstorm on 12/23-24 when 2.05" of rain fell (1.33" fell in a one-hour period).  Other highlights of 2022:

 

  • The year began with a cold and snowy January (3.4 degrees below average, 15.3" of snow). 
  • Four months were well above average: August (+3.2 degrees); November (+2.9 degrees); March (+2.5 degrees); and July (+2.0 degrees). 
  • 2022's coldest reading was 7° on 12/24, hottest was 97° on 8/9.
  • A high/low of 33°/23° on 3/28 was one of the coldest days so late in the season since 1982.
  • A high of 77° on 11/7 was the mildest reading in November since 2003.  And the three days with lows in the 60s was the most in November since 1982.
  • The temperature on the day of the NYC Marathon (high/low of 75°/66°) was the warmest of the races run in November (since 1990). 
  • There was no measurable snow in November-December, joining just 14 other years with no measurable snow in those two months. 

 

Here are recaps of previous years:

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

 

 

 


A Look At Mild Winter Months With the Most Snow & Cold Winter Months With Little Snow

 

Counterintuitive

 

January 2023 was the mildest on record and had just a trace of snow (on three days); the two seem to go hand in hand.  That said, I was curious about mild winter months with appreciable snowfall and cold winter months with relatively little.  Call it an analysis of counter-intuitives.

 

Nearly 40% of  months that are among the 10 mildest between December and March have had no snow or just a trace.  But of the mildest months to report snow, the snowiest was February 2017 (ranked as the second mildest February) which had 9.4" of snow.  This amount fell on one day, 2/9, and came after a high temperature of 62° the day before.  The second most snowfall was in Feb. 1991 with 9.1".  8.9" of that amount was from a storm near the end of the month.

 

Chart - mild month with snow

On average, a top-10 coldest month in the winter (December thru March) averages 12 inches of snow.  The least snowy of these coldest months was December 1989 (ranked third coldest December) which reported just 1.4" of snow that fell during three non-consecutive days (0.1" on 12/13, 0.7" on 12/15 and 0.6" on 12/30).

 

Chart - coldest months with little snow
   

FYI, the snowiest month among the 10 coldest of each winter month is March 1896 which had 30.5".  Much of the snow fell from two storms, one of 11 inches and another of 10 inches.


A History of Biggest & Smallest Swings in Daily Temperatures in New York City

 

Kidsonswings

 

The range in daily temperature in Central Park, also known as diurnal variation, is typically 14 degrees, and ranges from 11 degrees in December and January, to 17 degrees in May.  However, variations by individual days generally range between five and thirty degrees.  Variations are affected by atmospheric conditions such as humidity, cloud cover, passage of cold/warm fronts, wind direction, and precipitation.

 

On Dec. 23, 2022 mild air drawn up the coast by a fast-moving coastal storm crashed into a strong Arctic front moving southeastward, resulting in a drop in temperature from 58° to 8°.  This 50-degree plunge established a new record for greatest temperature drop of any calendar date, breaking the previous record of a 48-degree nosedive more than 100 years earlier, on March 28, 1921.  (That drop, however, is more impressive because it happened in just 10 hours while 2022’s drop took twice as long.)

 

Drops in temperature of 40 degrees or more in a day are infrequent, with just 19 such instances reported since 1869 (about once every seven years).  However, this year’s was the first drop of 40+ degrees of the century; the previous occurrence was on Dec. 22, 1998.  (Oddly enough, 1962 and 1990 each experienced two of these drops.)

 

At the other end of the spectrum are daily variations of, one, two, or three degrees.  There have been only seven instances of days with a one-degree change (in other words, happening once every generation).  The last time was on Dec. 14, 1996 (the high/low was 40°/39°).  Days with variances of two degrees occur, on average, once every two years (most recently on May 13, 2018 when the high/low was 54°/52°).  And an average year sees one or two days with three-degree variations (most recently on Jan. 28, 2022 when the high/low was 32°/29°).

 

Most of the big daily swings in temperature have occurred between January and May. For the purposes of this analysis I chose changes of 33 degrees or more as the qualifier.  Swings of this magnitude have occurred nearly 200 times (thru 2022), an average of 1.3 days per year.  1990 has had the most - seven days.  (Sixteen years have had no such days, including three in a row from 1982 to 1984.)

