Quantcast

Analysis Feed

Weather Highlights of the 1950s

 

50s

 

What weather events/trends characterized the 1950s in New York?  The decade began with the fierce Thanksgiving weekend nor'easter of 1950.  Then four tropical systems affected the area in 1954 and 1955: Carol and Edna in 1954, and Connie and Diane in 1955.  1955 also had a torrid summer, as did 1952.  Then there was the summer of '53 that ended with an unprecedented 12-day heat wave.  Five of the six summers from 1952 thru 1957 had 100-degree readings, the greatest concentration of any decade.  The second half of March 1956 and 1958 experienced harsh winter weather while half of the Decembers during the decade had the coldest and/or snowiest weather of their respective winters. 

 

Regarding precipitation, the only snowstorm of a foot or more came at the end of the '50s when 13.7" fell on Dec. 21-22, 1959.  Finally, an extended period with below-average precipitation began at the beginning of the decade and would continue through the mid-1960s.  (Ironically, the rainiest Halloween and Easter occurred this decade, in 1956 and 1958, respectively.)  What follows, in chronological order, are nearly 100 weather highlights of the decade:

 

- 1950-

January 4 - Today's low of 59° is the mildest low temperature ever reported in the month of January, and more typical of the average low in the first week of June.  The high was seven degrees warmer, and was a record for the date (which still stands).

January 6 - The high rose into the 60s for the fourth day in a row.  Highs on these days: 60° (1/3)-66°-64°-63° (today).

January 26 - Today's high soared to 72°, the mildest reading ever reported in January (later equaled on Jan. 6, 2007).

 

72_sunny

 

February 21 - The morning low of was the coldest reading of the winter.  (The average low during the last week of February is in the upper 20s.)

March 4 - This was the seventh day since Feb. 20 with a low of 12° or colder.  Additionally, eight of the days had highs of 32° or colder.  The average high/low during this 13-day period was 32°/16°, twelve degrees colder than average. 

April 10 - For the fifth day in a row the morning low was 32° or colder.  The average low during these days was 29°, which was twelve degrees below average.

May 27 - With a high of 77° this was last of three days in a row with highs in the 70s.  It was the first time it happened this year, and is the deepest into a year of any year since 1940 (thru 2021).

July 31 - Today's high of 94° was the the last reading in the 90s this year, the earliest date for this occurrence since 1934, when it fell on 7/30 (1904 and 1903 also had their last 90 on 7/31).  In total, there were only six 90-degree days this summer. 

September 24 - Very chilly conditions, with a high/low of only 53°/43°.  Today's high, 20 degrees below average, was more typical of the second week of November.  Unseasonably chilly days like this in autumn are often caused by nor'easters, but today was dry under a mix of sun and clouds.

October 1 - One week after a very chilly high of 53°, today's high was 86° (17 degrees above average).

November 2 - Today's high was a record 83°, and was the fourth day in a row of extraordinarily mild weather.  Oct. 30 had a high of 79°, Halloween had a high of 76°, and yesterday had a record high of 84°.  Highs during this four-day period averaged 81°, 22 degrees above average.

 

83deg

 

November 25 - One of the strongest nor'easters of the 20th century lashed New York on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with winds as high as 70 mph, and 1.58" of rain that fell between 6 AM and 8 PM.  Temperatures dropped steadily during the day, from 59° to 36°.  This storm produced very heavy snowfall in Pennsylvania and the Appalachians, including 27.4" in Pittsburgh (over the course of three days).

 

Nov 25, 1950 LaGuardia Airport  

 

December 26 - Although it was just 2.9", the light snow that fell today in the morning and afternoon was the biggest snowfall during the winter of 1950-51.  It was also the coldest day of the winter, with a high/low of 22°/9°.

 

- 1951-

July 27 - Yesterday and today were the hottest days of the year, with both having a high/low of 94°/69°.

October 3 - The afternoon of Bobby Thomson's famed 3-run home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the bottom of the 9th inning that gave the New York Giants a come-from-behind win, and the National League pennant, was mostly cloudy with the temperature in the upper 60s.

 

Bobbythomson.homerun

 

November 7 - Although today's nor'easter wasn't the biggest rain producer of the year (that honor went to a storm on March 29-30 that brought 2.64"), the 2.01" that fell today poured down in less than six hours between 5:30-11 AM, while March's storm was over the course of 40 hours.  Besides this morning's heavy rain, winds gusted to 40 mph.  (And just four days earlier two inches of rain fell, but over the course of twenty-one hours.)

November 20 - For the second day in a row the high/low was a cold 35°/26° (16 degrees below average).

December 17 - Today's frigid high/low of 20°/8° (22 degrees below average) made this the coldest day of the winter of 1951-52.  Skies were clear.

 

- 1952 -

January 28 - Rain in the morning (when temperatures fell from the low 40s through the 30s) changed to snow early in the afternoon, accumulating 5.8" by early morning the next day - the winter's biggest snowfall.

February 21-26 - High temperatures for this six-day period: 38°-38°-40°-40°-42°-42°.  These readings were slightly below average.

March 9 - The low was 31° for the fifth day in a row (which followed two days that had lows of 32°).

April 2 - For the tenth year in a row measurable precipitation fell on this date - the longest such streak on record.  The amount of rain that fell today (during the late morning) was just 0.09", and was the same amount that fell last year on this date.

April 23 - This was the sixth day in a row with a high of 74° or warmer.  The average high during this streak was 78°, which was 15 degrees above average.

June 26 - Today's high/low was a torrid 100°/81°.  The low was New York's warmest ever recorded in June and the high was the earliest reading in the triple digits (next earliest would come in 1966 on June 27).  This heat came three days after a high/low of 64°/58°.

 

101deg 

 

September 13 - Today's high of 94° was the hottest temperature so late in the year since 1941 when the high on 10/5 was also 94°.  Today, the last day of a three-day heat wave, was also the last 90-degree reading of the year (there were 24 in total).

December 2-3 - The biggest snowfall of the winter of 1952-53 brought 4.5".  It was a sloppy snowfall, with snow changing to rain after 2.3" fell, before changing back to snow during the morning of the 3rd, when an additional 2.2" accumulated.      

December 28 - Today's high/low of 30°/12° made this the coldest day of the winter.  And there would be just one more day this winter with a sub-freezing high (Feb. 2).

 

- 1953 -

February 2 - Today was the second, and last, day of this mild winter with a sub-freezing high, with a high/low of 29°/14°.  (A typical winter has 18 days with highs of 32° or colder.)  It came the day after the high was 52°.  

March 24 - Today saw the fourth rainstorm of an inch or more in the past three weeks.  It moved in shortly after daybreak and was over by early afternoon.  Half of the day's 1.04" rainfall fell between 11 AM and noon.  At the time, March 1953, with 8.76" of precipitation measured, was the second wettest March on record (it's since fallen to fifth place).

 

Clipart_rainstorm 

July 18 - This was the second day in a row with a high in the triple digits, the first time with consecutive 100°+ readings since late August 1948, when there were three such days in a row.

July 23 - Heavy rain that fell in the morning hours between 8 AM and 1 PM amounted to 2.41", breaking the previous record amount for the date, from 1938, by 0.01".

August 24 - Today was the first day of a record twelve-day heat wave.  It followed a seven-day heat wave in mid-July.

August 28 - In the midst of a 12-day heat wave, today was the first of six days in a row with highs of 97° or hotter.

September 2 - Today's high of 102° was the hottest reading of the year, and the fourth time the mercury reached triple digits this year - a first (later duplicated in 1966).  This was also just the second time a high of 100+ occurred in September (the first was on Sept. 7, 1881). 

September 4 - Today was the twelfth day in a row with highs in the 90s - New York's lengthiest heat wave on record (a record that still stands).  The average high/low during this torrid streak was 95°/74° - fourteen degrees above average.  Today was also the seventh day in a row with a low of 75° or warmer.

 

Heat_wave

 

November 6 - Three days after the high reached 73°, 2.2" of snow fell - the earliest accumulation of two inches or more on record (4.0" fell at LaGuardia Airport).  The snow began around noon but later changed to rain (the day's high/low was 38°/30°).  This was part of an intense storm system that pummeled the City with 50 mph winds.  

November 20 - Four the fourth day in a row temperatures were very mild and nearly identical, with highs/lows of: 71°/50° today and yesterday, 72°/50° two days ago and 71°/49° on 11/17.  This compares to the average high/low of 53°/41°.

December 14 - This was the ninth day of the past eleven with temperatures ten degrees or more above average (including seven in a row between 12/4-10).  This was also a wet period, with rain falling on eight of the days, totaling 4.25", which accounted for almost all of the month's precipitation.  Today was the rainiest, with 1.46" falling during the morning from a nor'easter that moved in yesterday afternoon (dropping 0.42").  Wind gusts of 35-40 mph were reported.    

 

- 1954 -

January 10-12 - Light snow fell for 39 hours, beginning mid-afternoon on 1/10 and ending in the pre-dawn hours of 1/12.  A total of 8.4" piled up, with 2.2" falling on the 10th, 5.4" accumulating on the 11th, and 0.8" falling on the 12th.  This was the biggest snowfall in five years. 

January 16 - 12.5" of snow fell in the past seven days, with measurable snow falling on six of the days.  After today less than an inch of snow would fall for the rest of the winter.

 

NYCsnow1950s

 

January 18 - The morning low of 7° was the coldest reading of the winter.  

February 15 - Two days after the low was 11°, this afternoon's high soared to 69° under clear skies (31 degrees above average, but four degrees from the record set in 1949).

February 28 - Today's unseasonably mild high/low of 59°/41° was typical of temperatures experienced in the second half of this month.  And at 14 degrees above average, the past two weeks' high/low of 56°/38° was more typical of the first week of April.  No day during this two-week period had a temperature that went below freezing.  (At the time, this February became the mildest on record, but has since fallen to eighth.) 

April 22 - This was the third day in a row with identical, beautiful conditions - clear skies, with a high of 78° every day (compared to an average high in the low 60s).

July 31 - This was the second day this summer with a high of 100° (the other was on 7/14).  Today, however, had the warmest mean temperature of the year as its low was 77°, compared to 69° on 7/14.

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

 

Hurricane carol

 

September 11 - Less than two weeks after Hurricane Carol, Hurricane Edna made itself known, dumping 3.30" of rain, with most of it falling in the twelve hours between midnight and 12-noon.  This was the biggest rainfall of the year.  This was the most rain from a tropical system in 10 years, since the Great Atlantic Hurricane dumped 9.40" over the course of three days.

October 4 - Today had the third low in the 70s this month, the most ever reported in October.  This was somewhat ironic considering that the year had 18 such days in total, well below the average of 25 days (1920-1950).

October 15 - Powerful Hurricane Hazel (a 'category 4' when it made landfall in North Carolina) affected NYC's weather as it moved through Pennsylvania, on its way to Ontario, Canada.  Although it produced minimal rain in the City, most of the 0.39” that fell poured down between 6-7 PM.  Winds gusted to 40 mph in Central Park, and 66 mph at La Guardia.  

 

- 1955 -

February 2 - The biggest snowfall of the winter, 3.6", began shortly after midnight and continued thru mid-afternoon.  The temperature fell throughout the day, from 28° to 10° just before midnight.

February 3 - The morning low of zero degrees was the coldest reading of the winter.  The last time the temperature was this cold was on Jan. 31, 1948.

 

Zerodegrees

 

April 13 - A chilly high of 46° came just two days after a high of 84°.  Skies were overcast and winds out of the northeast.

August 6 - With a high of 97°, today was the tenth day in the past three weeks to have a high of 97° or hotter.

August 7 - Every day in the first week of August had temperatures in the 90s (today's high was 93°).  The average high/low during these days was 96°/75°, ten degrees above average.  The heat wave came to an end this evening when thunderstorms from mid-afternoon onward dropped nearly an inch of rain.

 

Weather_broilingsun

 

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 8/12 had the most rain (3.62"), the heaviest sustained period of rain occurred on 8/13 from 3-9 AM when 2.50" poured down.  Rain was more of an issue than wind, which gusted between 35 and 45 mph, well below hurricane force.  This was the City's biggest rainstorm since the Great Hurricane of September 1944.  And while this ranks as one of New York's biggest rain totals, LaGuardia Airport picked up five inches more rain than Central Park.

 

Conniehurricane

August 18-19 - Less than a 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).

August 20 - The fierce heat of the first week of August returned for one last heat wave.  Today's high reached 97°, tomorrow's was 96° and 8/22 had a high of 90°.  Nearly half of the days between July 2 and Aug. 22 had highs in the 90s - and sixteen days had highs of 95° or hotter.  (This followed a cool June.)

August 22 - Today was the 25th, and last day, this summer with a high in the 90s.  All but one of the readings occurred in July and August.  Although there have been 16 summers with more days in the 90s/100s, 1955 has the distinction of having the most days with highs of 95°+, sixteen.  (Today's high, however, was 90°.)

October 4 - Skies were sunny and the temperature in the low 70s when the Brooklyn Dodgers finally won the World Series after eight tries.  And they did it against the Yankees (in seven games), making their championship all the more sweeter.

November 29 - It was a very cold day, with a high/low of only 28°/16°, twenty degrees below average.

December 21 - This was the coldest day of the winter of 1955-56, with a high/low of 18°/5°, twenty-three degrees below average.  This followed what was the second coldest day of the winter, 20°/6°, on 12/20.