 

By month, the smallest difference between the average high and low occurred in November 1977, when it was only 8.4 degrees (high of 51.5°/low of 43.1°).  The greatest difference between the high/low was 21.6 degrees in May 1941 (high of 75.5°/low of 53.9°).

 

Half of the months with variations less than 11 degrees have occurred since 2001, while just 20% of variations greater than 18 degrees have occurred in this century (the last time was in May 2015 when there was a 19.8 degree variation). This is likely a function of global warming, as overnight temperatures have risen at a faster rather than high temperatures.

 

Although daily temperature variations of two or three degrees occur just a couple of times each year, in 1970 there were five such occurrences in a fifteen-day period, between Dec. 11-25.

 

Finally, the most instances of a variation of 33+ degrees by date have occurred on April 19 and April 25, both which have had it happen six times.  April 25th's include the consecutive years of 1960, 1961 and 1962.

 

 Chart - biggest temp changes - as of dec 2022 Chart - days with 1 degree variation


Friday the 13th Weather Highlights

 


Friday 13th

 

Friday the 13th appears on the calendar one to three times each year.  But despite the date's association with impending doom, the weather on this date has been a mixed bag of weather conditions.  Of the dates listed below, half had inclement conditions - but none cataclysmic in nature.  Therefore, from a weather perspective, there's no need to fear Friday the 13th more than the other days of the year.

 

Hottest: 95° (July 13, 1979)

Coldest: -1° (Feb. 13, 1914)

Rainiest: 2.61" (March 13, 1953)

Snowiest: 7.8" (Feb. 13, 1939)

 

September 13, 1889 

A dissipating hurricane stalled off the Delmarva Peninsula and brought bands of rain over the course of the past four days, amounting to 4.46", with much of it (3.34") falling yesterday and today.  Except for one hour this afternoon, the temperature was stuck in the 60s.  

 

August 13, 1909

The day's 0.81" of rain poured down between 10 AM and noon.

 

February 13, 1914

The morning low of -1° is the most frigid reading to occur on any Friday the 13th (in the years since 1900).  After dark, snow began falling and by midnight 1.6" had accumulated and the temperature rose to 26°.  This evening's snow was followed by 8.1" during the morning of the 14th.

 

January 13, 1939 

Beginning mid-afternoon, a snowfall of 8.8" (1.0" of it fell on 1/14) tied the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 11/24-25 as the biggest snowfall of the season.  It was also the most snow to fall on any Friday the 13th.

 

August 13, 1943

A strong thunderstorm dumped 0.80" of rain in less than an hour between 10:00 and 11:00 this morning.

 

March 13, 1953

The 2.61" of rain that fell during the morning made this the rainiest Friday the 13th in the years since 1900.  This rain was from a nor'easter that moved in yesterday afternoon (when 1.17" of rain fell).  The amount was a record for the date (broken in 2010 when 3.86" of rain fell). 

 

September 13, 1957

Today's high of 91° was the century's first reading in the 90s on a Friday the 13th (it would happen three more times: July 1962, August 1976 and July 1979).

 

April 13, 1962 

After going four years without a National League baseball team to call its own, the New York Mets played their first home opener, in unseasonably cold conditions, with a high/low of 43°/38° (nine degrees below average).  Windy and overcast, there were showers before daybreak and again late in the afternoon, amounting to 0.13".  As for the game, the Mets lost to the Pirates, 4-3.

 

November 13, 1970

A nor'easter produced 1.66" of rain that fell through early evening.

 

January 13, 1978

A nasty winter storm brought snow in the morning and early afternoon and an onslaught of sleet and rain after dark.  The ice and snow accumulated 3.0"; liquid precipitation amounted to one inch.  The temperature was at 32° or colder all day until after 10 PM when it rose to 33.°  (One week later 13.6" of snow would bury the City.)

 

July 13, 1979

The day's high was 95°, and with dew points during the afternoon in the the 73°-75° range, the heat index reached 106°

 

December 13, 1985 

A breeze out of the northeast, low clouds and periods of drizzle kept the temperature from moving much as just two degrees separated the high (40°) and low (38°).  