December 22 - A snowfall of 2.7" during the afternoon was produced from 0.15" of liquid, which was the most to fall during what would be the driest December on record (0.25" of precipitation).  Today's amount was the most to fall in nearly five weeks (since 11/20, when 0.37" of rain fell).

December 25 - Every day between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2 had well below average temperatures except for today, which had a high of 51° under mostly sunny skies.

December 29 - The 0.3" of snow that fell this evening was the last precipitation of the month, a month in which  only 0.25" was measured - the smallest amount ever reported in December (a record that still stands), and the third driest month of all time (now ranked fifth).  Additionally, 1955 became just the second year to have three months with less than an inch of precipitation (January and July were the other two months); the other year was 1881. 

 

- 1956 -

January 2 - Temperatures were ten degrees colder than average for the past two weeks.

March 14 - It was a windy, raw and wet day.  The 1.02" of rain that fell, mostly between 5 AM and 2 PM, was a record for the date (which still stands) - besting the old record from 1913 by 0.01". 

March 18 - Less than 48 hours after a snowfall of 6.7" an even bigger storm moved in during the afternoon.  By the time snow stopped falling 24 hours later 11.6" of new snow was on the ground (3.8" of it fell today).  And today's high/low was just 30°/21°, seventeen degrees below average.

 

Snowflakes

 

March 19 - After 3.8" of snow fell yesterday afternoon and evening, an additional 7.8" fell today (thru late afternoon).  Temperatures stayed in the mid-20s all day.  In the past four days 18.3" of snow fell from two storms (6.7" fell on 3/16-17) and temperatures were 15 degrees below average.  By contrast, until four days ago just eight inches of snow had fallen all winter.

March 24 - The 1.2" of snow that fell late this morning brought the month's snowfall above 20" (21.1").  This was the fifth, and last time, that more than twenty inches of snow was reported in March (thru 2021).

March 25 - Today's high/low of 34°/18° was eighteen degrees below average. 

April 3 - This was the 23rd day in a row with colder than average temperatures.  During this streak temperatures were nine degrees below average.

April 8 - Rain from yesterday's nor'easter turned to snow after 4 AM and by late afternoon 4.2" of snow was on the ground - yet the temperature never got lower than 33°.  This was the third significant snowfall in the past four weeks, a period in which 25" of snow fell, an unprecedented amount for so late in the season.  Up until mid-March the winter had seen just eight inches.  Not surprisingly, this snowy period was also cold, with temperatures six degrees below average.

 

Clipart_snowy

 

April 28 - Today's high of 84° was the first time in six months that the temperature rose above 70°.  This was also the latest date for a year's first reading of 70+ in the second half of the century.  And it came just two days after the high was just 47°.

June 14 - With a high/low of 99°/76°, today was the hottest day of the year.  The high was a record for the date, twenty degrees above average.  (This was the first summer since 1951 not to have a reading in the triple digits.)  Today was part of a four-day heat wave that was book-ended by a chilly high/low of 66°/56° on June 10 and 66°/55° on June 20. 

July 2 - With a high of 93°, this was the fourth year in a row in which the high reached the 90s on this date.

July 6 - Although yesterday was cool (high/low of 66°/58°), today was even cooler as the high/low was just 61°/57° under gray skies and winds from out of the northeast.  The day's high was 22 degrees below average.

October 8 - On the afternoon that the Yankees' Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in World Series Game 5 against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium, skies were clear and temperatures were in the seasonable mid-to-upper 60s.

 

Donlarsenperfectgame

 

October 31 - 2.41" of rain fell, making this the rainiest Halloween on record (3.30" rain was measured at LaGuardia Airport).  And although the bulk of the rain occurred between 11 AM and 4 PM, when 1.74" was measured, rain was still falling in the evening hours (0.33" was measured between 7-11 PM).  Until today, October had received just 1.20" of rain.  This was the biggest rainstorm of the year.

November 1 - The day's low temperature was a summer like 65°, a record for the date and the mildest low reading in the month of November until 1971 (when the low on 11/2 was 67°) and 2015 (66° on 11/6).  Despite the day's mild start, the high temperature was only two degrees warmer because of showers and overcast skies.

 

- 1957 -

January 15 - Today's high/low was a frigid 12°/0°, making it the coldest day of the winter.  Light snow moved in after dark and continued until early afternoon on the 16th, accumulating 4.9" (two inches fell today).

 

Clipart.coldguy

 

January 23 - After the mercury rose to 60° during the morning, the mildest reading of the month, a slap of Arctic air slashed the temperature by 40 degrees by midnight - one of Central Park's biggest temperature drops in the course of a day.  Today was also the sixth day in a row with a high warmer than the day before (starting with a high of 23° on 1/18).

February 1 - A quick-moving snowstorm dumped 6.3" of snow between 2:00 and 11:00 PM. This was the biggest snowfall of the winter.

March 10 - For the fourth day in a row the high was 39° (eight degrees below average); however, every day had a different low temperature.  Today was the only day of the four that had sunny skies.

April 21 - This was the first Easter Sunday since 1871 to have a high in the 80s, and at 85° it was the warmest on record (until 1962).  By contrast, yesterday's and tomorrow's highs were in the mid-60s.

May 14 - I was born today in the pre-dawn hours (in the suburbs of Pittsburgh).  Although temperatures on 5/13 and 5/15 were unseasonably warm (mid-80s), today's temperatures were at seasonable levels.  Rain moved in as evening approached and it fell heavily between 9-11:00 when two inches was measured.  In total 2.55" fell and it was over before midnight (a record amount for the date until 1978).  This rainstorm accounted for two-thirds of the month's rain and was the biggest rainstorm of the year.

July 21 - Today's high reached 100°, making this the fifth summer of the past six to have at least one high in the triple digits - the highest concentration on record.  (Last year was the only year of the six not to reach 100° - its hottest reading was 99°.)  Tomorrow's high would reach 101° and would be the last 100-degree day until 1966.

 

Clipart_severe_thstorm   

 

July 22 - This was the sixth day in a row in which the high was hotter than the day before: 101° (today)-100°-97°-91°-90°-88°-83° (7/16).

December 4 - Snow that started falling late last night continued overnight, and after a five-hour break, resumed later in the morning, accumulating 8.0".  The flakes came down heaviest between noon- 3 PM, when they fell at a rate of an inch per hour.  This was the most snow to fall so early in the season since 1938, when 8.8" piled up on Nov. 24-25.  And it was the first of six snowfalls of four inches or more this winter.

 

- 1958 -

Feb. 8 - Today's high was 32°, the first of twelve days in a row in which the high was 32° or colder (today's high was the "warmest" of the streak).