 

October 13, 1995 

Today's high hit 86°, twenty degrees above the average high for the middle of October.

 

February 13, 1998 

Today was the 30th day in a row with above-average temperatures - and 42nd out of the last 43 (beginning Jan. 2).  The mean temperature during this six-week period was nine degrees above average.  

 

May 13, 2005 

For the third day in a row the high was an unseasonably warm 86°, seventeen degrees above average.  

 

April 13, 2012 

Despite it being Friday the 13th, skies were clear, temperatures pleasant (low 60s, a few degrees above average), and the Yankees won their home opener, beating the Angels, 5-0.  However, from Yankee Stadium smoke could be seen in the distance, rising from a brush fire in Central Park as very low humidity posed a threat for brush fires throughout the area.

 

June 13, 2014 

Heavy showers moved through the area around 9 AM, and a severe thunderstorm struck between 5:45 and 7:30 PM.  In between, during the afternoon, the sun broke through for the first time in five days.  The 1.28" of rain that fell came one year after 1.26" fell on the same date.

 

February 13, 2015

Although the coldest low on Friday the 13th is -1°, set in February 1914, the coldest high temperature occurred today, when it was only 21° (the day's low was 8°; in 1914 the high was 26°)

 

April 13, 2018 

Today's high soared to 82° the day after the high reached 63° (which was the mildest reading in more than seven weeks).  This was eight days earlier than a year's typical first 80-degree reading.  And this morning's low of 60° was what the average high should be.

 

August 13, 2021

A sweltering high/low of 94°/78° produced the hottest mean temperature of any Friday the 13th (as mentioned earlier, July 13, 1979 has the hottest high temperature of any Friday the 13th - 95°). 

 


Hurricanes & Tropical Storms That Affected New York Before 1970

 

Hurricane swirling clouds

 

Similar to tropical systems that have lashed NYC since 1970, the average frequency in the years before 1970 is once every two years.  What follows is a year-by-year listing of more than 50 pre-1970 hurricanes (as well as remnants of downgraded storms).  1954 stands out for having four tropical systems that affected the metro area.  At the other end of the spectrum, the 20 years between 1894 and 1914 saw just three tropical systems in total.  Please note that the first named storm to affect New York, Barbara, was in 1953.

 

1869

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).

1872

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

1874

September 29 – What was once the season's sixth hurricane moved over New York as a tropical storm, dropping 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.

1876

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).

1877

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

 

Heavy rain clip art2

 

1878

October 23 - The center of a dissipated hurricane and tropical storm, referred to as the "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

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

1880

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"). 

1882

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 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 was NYC's wettest month on record until Aug. 2011 when 18.95" was measured.

 

Heavy rain

1885

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

1886

June 23 - An early 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°).

1888

August 21 - As it traveled just north of the City on its way to New England, the remnants of a category 3 hurricane that struck south Florida and later Louisianar soaked the City with 4.12" of rain (a record for the date that still stands).

1889

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 a streak of nine days in a row with rain (and ten out of eleven); total rainfall during this period was around six inches.

1893

August 19-20 – A hurricane approached New York during the evening.  A peak gust of 85 mph was clocked and 3.81" of rain fell (1.34" today, and 2.34" on the 20th).

August 23 – 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".

1903

September 16 - A category 1 hurricane made landfall on the Jersey shore in the morning, delivering a brief period of heavy rain to New York between 11 AM-2 PM; 1.63" was measured.

October 8-9, 1903 - A stalled hurricane (that weakened to tropical storm status), and a low-pressure system that formed along an approaching cold front, combined to create a tremendous rainstorm that produced 11.63" over 26 hours.  The deluge started late in the morning of the 8th (4.30" was measured) and continued thru mid-afternoon on the 9th (when 7.33" fell).  Rain fell at a rate of an inch every two hours for a large portion of the storm; at its most intense, 2.54" fell from 9-11 AM on the 9th.  At the time the rainfall on the storm's second day was New York's second greatest daily amount (behind 8.28” that fell 21 years earlier on Sept. 23); it's now ranked fourth.

1904

September 14-15 - After three weeks in which just 0.01" of rain fell, 3.84" poured down from a hurricane that crossed the eastern end of Long Island,and tore 19 barges from their moorings in New York Harbor.  The rain was split pretty evenly between the evening of 9/14 and the following morning.

1915

August 4 – What was the season’s first hurricane, which developed near Florida, brought 3.25” of rain (mostly between 6-10 AM) as it passed by New York City as a tropical storm.  A gust of 53 mph was clocked at Central Park.  Today’s amount of rain was a record for the date (which still stands).

1916

May 16-17 - The remnants of the year's first (and very early) tropical system produced a record amount of rain for the date (2.66"), with almost all of it falling after 4 PM.  And an additional 0.30" fell in the pre-dawn hours of the 17th. 

1924

August 25-26 - A dissipating hurricane southeast of Long Island, moving in the direction of Cape Cod, brought tropical storm-force winds and 3.03" of rain to New York.  Rain began the evening of the 25th and continued thru late morning on the 26th, with 2.29" measured (1.13" fell between midnight and 2 AM).

1925

December 1-5 – A large, meandering, extra-tropical system brought squalls and gusty winds over the course of five days.  2.76” of rain fell during this period, with the wettest day being 12/3, when 1.63” was measured (but none of the rain was torrential; the greatest two-hour totals were 0.41” from midnight-2 AM, and 0.36” between 8-10 PM.  Winds gusting to 35 mph were common on the 3rd and 4th.

1928

September 19-20 - Remnants of the Great Okeechobee Hurricane (which killed 2,500+ in central Florida on 9/17) dampened the City with 1.70" of rain; 1.29" fell on the 19th (showers fell throughout the day, with 0.58" falling between 10 AM-noon), and 0.41" fell in the wee hours of the 20th (with 0.29" falling between midnight-1 AM).

 

Lake okeechobee hurricane of 1928

 

1929

October 1-2 - The remnants of the season's second hurricane moved through eastern Pennsylvania, producing 2.55" of rain.  2.16" of it fell on 10/2, with most of it falling between 5 AM-3 PM.  This amount was a record for the date (which still stands). 

1930  

September 13-14 - A hurricane off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, pushed rain squalls into the area after 10 PM on the 13th that continued through the wee hours of the 14th.  The 0.75" that fell (0.56" of it on the 14th) comprised half of the rainfall of a dry September (at the time, the tenth driest September; now ranked 21st).  This was the smallest amount of rain from a tropical system since 0.73" fell on Oct. 23, 1878.

1932

September 16 - A weakening tropical storm to the southeast of Long Island brought showers.  And although it was just 0.68”, similar to the hurricane of Sept. 1930, it accounted for more than half of the month’s paltry rainfall (8th driest September; now ranked 15th).   This was the third September in a row with less than two inches of rain (then Sept. 1933 and 1934 would each have more than ten inches).

October 17-18 - Tropical moisture from a tropical storm that dissipated over West Virginia, produced 3.24” of rain, much of which fell between 9 PM on the 17th to daybreak on the 18th (2.58”).  The rain was also accompanied by tropical storm-force winds.  This was the most rain to fall from a tropical system since 3.25" fell on Aug. 4, 1915.

1933

August 23 - The remnants of a hurricane that made landfall on the North Carolina/Virginia border moved north through central PA and upstate NY, dumping 2.23” of rain in Central Park, with much of it falling between 4-10 PM.  (0.14” was added in the wee hours of 8/24).  This came on the heels of a coastal storm on 8/21-22, which produced 3.28” of rain.    

1934

June 19 - 1.91” of rain fell, mostly before 9 AM, as the remnants of a category 2 hurricane that made landfall in Louisiana three days earlier moved just to the southeast of the metro area.  This was a record amount of rain for the date (a record that still stands).

September 8 - The strongest hurricane of the season brought heavy rain to the City when it crossed over the eastern end of Long Island.  There were two periods of heavy rain, the first between 6-10 AM, when 1.23" fell, and then much heavier rain fell from 5-11 PM, when 3.26" poured down.  (An additional 0.37" fell at other times during the day, bringing the day's total rainfall to 4.86".)  During the early evening, winds gusted between 45-50 mph.  This hurricane came four days after remnants of a tropical system brought 0.68” on 9/3-4.