Feb. 16 - Snow that began falling yesterday evening continued through this evening, totaling 7.9” (2.1” yesterday, 5.8” yesterday).  It was a wind-blown snow produced by an intense winter storm that was fueled by Arctic air overtaking the northeast as it moved up the coast. (By midnight, the temperature had fallen to 10°.)  While gusty winds of 25-35 mph buffeted Central Park, LaGuardia Airport (which reported 10.1” of snow) had winds that gusted between 50-65 mph.  South of the City, DC had more than a foot of snow, while to the north, Boston was buried by two feet.  This storm’s accumulation just missed tying a snowfall of 8.0” on 12/3-4 as the winter’s biggest accumulation (but both would be topped by the snowstorm of March 20-21.)   

Feb. 17 - It was a bitterly cold day that saw temperatures stuck in the single digits, largely due to mostly overcast skies.  The high was only 10°, which occurred shortly after midnight; the day's low of was reached 24 hours later, shortly before midnight.  This was the ninth day in a row with high temperatures colder than 30°.

Feb. 20 - Today's high was 33°, the first day since Feb. 7 with a high above freezing.  The twelve days from Feb. 8 thru Feb. 19 had a high/low of 24°/13°, thirteen degrees colder than average.

March 20 - An intense nor'easter brought winds of 35-45 mph along with heavy, wet snow that began shortly before daybreak, and continued thru midday on the 21st.  4.7" fell today and 7.1" the following day.  However, today's temperature never got colder than 33°.  Philadelphia also picked up nearly a foot of snow from this storm, which buried parts of eastern and central Pennsylvania and upstate New York with 30 to 40 inches of snow. 

April 6 - 2.19" of rain fell today, making this the rainiest Easter Sunday on record.  Most of the rain fell between 10 AM and 5 PM.

 

Heavy rain

 

June 12 - Today and yesterday had the year's first back-to-back days with highs in the 80s, the latest occurrence in the 1950-2021 period (it happened one day earlier in 1997).

July 2 - Today's high of 93° was the hottest reading of the year (and the fifth year of the past six to reach the 90s on this date).  The last time a year's hottest temperature was this low, or cooler, was in 1927, when the hottest reading was 92°.  (The next time it happened would be just two years later when the year's hottest reading was only 91°.)

July 30-August 3 - High temperatures during this five-day period were: 87°-86°-85°-84°-83°.

August 1-5 - Morning lows during this five-day period were: 67° (on 8/1)-68°-69°-70°-71° (today).

December 11 - With a high of 23°/14° (eighteen degrees below average), today was the coldest day of a 10-day cold wave (between Dec. 7-16) in which every day had a sub-freezing high temperature.  And the day seemed even colder because of overcast skies.

December 16 - This was the tenth day in a row with a sub-freezing high temperature.  During this unprecedented early cold wave the average high/low was 29°/19°, thirteen degrees below average.

December 26 - With a high of 34°/14°, today was the sixteenth day since 11/30 with a mean temperature ten degrees or more colder than average.  This nearly four-week period was nine degrees colder than average.  However, despite the cold just 3.8" of snow fell during this period.

 

- 1959-

February 2 - The morning  low of 7° was the coldest reading of the winter.

February 20 - High temperatures of the past three days: 44° on 2/18, 33° yesterday, and 22° today.  And although Feb. 2 had the coldest reading of the winter, today's high/low of 22°/8° produced the coldest mean temperature.

March 12 - A mix of snow and sleet produced the biggest accumulation of snow/ice of the winter, with 5.5" piling up by the time it ended early in the afternoon.  This icy precipitation was blown around by winds that gusted between 30 and 35 mph.

March 22 - Two days after the high reached 71°, afternoon temperatures were in the upper 20s.

June 1 - Today's chilly high of 64°, under mostly overcast skies, followed a five-day warm spell at the end of May that had highs that averaged 87° (13 degrees above average).  Today's conditions were the result of a back-door cold front that moved in from New England last night. 

June 24 - High temperatures over the past five days: 85°-84°-83°-82°-81° (today).

June 29 - Today's high of 97° was the hottest reading of the summer, but tomorrow, with a high/low of 93°/79°, had the hottest mean temperature.

July 20 - This was the rainiest day of the year, with 1.80" of rain measured.  Most of it (1.57") fell during a severe thunderstorm between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon.

July 24 - All of July's rain fell during 11 of the past 15 days, amounting to 4.28".  Nearly an inch of rain fell this afternoon between 3:30 and 4:30 during a strong thunderstorm.  It was also a hot day, with the high reaching 90°

August 29 - Today was the end of a two-and-half-week period that had twelve days in the 90s (including today) and an average high/low of 89°/72° (seven degrees above average).  This hot spell, at the time, helped make this the fifth hottest August on record (it's since fallen to seventeenth).

Clipart_summertime 

September 24 - With a high of 89°, this was the third day in a row of summertime heat.  Yesterday's high was 90° and the day before that it was 89°.  The average high this time of year is in the low 70s.  Today's high was a record (which stood until 2017).

September 29 - The 0.02" of rain that fell shortly after midnight from a storm that began late last night (and dropped 0.34" from 11 PM-midnight) was the first measurable rainfall on this date since 1936.  At the time, this 22-year streak with no rain for a calendar date was the lengthiest on record, later passed by a 25-year streak on Dec. 1 for the years 1943-1967.

September 30 - After one of the hottest Augusts on record, the unseasonably warm weather continued in September, which tied Sept. 1931 as the second warmest (it's now tied for fifth).  The month's temperature patterns were divided into three ten-day periods.  The first ten days were eight degrees above average, the middle ten were six below average, and then the last ten days were nine above average.  Today, with a high of 82°/70°, was twelve degrees above average, and the low was what the average high should be.

October 1 - For the fourth day in a row the low temperature was in the 70s at a time of the year when lows are typically in the mid-50s.

October 6 - Under mostly clear skies today's high soared to 88°, twenty degrees above average, as the unseasonable warmth of August and September continued into October.  This was the hottest reading in October since 1941.

October 11 - This was the twenty-first consecutive day with above average temperatures.  During this three-week period temperatures were close to ten degrees above average, with an average high/low of 81°/65° (more like the end of August); twelve days were in the 80s. 

November 18 - Today's high/low of 33°/21° made this the coldest day of the month (19 degrees below average).  It would be five weeks before there was a colder day.

December 22 - Snow that began late in the afternoon yesterday continued thru 10 AM today, adding 10.3" to yesterday's 3.4" for a total accumulation of 13.7".  (By contrast, LaGuardia Airport picked up just 5.6".)  Snow fell heaviest between 2-7 AM when six inches accumulated.  The day's temperatures were well below average, with a high/low of 28°/17°.

 

Weather-snowy.landscape 

 

December 23 - Today's high/low of 23°/9° (eighteen degrees below average) made this the coldest day of the winter of 1959-60.

 

Oldmanwinter

And here are recaps for other decades:

Late 19th Century (1869-1899)

First Decade of 20th Century

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1960s

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Junes With No 90-Degree Days

90 No (2)As meteorological summer gets underway (June 1 thru Aug. 31) a typical June will see two or three days with highs in the 90s.  However, about once every five years no readings this hot occur; since 1869 there have been 31 years in which this has happened, most recently in 2016 (and at the other end of the spectrum, one June in four has five or more 90-degree days, the most recent being in 2012). 

 

 

Using 90° as the cut-off for hot conditions, rather than 88° or 89°, is a bit arbitrary (and doesn't take into account humidity levels).  Nonetheless, a June with no readings of 90+ is usually results in a cooler than average June.  For example, none of the ten coolest Junes had any high temperatures in the 90s.  Additionally, the five coolest summers started out with a June with no 90-degree readings.  But not every June with no readings in the 90s is so cool.  In fact, the warmest June with no 90s was in 2014.  It was 1.1 degree warmer than average and ranks 39th warmest (out of 150).  And, surprisingly, one of the ten hottest summers, 2016's, started out with a 90s-free June.  Here are some other tidbits:

 

  • The most years in a row to have a June without a 90-degree reading is three (1926-1928).  Interestingly, this streak was bracketed by Junes with five or more 90-degree highs (1923 had eight, 1925 had nine, and 1929 and 1930 each had five).  The most consecutive years in which June had at least one day in the 90s is 12 (1997-2008).
  • Despite having no days in the 90s in June four years had an above average number of 90-degree days: 1955 (25); 1977 (23); 2016 (22) and 1979 (19).  The average number of 90-degree days in years that had no 90-degree readings in June has been 10 (an average year, since 1930, has had 18; before that the average was just 11).
  • 11 of the 31 years with no June 90s had 90-degree readings prior to June 1, with 1977 having the most such days, three.
  • 89° was the hottest reading in 12 of the years in which June had no readings in the 90s.  Three of those years had their 89° reading on 6/30 (this excludes any June that had a high of 89° on 6/30 but on other dates in June as well).  One June had it occur on 6/1, another on 6/2.  And three years had their first 90-degree reading on 7/1.
  • The coolest warmest reading in June is 81°, occurring in 1903 (the coolest June on record).

 

Chart - coolest hottes temps in june

  • June 2016 and 1955 had the most readings between 85°-89°, ten.
  • Finally, daily low temperatures in the 70s are sometimes considered the counterpart of highs in the 90s.  Interestingly, 22 of the 31 Junes with no 90s had lows in the 70s (nine had some lows of 72° or warmer).  Seven of these Junes had three or more, with June 1869 having the most, seven.  The warmest low during a June with no 90s was 76° in 2014.

 

No heat_1514863491238.jpg_10369656_ver1.0_1280_720

 

 


May 2019 Continued April's Wet Trend, But With More Rain

Cold-rain-and-wind-bear-down-on-new-york-city-commuters-20190513081420-84079800

 

Like the month preceding it, May 2019 was characterized by a surfeit of rainy days.  There were 19 with measurable rain, which tied December 1972 and May 1973 for the second greatest number for any month.  (The most days, 20, occurred in July 1871 and May 1888).  However, May 2019 distinguished itself by having more rain than those other months (see chart below).  The amount that fell, 6.82", made this May the 12th rainiest on record.  Although it had one more day of rain than April (its 18 days was a record for April), nearly two-and-a-half inches more rain fell.  But despite the high frequency of rain, much of it occurred on just five days: 1.31" on 5/5; 1.32" on 5/12; 0.70" on 5/13; 0.80" on 5/29; and 0.95" on 5/30.

 

Chart - 5 months with most days of precip
 

In addition to the well above average number of rainy days, this May will also be remembered for the damp and unusually cool conditions on Mother's Day and the two days after.  2.32" of rain fell on these three days (1.32" of it on Mother's Day) and the average high/low of 53°/43° was 14 degrees cooler than average.  By contrast, the Memorial Day weekend was mostly nice,  the exception being later in the afternoon on Sunday when clouds moved in and there was an hour of heavy showers.  The three-day weekend's average high/low was 79°/60°, four degrees above average, and featured the warmest reading of the month, 86° on Sunday.  (The warmest mean temperature, however, occurred on 5/20, one week before Memorial Day, with a high/low of 85°/66°).

 

Temperature-wise, the month was average (officially, 0.2 degree below average), with the first half of May three degrees below average while the second half was two degrees above average.  (If the chilly three-day period from May 12-14 were taken out, the month would have been 1.3 degrees milder than average.)  Seven days were five or more degrees above average while six were five or more below average.  Four days with highs in the 80s were balanced by four days with lows in the 40s, both fewer than the month's average (of seven and six days, respectively). 

 

Finally, there was an eight-day streak of rainy days (May 10-17) that had 2.56" of rain.  This was just the thirteenth eight-day steak since 1900.  Coincidentally, last May had rain on seven of eight days around the same time of the month (May 12-19), which amounted to 2.14".  And Mother's Day both years was cool (59°/43° this year, 54°/52° in 2018).

Here are recaps of the previous four Mays:

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

 


April 2019 Weather Recap

April 2019

 

As we headed into the last week of April, it appeared the month had a good chance of becoming either the fifth, sixth or seventh mildest April on record.  But when the last five days of the month averaged five degrees cooler than average, it ended up as the 13th mildest, 2.5 degrees above average (still a noteworthy achievement as it was milder than 138 other Aprils).  Perhaps a bigger highlight was the month's 18 days with measurable precipitation, the most since May 2012.  This was also the most days of precipitation of any April.  However, despite the frequent rainfall, the 4.55" that was measured was just an average amount.  Despite being only average, this amount was enough to make April the wettest month so far this year. 

 

The five chilly days at the end of the month were immediately preceded by a two-week period with above average temperatures (six degrees above average); this was the longest streak of above average days since one of eighteen days in late December/early January.  This mild streak included the year's first reading in the 80s - 80° on 4/19, which was Good Friday (just the fifth Good Friday with a high in the 80s); Easter Sunday cooled down to a high of 66°.  The month's coldest reading, 33°, occurred on 4/1.  (Since 2000 April's warmest temperature has averaged 85°, its coldest reading has averaged 33°.)

 

Finally, 2019's mild April came a year after the coldest April in 40 years (which followed the second mildest April on record).  Despite the disparity between the two years, April 2018's warmest temperature was two degrees above this year's (82° vs. 80°) while its coldest reading was just one degree lower (32°).

 

W4th street blossoms

Here are recaps of previous Aprils:

2018

2017

2016

 


National Weather Service's Year-Round Use of 'Standard Time' Can Cause Confusion

Daylight savings and standard time

 

I had been writing this blog for a number of years before learning that the National Weather Service doesn't recognize Daylight Saving Time (the period roughly between mid-March thru early November).  Instead, its reported observations throughout the year reflect Standard Time.  Because of this policy, weather conditions that occur between midnight and 12:59 AM during DST are reported as part of the previous day's weather observation (credited to 11:00-11:59 PM).  And the rest of each day's weather observations are reported as happening in the previous hour.