1935

September 6 - The remnants of what was the Great Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys (nearly 500 were killed) brought heavy rain this morning, with 1.60” measured between 2-10 AM (most of it fell between 4-8 AM).

1936

September 18 - After receiving just 0.08" of rain in the first two-and-a-half weeks of the month, a weakening hurricane to the southeast dumped nearly four inches, with most of it falling between 2 PM and midnight.  It was also a chilly day, with temperatures falling into the upper 50s during the afternoon. 

1938

September 21 - New York was spared the ravages of the history-making hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which made landfall mid-afternoon, 65 miles to the east.  Still, the City had to contend with near hurricane-force winds and four inches of rain, half of which fell between 1-4 PM.  Besides the wind and rain, it was also chilly, with the temperature dropping slowly all day, from the low-60s to low-50s.  Today's deluge followed two days of steady rain that amounted to 3.45".

 

1938 new england hurricane

 

1939

August 19 - The biggest rainfall of the year was produced by the remnants of the season's second hurricane, which made two landfalls in Florida, on the east coast and along the state's Panhandle.  The 2.31" that was measured fell between noon and midnight.  It fell heaviest after 8 PM, when more than half of the rain fell.  

1944

September 14 - "The Great Atlantic Hurricane" raced up the Mid-Atlantic coast and veered to the east of NYC (making landfall near East Hampton on Long Island), dumping 3.82" of rain between 4-11 PM, and lashing the City with gale force winds that gusted between 40 and 50 mph (and 70-80 mph at LaGuardia Airport).  Today's rainfall came on top of 3.94" that fell yesterday and 1.64" the day before for a three-day total of 9.40".  The New York metro area was the bullseye for the heaviest rainfall.

 

Great atlantic hurricane of 1944
 

October 20-21 - The remnants of the season’s 13th hurricane, that made landfall in North Carolina, produced 1.29” of rain between 7 PM-4 AM.

1950

August 19-20 - The season’s first hurricane brought two periods of heavy rain as it moved from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod.  The first, from 11 AM-4 PM on the 19th saw 1.43”, with 1.04” of it falling between 1-2 PM.  Then, on the 20th, 1.46” was measured between 7 AM-3 PM, with 0.63” falling in the initial hour.  (However, this storm wouldn’t be as severe as Thanksgiving weekend's nor’easter three months later, which blasted the City with winds that gusted to 70 mph.)

1952

February 3-4 – The earliest tropical system on record brought 0.64” of rain late on 2/3 through the morning of 2/4.

September 1 – Remnants of the season’s first hurricane (which made landfall in South Carolina the day before) moved to the west of NYC and brought 1.17” of rain, with most of it falling between 10A-1PM.  This was a little more than half of the month’s total rainfall.

1953

August 14 - Twelve hours of rain from hurricane Barbara between 10 AM-10 PM measured 0.92”, which was almost half of the month’s total rainfall.

Barbara

1954

June 13 - 0.52” of rain fell between 3-7 AM (most of it between 4-5:00) from a tropical storm out in the Atlantic.  After skies cleared, the mercury rose into the upper 80s.

August 30-31 - Hurricane Carol made landfall on eastern Long Island (as a category 3) and brushed the City with gale force winds and 1.71" of rain, which began last night and continued today through late morning. 

September 11 - Less than two weeks after Hurricane Carol, Hurricane Edna made itself known (as it headed to Cape Cod), dumping 3.30" of rain (nearly twice as much as from Carol), with most of it falling in the twelve hours between midnight and noon.  This was the biggest rainfall of the year.

 

Torrential rain
 

October 15 - Powerful hurricane Hazel (category 4 when it made landfall in North Carolina) moved through Pennsylvania on its way to Ontario, Canada.  It brought minimal rain to the City (0.39” was measured, almost all of which fell between 6-7 PM), but winds gusted to 40 mph in Central Park, and 66 mph at La Guardia. 

1955

August 11-13 - Hurricane Connie flooded New York with 7.11" of rain over the course of 39 hours, with the first band of heavy rain moving through late on 8/11.  Although the most rain fell on the 11th (3.62"), the heaviest sustained period of rain would be on the 12th from 3-9 AM, when 2.50" poured down.  Rain was more of an issue than the wind, which gusted between 35-45 mph, well below hurricane force.  This was New York's biggest rainstorm since the Great Hurricane of Sept. 1944.  And while this ranks as one of Central Park's biggest rain totals, LaGuardia Airport picked up five inches more.

August 18-19 - One week after the flooding rains from hurricane Connie, another tropical system, Diane, affected the region, but compared to Connie, Diane moved relatively quickly.  The first band of heavy rain moved in late on the 18th, and by 9 AM on the 19th the rain was over; less than two inches fell, but significant flooding resulted since the ground was over-saturated from the large amounts of rain from Connie.  Sustained winds got no higher than 30 mph (but winds gusted to 54 mph at LaGuardia Airport).

1956

September 27 - Tropical storm Flossy, which was a few hundred miles to the southeast, brought tropical storm-force winds and a small amount of rain (0.21”) from 9 PM-midnight.

1959

June 2 - Remnants of Tropical Storm Arlene produced 1.09” of rain that fell from noon today until 2AM on the 3rd (0.90” fell from 4-11 PM).

July 10 – Remnants of Hurricane Cindy produced 0.50” of rain between 6 PM on 7/10 and 3AM on the following day.

1960

July 30 – Heavy rain produced by tropical storm Brenda, which moved over NYC, amounted to 3.56” during a 12-hour period between 1 AM and 1 PM.  This was the biggest rainstorm in five years (since Hurricane Connie).  At the time this was the second greatest daily rainfall amount in the month of July (it's now third).

September 12 - Rain and high winds from hurricane Donna, which moved just to the east of Manhattan, lashed the area during the morning through the first half of the afternoon.  2.36" of rain fell (heaviest between 11 AM and 2 PM) and winds gusted between 40-50 mph; at LaGuardia Airport winds gusted to 90 mph, and 3.63" of rain fell.

 

Umbrella blown inside out 

 

1961

September 15 – The downgraded hurricane Debbie moved just to the east of NYC, and produced rain for just a three-hour period between 7-10 AM (and only 0.32” was measured).  

Septmber 20-21 – Moving in during the evening of 9/20, what was once Hurricane Esther brought 1.28” of rain, 1.05” of it on the 21st.  Rain fell hardest between 2-4 AM and 10 AM-noon.  (Before it made landfall in North Carolina a few days earlier, Esther was briefly a category 5 storm.)  Tropical storm-force winds lashed the City at around daybreak.  The rain produced by the storm accounted for 75% of the month’s rain (1.70”).

1962

August 28-29, 1962Hurricane Alma brought rain that fell in three stages: in the pre-dawn hours of the morning of the 28th, when 1.35” fell (0.81” of it in a two-hour period), then lighter amounts after 7 PM through 8AM  on the 29th,  and then a mid-afternoon downpour (0.12”).  In total, 1.95” of rain was measured.


Analysis: Temperatures Most Likely to be the Coldest or Hottest of Each Month

 


Warmest  coldest

 

Looking at all of the months of every year since the reporting of weather conditions  began in Central Park in 1869, the temperature that has the distinction of occurring the most times as a month's coldest reading is 52° in June, which has occurred in 25 years (most recently in 2016), or about once every six years.  And the daily high that's most frequently been the hottest of any month is 94° in July as well as in August; it's been the hottest reading in those two months 22 times (most recently in 2017 and 2021, respectively).

 

 Chart - most freq coldest warmest temps each month

 

Looking across months, the temperature that has had the most designations as hottest reading of a month is 92°, which has had that distinction 76 times across six months.  (Second most is 94°, which has been hottest 72 times across five months.)

 

Chart - most frequent hottest reading all months combined

 

By contrast, the daily low temperature with the most designations as coolest is 57°, which has been the coolest reading 45 times across four months.  Second most is 41 times for the lows of 17° and 52°, occurring in five months and four months, respectively.