I discovered this quirk because I check hourly observations every day on one of the NWS sites, and during the spring, summer and first half of the fall (i.e., when DST is in effect) I noticed that rainfall and temperature for the first hour of each day was credited to the previous day.  Then when Standard Time resumed the weather conditions of each day's first hour were back to being part of that same day.

 

Questioning man
 

I thought that, perhaps, this decision was made over concern by the NWS about how to report conditions that occur during the "skipped" hour, i.e., when we "spring ahead" at 2:00 AM for DST (losing the 60 minutes between 2-3 AM), or when the hour between 1-2 AM is repeated when we "fall back" at the start of Standard Time.  However, it turns out the reason was simpler than that as the US is a signatory of an agreement drawn up by the World Meteorological Organization calling for Universal Coordinated Time to be used as the standard (i.e., not seasonally adjusted).  However, I can't help wondering why local weather records shouldn't reflect the time that its population is conducting its life in.  And it's curious that Standard time, which lasts about four months in much of the US, is the year-round standard.

 

 

Standard time

 

So what does this mean in practice?  Let's say that a rainstorm at 12:30 AM DST on May 10 kept you awake.  Using Standard Time rather than DST, the NWS would report that the rain fell at 11:30 PM on May 9; however, in the world of Daylight Saving Time that you're living in, you may have been watching TV at 11:30 and not in bed being kept awake by the rain. 

(These parallel time frames bring to mind how life was in the US before time zones were established.  Prior to their creation in 1883 there were two types of time.  True Solar Time, based on the sun's actual position over a city, was precise and used by the general public in conducting its day-to-day activities, with every city having its own time (e.g., when it was noon in NYC it was 12:10 PM in Boston, 11:55 AM in Philadelphia, and 11:50 in Washington, DC).  Railway Time, on the other hand, was used by the railroads for scheduling arrivals and departures of its trains and was the impetus for the establishment of time zones, whereby New York, Boston, Philly and DC all had the same time).

 

Train conductor
    

Over the course of a year there are instances of daily records hinging on what happens either during the last hour of the day or the first hour of the next day, and the DST-Standard Time situation creates a "fuzzy" reality.  For example, sometimes there are days during DST when it appears a rainfall record has been set, but using Standard time is the official measure, the amount from midnight-1:00 AM DST is credited to 11 PM-midnight, erasing what appeared to be a record amount (however, there can be instances were adding rain to the previous day could result in a record amount for that date).  Regarding temperature records, I can recall a few instances in early October during the past fifteen years when it appeared a new record for the latest date for a low of 70+ was going to be established only to find that, although the temperature dropped below 70° after midnight DST, it was actually credited to the day before, so no record was set. 

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal.  Since it's doubtful many people are aware of this idiosyncrasy it's a case of ignorance being bliss.  However, for those of us who are aware of this quirk it's annoying (like a hangnail). 

 

No To Daylight Savings Time

Here are a number of other thought pieces I've written about weather measurement:

A Case For Reporting Temperature & Precipitation to One or Two Decimals

Can Trace Amounts of Precipitation Add Up to Measurable Amounts?

Why 2011, Not 1983, Should be Crowned as NYC's Wettest Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best & Worst Weather Conditions During Mets Home Openers

Mr. met

 

It seems fitting that the Mets first home opener in 1962, a season in which they lost 120 games, ranks as one of its worst, with cold temperatures, wind and drizzle.  And how perfect was it that the weather was glorious the year they won their first home opener in 1968?  The charts below focus on the best weather conditions in years the Mets won their home openers, while the worst weather is grouped into games lost and games won.  (But does it really matter what the weather is, just as long as the home team wins?)      

 

 Chart - best and worst mets home openers

 

To read about weather and outcome of every Mets home opener since 1962, double click here.

 

Tom seaver

 

 


March 2019 Weather Recap - Old Man Winter Makes a Memorable Exit

March green background

 

March began with a continuation of unseasonably cold temperatures that arrived in the last three days of February.  This extended Arctic outbreak persisted through the first eight days of the month; the average high/low during these days was 36°/25°, nine degrees colder than average.  This included three days in a row with highs of 32° or colder - the longest such stretch in March since 1984.  Besides the cold, an inch or more of snow fell on each of the first four days of the month - the longest streak of its kind.  The 10.4" that fell more than doubled the amount of snow from the previous four months (10.1"), making this the fourth winter of the past five in which March was the snowiest month. 

 

After March's harsh beginning, temperatures recovered and the rest of the month was two degrees above average, with the coldest reading being 32° (on two days) - and there was no measurable snowfall.  The month's mildest reading was 75° (26 degrees above average, two degrees shy of the record for the date), which occurred on 3/15.  A second day in the 70s came two weeks later (70° on 3/30).  Overall, the month was 0.8 degree below average, making it the sixth March of the past seven that was colder than average (but of the six years, 2019 was closest to average).

 

75 degrees
 

Like the temperature, the month's precipitation (3.87") was also slightly below average. The biggest rainfall of the month, and so far this year, occurred on 3/21-22 when 1.43" was measured.  This rainstorm was book-ended by three days before and five days after that had unusually low humidity; the lowest was reported on 3/24 and 3/26 when a few hours in the afternoon had readings of 13% and 14%, respectively. 

 

The 11-day stretch between Feb. 26 and March 8 saw the most wintry conditions of the winter.  The five-inch snowfall on March 3-4 was the second biggest on record to fall in temperatures that stayed above freezing (the greatest accumulation in above-freezing temperatures happened last year when 5.5" fell the morning of 4/2).

 

Chart - winter 2018_2019

 

Of all the Marches since 1950, March 2019 ranks among the ten with the coldest starts.

 

Chart - coldest starts to march

 

Finally, although last March was colder than March 2019 (2.4 degrees below average vs. 0.8 below average) it had no days with temperatures colder than 27°, while this March had four such days (its coldest reading was 18°).  However, this March had eight days with highs of 55° or milder while last March had only three.

 

Other March recaps:

2018

2017

2016


 

 

 


February 2019 Weather Review: Largely Uninspiring

Meh red

 

February 2019 was one of the least interesting months, weather-wise, in a while.  In fact, it was so uneventful I was tempted to not even bother with a monthly recap.  Although its average temperature was slightly above average (+0.9 degree) it was the coldest February since 2015.  Just 2.6" of snow was measured, the smallest amount in February in seven years (ironically, the milder February's preceding it all had more snow).  And although the amount of snow was well below the average of 9.2", the month's total precipitation (3.14") was an average amount (which is 3.09").  The coldest and mildest readings of the month occurred during the first week: 11° on 2/1, 65° on 2/5. 

 

Although the month wasn't too far from average, just three days had mean temperatures that were average.  Nineteen days were five or more degrees above or below average.  There were half a dozen days with highs of 35° or colder (three were 32° or colder) and four with highs of 55° or warmer.  The mildest stretch was the six days from 2/3 thru 2/8, which were 12 degrees above average (high/low of 54°/37°).  The coldest temperatures were experienced at the beginning and end of the month, with the first two days 13 degrees below average (28°/14°), and the final three days eight degrees colder than average (35°/25°). 

 

Chart - february 2019 weather

 

Although only 2.6" of snow fell (during what, on average, is the snowiest month of the winter) an amount this small isn't all that rare, happening about once every four or five years.  However, the last time a February as chilly as this year's had less snow was in 2004, which was 0.4 degrees above average and had just 0.7" of snow.  Finally, the only excitement about snow this February was the 1.2" snowfall on the 12th, which was the first snowfall of an inch or more in nearly three months (since the snowstorm of 11/15).  And it fell on the date most likely to have a snowfall of one-inch+.Chart - cold febs with little snow


Previous February recaps:

2018

2017

2015


Weather Highlights of Presidents' Day

Presidents day holiday

 

Since the Presidents' Day holiday was first observed on the third Monday of February in 1971, temperatures have ranged from 3° in 2015 to 64° in 2008.  There have been three consecutive Presidents' Days with highs of 32° or colder (1977-1979) and four in a row with highs of 50° or warmer (1981-1984).  The three coldest (based on mean temperature) were in 2015 (high/low of 21°/3°), 1987 (32°/7°), and 2003 (26°/14°).  The three warmest Presidents' Days were in 2008 (64°/40°), 1976 (60°/43°) and 1994 (53°/42°).  Here are some additional findings:

 

  • The biggest temperature difference between two consecutive Presidents' Days was in 2007 and 2008 when a high/low of 30°/12° in '07 was followed by a high/low of 64°/40°.  The closest in temperature was in 2009 and 2010 when the respective highs/lows were 40°/28° and 40°/27°, and in 1981 and 1982 when the highs/lows were 57°/34° and 56°/33°, respectively.
  • The most years in a row with lows above freezing is five, from 1981 thru 1985.  Ironically, this streak was preceded by the coldest streak, the four-year period from 1977 thru 1980.  A five-year period from 2003 thru 2007 was also quite cold.
  • Three of the coldest and two of the mildest readings on Presidents' Day have fallen on Feb. 16.  Additionally, five of the seven coldest readings have occurred during the 21st century.  Furthermore, three years in a row (2015-2017) had readings that were either among the coldest or mildest (2015, coldest on record; 2016, fourth coldest; and 2017, sixth mildest).  Lastly, the consecutive years 1981 and 1982 had two of the mildest high temperatures while 2003 and 2004 had two of the coldest lows. (See chart below.)
  • Measurable snow has fallen in just five years, but two of these snowfalls were major snowstorms.  In 2003 16.5" fell (and 3.5" fell the night before) while in 1979 12.7" fell.  The other three snowfalls were in 2005 (3.5"), 2011 (3.2") and 2016 (1.4").
  • The most consecutive years with measurable precipitation on Presidents Day is only two, and it's happened three times: 2018 and 2019; 2010 and 2011; and 1975 and 1976.  The most years in a row with no precipitation is six, from 1980 to 1985.
  • Looking at the three-day Presidents' Day weekends, 1979 was the coldest one, averaging a high/low of 19°/7° (along with a 12.7" snowstorm).  The two next coldest were in consecutive years: 24°/6° in 2016 and 26°/8° in 2015.  These were followed in 2017 by the mildest Prez Day weekend: 61°/42°; 1994 is second mildest, with a high/low of 59°/39°.  There have been six years in which the lows for each day of the weekend were all 32° or milder (most recently in 2017) and four in which the highs were all 32° or colder (most recently in 2015).
  • Finally, Presidents' Day weekend 2018 has the distinction of being the only one that reported measurable precipitation on all three days.  At the other end of the spectrum, the most holiday weekends in a row with no measurable precipitation on any of its days is three, 1981-1983.

  Chart - coldest-mildest presidents day weekends

 

 


Winters With Snow Droughts Rather Than Snowdrifts

Sled with no snow

 

A number of years ago I published an analysis about periods of cold winter weather that had little snow (Cold & Dry: A Snow Lover's Nightmare).  This new post focuses on the longest periods between snowfalls regardless of temperature.  And while I refer to these snowless periods as "droughts" that's somewhat of a misnomer since a typical winter in New York sees, on average, just twelve days with measurable snow, so it's not uncommon for many days to go by between snowfalls (however, "drought" was catchier than "extended number of days between snowfalls").  But as I was pulling the information together I realized there were variations on snow droughts so I've included them as well.

 

WINTER-LONG DROUGHTS

There have been ten winters with less than ten inches of snow, the most recent being the winter of 2020 (the average snowfall of winters since 2000 has been 33").  In the 1950s there were six consecutive winters, from 1950 thru 1955, with less than 20 inches; and there were five in a row with less than 15 inches, from 1928 thru 1932.  The least snow to fall in back-to-back winters occurred in 1997 and 1998, which had only 10.0" and 5.5", respectively.  (By contrast, there have been 18 snowstorms with greater accumulations than those two winters combined.)

 

No-snow-520x400

 

WITHIN-SEASON DROUGHTS

Since the winter of 1870 there have been eleven snow-free periods that lasted seven weeks or longer.  Two were in the 19th century and were in consecutive winters; all of the others have been since the winter of 1950.  The winter of 1953-54 stand outs for having two droughts among the eleven (that winter had 15.1" of snow).  The winter with the second longest drought, (1983) had the most snow, 27.2" (nearly two-thirds of the snow came from the blizzard of Feb. 17-18).

 

Chart - longest snow-free periods

 

WINTERS IN WHICH ONE MONTH DOMINATED THE SEASON'S SNOWFALL

A number of winters had sparse snowfall in all months but one.  The most recent was in 2016 when January had New York's biggest snowfall of all time.  And it also happened in the back-to-back winters of 1925 and 1926. 

 Chart - winters with 1 snowy month

 

BIG SNOWFALLS FOLLOWED BY LENGTHY HIATUS

  • It appeared the blizzard of Feb. 11-12, 1983 (17.6") would be the last snowfall of the winter, but then more than nine weeks later 0.8" fell on April 18.
  • In the winter of 1892 an eight-inch snowfall at the end of February was followed by 44 days until the next snowfall.  Two winters prior to 1892 there was another eight-inch snowfall, this one followed by 27 days with no snow.
  • On Dec. 27, 1934 11.2" fell and then the next snowfall wasn't for nearly five weeks (but the snow that fell on Jan. 28 amounted to just 0.1").
  • A snowfall of 8.9" on Feb. 26-27, 1991 was followed by 30 snow-free days.
  • On the first day of December in 1882 there was a nine-inch snowfall and then the rest of  the month was snow free.  The streak ended on New Year's Day when 0.3" was measured. 
  • A snowfall of 7.9" on Valentine's Day 1975 was followed by four weeks with no measurable snow.