 

Chart - most frequent chilliest reading all months combined

 

Here are the greatest concentrations by month:

August - 80% of its hottest readings have been between 89°-96° (an 8-degree range)

June - 75% of its hottest readings have been between 89°-96° (an 8-degree range)

June - 75% of its coolest readings have been between 49°-55° (a 7-degree range)

May - 73% of its coolest readings have been between 40°-46° (a 7-degree range), and 50% have been between 41°-44° (just a 4-degree range) 

 

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS

  • February and March have had the most different temperatures that have been coldest (both with 30) or warmest (both with 34), while June has had the fewest (15 and 19), with July having practically the same amount (16 and 19) .
  • The most frequent chilliest temperature in July, 60° (22 times), last happened in 1995, which is the longest current hiatus of any month for a temperature that has been coldest or warmest.  But despite this lengthy hiatus, it's still comfortably ahead of 58° and 59°, which have both happened 19 times.  Looking at warmest reading, the last time February's most frequent mildest reading occurred (58°) was in 2005.
  • For five years in a row (1989-1993), September's chilliest reading was 44°.  In five of the six years between 1946-1951 the hottest temperature in July was 94° (the outlier was 102° in 1949).  Also in July, five of the six years between 1973-78 had 58° as the coolest reading; the outlier was a low of 59° in 1974. 
  • Half of the 16 occurrences of the low of 13°, which is the most frequent coldest low temperature in December, were concentrated in the 15 years between 1886-1900.  The other eight 13° readings occurred in the course of the other 137 years.
  • Despite it being April's most frequent coldest low, there was a 31-year period between 1874-1904 when the low of 33° wasn't the coldest reading.  And the low of 42° in May (tied for the month's second most frequent low) had a hiatus of 36 years between 1893-1928.

 


Months With Warmest & Coldest Readings Just A Few Days Apart

 


In close proximity

 

For the purposes of this analysis, I've gathered together months that had their coldest and warmest temperature one or two days apart.  On average, this has happened about once every two-and-a-half years.  The difference between the coldest and warmest reading has been, on average, 42 degrees (ranging between swings of 29 and 61 degrees).  I've limited the months in this analysis to those with "solo" occurrences, i.e., months in which the hottest and coldest temperature occurred on just one date.  Through June 2023 there were 59 months that met this criterion.  The last time it happened was in June 2023, when the month's chilliest temperature occurred on 6/4 (49°), and hottest reading on 6/2 (91°).  Here are a few other observations:

 

  • By month, February has had the most instances (nine), while September had the fewest (one).  By season, winter has had 20 such months, summer had 15, spring had 14, and fall has had 10 months.
  • Although the average time between occurrences has been 2-1/2 years, in 1961 it happened in consecutive months (May and June).  And there have been three instances in which this type of month was just a month apart from the other:  Oct./Dec. 1871; Dec. 1882/Feb. 1883; and Aug./Oct. 1894.  (There have been no instances in which a month's temperature extremes occurred on the same day). 
  • The longest hiatus, which started in December 2009 recently ended in June 2023.  This is in contrast to the 15-year period between 1887-1901 when there were 13 months which had their warmest and coldest readings 1-2 days apart.  (Including five consecutive years, 1891-1895.)

 

GREATEST SWINGS IN A MONTH'S WARMEST-COLDEST TEMPERATURE WHEN 2 DAYS APART

>  March 1987/ 61 degrees/ from 76° to 15°

>  March 1988/59 degrees/ from 17° to 76°

>  Dec. 1871/ 57 degrees/ from -2° to 55°

>  Feb. 1967/ 56 degrees/ from 4° to 60°

>  April 1880/ 54 degrees/ from 26° to 80° 

 

GREATEST SWINGS IN A MONTH'S WARMEST-COLDEST  TEMPERATURE WHEN 1-DAY APART

Jan. 1934/ 52 degrees/ from 58˜ to 6°

>  Jan. 1913/ 45 degrees/ from 18° to 63°

>  June 1961/43 degrees/ from 96° to 43°

>  Feb. 1947/ 43 degrees/ from 50° to 7°

 

Finally, there have been nine months in which the temperature extremes occurred on the first and last day of the month, most recently in June 2009.