 

BIG SNOWFALLS AFTER A LENGTHY HIATUS

  • NYC's second biggest snowfall of all-time, 26.9" on Feb. 11-12, 2006, came nearly four weeks after the previous snowfall (two inches on Jan. 16)
  • 15.3" fell during the "Lindsay snowstorm" of Feb. 9-10, 1969, breaking a string of 32 snowless days.
  • During the winter of 1995 a snowstorm of 10.8" on Feb. 4 came 23 days after the previous snowfall, which amounted to just 0.2".  (The Feb. 4 snowfall accounted for almost all of the winter's accumulation of 11.8".)
  • During the winter of 1908 a snowfall of ten inches on Jan. 23-24 broke a string of 39 days without snow.
  • The April blizzard of 1982 dumped 9.6" of snow 32 days after the previous snowfall on March 4 (of just 0.7"). 
  • In March 1981 a snowfall of 8.6" on the 5th broke a snow-free streak of nearly seven weeks.

 

MINIMAL SNOWFALL AT BEGINNING/END OF DROUGHTS

An argument can be made that qualifying a drought as ended when snowfall is less than an inch doesn't really mean a drought has ended since it's an insignificant amount.  There have been sixteen hiatuses of four weeks or longer in which a half-inch or less of snow fell at both ends.  The smallest amounts were dustings of 0.1" at the beginning and end of a 36-day streak in the winter of 1901; this was matched in the winter of 1975 when amounts of 0.1" were separated by 29 days.  Additionally, snowfalls of 0.2"/0.1" bracketed 29 days in between during the winter of 1943, and two 0.2" snowfalls were separated by streaks of 44, 34 and 28 days in the winters of 1992, 1918 and 1934, respectively.

 

SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALLS BEFORE/AFTER SNOW DROUGHTS

Most recently, the winter of 2013 had a 26-day period with no snow that was book-ended by snowfalls of 11.4" (Feb. 8-9) and 4.0" (March 8).  And during the winter of 2009 a snowfall of 4.3" on Feb. 3 was followed by 25 days with no snow which ended when 8.3" fell on March 1-2.

In winter of 1915 a snowfall of 7.7" on March 6-7 was followed by 26 days with no snow and then there was a snowfall of 10.2" on April 3-4.  And earlier that winter snowfalls of 4.4" and 7.7" were separated by 30 snowless days.

The longest drought bracketed by significant snowfalls occurred during the winter of 1906 when a snowless period of 32 days began after a snowfall of 6.0" on Feb. 9 and ended when 6.5" fell on March 14-15.

The winter of 1875 had a four-week period with no snow, with a snowfall of ten inches five days before Christmas on one end and five inches on Jan. 18.

 

SNOW-FREE DAYS BETWEEN WINTERS

The average number of snow-free days between winters is 264 days (or 38 weeks, about the length of a full-term pregnancy).  The longest number of days with no measurable snow was 320 between the winter of 1972 and 1973 (Mar. 15, 1972 - Jan. 28, 1973), followed very closely by the 319-day respite in 2002 (Jan. 20 thru Dec. 4). 

Eighteen winters had their last snowfalls before March 1, the most recent being the winter of 2020, which had its last snowfall on Jan. 18 (2.1" fell).  The winter of 2002's last snowfall (3.0" was measured) happened one day later than 2020's and came just twelve days after the first snowfall.  Although the period between the two snowfalls was minimal, the fact that there was no measurable snow in November, December, February, March or April, makes this winter the title holder of the "Greatest Snow Drought" competition.

Finally, there have been six winters to go out with a bang, so to speak, with their last snowfalls amounting to more than nine inches.  Three were in February, the other three were after the spring equinox.  By far the greatest of these accumulations was the winter of 2010's final snowfall, a monster of a snowstorm, on Feb. 25-26, that buried the City under 20.9" (New York's fifth biggest snowstorm of all time). The other five winters: Winter of 1979 (12.7" on Feb. 19); 1915 (10.2" on April 3-4); 1967 (9.8" on March 21-22); 1903 (9.8" on Feb. 15-17) and 1982 (9.6" on April 6).

 

 

 


January 2019 Weather Recap: Average ... But With a Few Flourishes

Brutal cold january 31 2019

 

January 2019 was average in terms of temperature and precipitation, but this masked the fact that it had two of the five coldest days of the past 25 years.  It was also one of the least snowy Januarys on record.  After the first nine days of the month averaged seven degrees above average, the rest of January was three degrees colder than average, with respective highs/lows of 45°/35° and 37°/23°.  (The month began with a high/low of 58°/39° and ended with a high/low of 16°/2°.)  Despite the month being average overall, the month's high temperature was 0.7 degree above average while the low was 0.9 below average. 

 

Barely any snow fell in January, with just 1.1" measured from three snowfalls (if you can call them that), making this the least snowy January since 2008.  Furthermore, January tied January 1870 as the 16th least snowy January on record.  But what made this year's paltry amount somewhat unique is that past Januarys with little snow tended to be on the mild side, but January 2019 was 4.4 degrees colder than these months. (Fun fact: The four Januarys between 1930 and 1933 each had less than an inch of snow.)

 

Wheres-the-snow-2

 

The month's two wickedly cold days, Jan. 21 and Jan. 31, had highs/lows of 14°/4° and 16°/2°, respectively.  And although January had three days with lows in the single digits, only five days had highs of 32° or colder (there were also seven days with highs between 33° and 35°).  Typically, Januarys with two to four days with lows in the single digits average 11 days with highs this cold, while it's the months with no lows in the single digits that average five days with highs of 32° or colder.

 

Chart - coldest days of past 25 years

70% of January's 3.58" of precipitation fell during two rainstorms that occurred less than a week apart: 1.17" fell on Jan. 18-19 and 1.33" fell on 1/24 (which also had the mildest reading of the month - 59°).  The rest of the month had just a little over one inch of precipitation. 

 

When 0.5" of snow fell on 1/18 (the month's "biggest" snowfall) it was the first snowfall since the "surprise" snowstorm of Nov. 15.  This was the second longest hiatus between a first and second snowfall (lengthiest was 12 weeks in 2011-12).  Furthermore, December/January was the fifth least snowy on record, with just 1.1" measured in Central Park (no measurable snow fell in December).  Perhaps Old Man Winter took pity on us after his surprise 6.4" snowfall back in November.  Interestingly, the winter of 1918-19, one hundred years ago, had even less snow in Dec/Jan.

 

Chart - least snowy dec_jan

 

Salt on steps
Aggressive salting of streets, steps and sidewalks somewhat substituted for the lack of snow in January.

Previous January Recaps:

2018

2017

2016

2014