 

Chart - temp extremes 1st and last day of month

 

 

 


 


Greatest New York Weather 'Hits' of 2021

 

 Rainy 2021

 

Nationwide, 2021's top weather events included Arctic cold in Texas in mid-February that shut down much of the state's power grid; searing heat at the end of June never before experienced in the Pacific Northwest; and a deadly tornado outbreak that Kentucky bore the brunt of on Dec. 10-11.  Meanwhile, New York's biggest story was the  consecutive months of unprecedented rainfall in July-August-September, which culminated in flooding downpours from the remnants of hurricane Ida on the night of Sept. 1, a deluge that was responsible for the deaths of nearly 50 residents of NYC and outlying suburbs (comparable to superstorm Sandy's death toll in Oct. 2012). 

 

The year was the eighth mildest and tenth wettest on record.   Eight of 2021's months were warmer than average, led by December (+4.7°, third mildest) and October (+4.1°, sixth mildest).  These months book-ended the most below average month of the year, November (-1.8°). 

 

Although the year's nearly 60 inches of precipitation was 10 inches above average, seven of the months had below average rainfall.  More than half of the year's precipitation (52%) was in July, August, and September.  And nearly half of the rain in those three months came from tropical systems Henri (8.19") and Ida (7.13").  Here are other highlights of 2021:

 

Chart - 10 warmest and 10 wettest years

  • A snowstorm that began Jan. 31 and continued into Feb. 2 dumped 17.4”.  Most of the accumulation, 16.8", fell in less than 24 hours (Sunday night, Jan. 31 thru late afternoon on Monday, Feb. 1).  After this snow event, an additional 10" of snow fell during the rest of the month, bring February's total to 26.0", making it the 8th snowiest February on record.
  • March had its first temperature in the 80s since 1998, occurring on 3/26 (82°).
  • In addition to the excessively wet months of July-Aug-Sept, there were also periods of very low humidity during the year.  For example, nearly half of the days in March had low humidity (below 25%); extremely low humidity was reported on April 6 (7%); and December had it lowest humidity on record on 12/17 (14%).
  • The coolest Memorial Day weekend on record (average high/low of 57°/48°) was followed by the ninth warmest June.  A high of 98° on 6/30 was NYC’s hottest reading in nine years years, and the hottest reading in June since another reading of 98° in June 1994.  But just three days later, July had its first reading in the 50s since 2009, and its coolest high temperature (66°) since 2005.
  • July, August, and September each had more than 10 inches of rain (July's amount was above 11") – not only the first time in nine years any month had that much rain, but the first time ever that three consecutive months had this much.  This was also the first year to have two rainstorms that produced seven inches+.  They were associated with downgraded hurricanes Henri and Ida , and they were less than two weeks apart (Aug. 21-23 and Sept. 1).
  • On the night of  9/1, Ida's rain poured down in just five hours time (and 3.13" in one hour).  More rain fell between 9-10 PM than fell in all of November and December.

As an aside, this one-hour amount was trumpeted by the National Weather Service as being Central Park's greatest one-hour amount on record - but this claim was in error, as NWS's own records show a greater 60-minute amount on Sept. 5, 1913, when 3.31" of rain was measured between midnight and 1 AM - 0.18" more than Ida's 60-minute gully washer.  (11 days earlier, a one-hour amount of 1.94" during Henri also had the NWS claiming it was an all-time record, which was even more in error, as there have been at least a dozen instances of greater amounts in an hour, most recently in July 2018.)

  • October had a record streak of lows in the 60s - thirteen days in a row.  It also set a record (for any month) of days with high/lows stuck in the 60s.  There were six such days, concentrated in the nine-day period between Oct. 3-11.  Finally, October's coolest reading of 47° was the mildest reading to have this distinction.
  • The final week of October was the rainiest on record for that month (4.71" fell).  That week accounted for more than half of the precipitation measured from October thru December.  This rainy week was followed by the driest November-December on record.  These two dry months prevented the year from reaching the sixty-inch mark in precipitation, coming in at 59.73".  After 31.44" fell in July-September (32.09", if rain on 6/30 is included), 12 of the 13 weeks in October-December had less than 1/10 of that amount (3.06").

 

Here are recaps of previous years:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2021