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February 2017 Tops February 2012 To Become Mildest on Record

Fair skies


Propelled by an eight-day period between Feb. 18-25, which had temperatures that were sixteen degrees above average (high/low of 61/44), February 2017 became the mildest on record.  Five days had highs in the 60s and one reached 70° - the earliest 70 in ten years.  And on Feb. 24 the mildest low temperature ever recorded in the month of February was reported (58°).  This month was in stark contrast to two years ago when New York experienced it coldest February since 1934.  This year had no Arctic outbreaks; six days had below-average temperatures, in three pairs of two.  However, despite the abundance of mild conditions, winter made a jolting cameo appearance on Feb. 9, when the day after the high reached 63°, 9.4" of snow fell during the morning.  The day following the snowstorm was the only one with a high of 32° or colder.


10 Mildest Februarys


The month was 6.3 degrees above average, not much cooler than a typical March.  It was also the 20th month in a row that was warmer than average.  Of these months, February 2017 had the fourth highest departure from average, behind December 2015 (+13.3 degrees); September 2015 (+6.5) and March 2016 (+6.4).


20 months above average
















Photo Gallery: Snowfalls of Winter 2017

Feb9 hedges (2)

Taking a break from weather statistics and analyses, here's a gallery of this winter's snowfalls in New York as captured through the lens of my smartphone. (There have been eight snowfalls thru mid-March - oops, I slipped a statistic in there!) 


Dec11 first snow
0.4" of snow fell the evening of Dec. 11


Dec11 snow by streetlight
Snow in lamp light on Barrow St. (Dec. 4)


Dec17 boot n slush
Nearly 3" of snow fell the morning of Dec. 17.  This photo shows the slush that resulted when the temperature rose into the upper 30s during the afternoon.


1christmas 2016
Dec. 17, Hudson St. (Greenwich Village)


Jan7 greenwich village snow
5.1" of snow fell on Saturday, Jan. 7. These apartment buildings are on West 10th St., off of Seventh Ave. South.


Jan7 sheridan square
Of all the photos chosen for this post, this one of famed Village Cigar may be my favorite


Jan7 snowy seventh ave south
Looking north on 7th Ave. South from the  second floor of my gym (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snow covered car
I found the white & gray of the snow & steel on this parked on Washington Place aesthetically pleasing (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy steps
West 23rd St. (evening of Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy night
The park on the corner of 7th Ave. and Greenwich Ave. (Jan. 7)


Jan7 snowy door
This is the front door of my apartment building (Jan. 7)


Jan14 dusting of snow
Two days after a record high of 66 degrees, afternoon temperatures on Jan. 14 were below freezing and about an inch of snow fell.  This photo was taken at Sheridan Square Park.


Jan14 snowcovered balloons
Snow-covered balloons outside of my gym (Jan. 14)


Geese foraging in Hudson River Park (Jan. 15)


Jan15 wintry sunset
Wintry sunset at Bloomfield Place in lower Manhattan (Jan. 15)


Jan31 snowy lexington and 42nd st
An inch of snow fell late in the morning of Jan 31. This photo (looking at the Grand Hyatt) was taken near the corner of Lexington Ave. and 42nd St.
Feb9  washington place (1)
9.4" of snow fell the morning of Feb. 9, the day after a high of 62 degrees. I took this photo as I was walking to the subway.


Feb9 washington place
This was the sight that greeted me when I stepped out of my apartment building on Washington Place
Feb9 jefferson library (1)
The clock tower of Jefferson Market Library on Sixth Ave. in Greenwich Village.  Visibility for much of the morning was less than 1/4 mile (Feb. 9).


Feb9 hedges (1)
In front of the NY Public Library on Fifth Ave. (10AM on Feb. 9)
Feb9 patience and fortitude (1)
Profiles of famed lions, Patience and Fortitude, who guard the NY Public Library (Feb. 9)


Feb9 chrysler building
The obscured Chrysler Building, looking east on 42nd St./Fifth Ave. (Feb. 9)
Feb9 patience and fortitude (2)
On a snowy day like this it's more appropriate to call this a "Trudge" sign (Feb. 9)


Feb9 blue umbrella
Corner of Madison & 42nd St. (Feb. 9)


Feb9 near office (2)
At the height of the snowstorm's fury (Feb. 9)
Feb9 capital grille
Steakhouse across the street from my office building (150 E. 42nd St.)
Feb9 near office (1)
Lunchtime, Lexington Ave. near the corner of 42nd St. (Feb. 9)


Feb9 slush as modern art
Slush & snowmelt at sidewalk's edge on Lexington Ave. brings to mind modern art (Feb. 9).


Feb9 snow drift
Snowdrifts in Greenwich Village, night of Feb. 9 (Sheridan Square Park, along Christopher St.)


March14 patio
Tribeca patios prepared for evening cocktails (March 14)


Fiorello laguardia
Snow-covered statue of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village (March 14)


As Seen on TV ...


Occasionally, I've been asked to provide my point of view about weather events on New York TV station WPIX.  PIX-11 news reporter James Ford came across my blog back in 2014 and has contacted occasionally to get my historical perspective on weather conditions.  (What's made it easier for both of us is the fact that PIX's office is conveniently down the street from my office on 42nd St.)  Here are the nine appearances I've made (so far) including links to each :   


Nov. 10, 2014.  In my first appearance I was asked to comment about an approaching Arctic front that would drop temperatures to more than 10 degrees below average between the 13th and 22nd. At its coldest, the high/low on Nov. 19 was 36/22, eighteen degrees below average.


Jan. 8, 2015. Talking about another Arctic air mass (which had me wearing earmuffs).


Feb. 16, 2015. Here I am in front of my apartment building (it was President's Day) commenting about the coldest February since 1930.  As you can tell by the pained expression on my face, it was very cold, with a wind chill of 5° below zero at the time of the interview.


8.me on tv
May 6, 2016.  Commenting about the cool, damp and overcast conditions during the first week of May.


Me again on tv
July 22, 2016.  And here I am in front of Penn Station (my train to Lancaster, PA was leaving in 15 minutes) giving my perspective about a heat wave that I thought was over-hyped.



Me on pix
March 14, 2017 - I was asked to comment about the snowstorm that brought "only" 7.6" of snow rather than the 12-18" that was predicted (the storm produced a lot of sleet) and on the admission by the National Weather Service that it knew this was going to happen but decided not to lower snow totals.


Pix interview july 13
July 13, 2017 - On the 40th anniversary of the Blackout of 1977 I was asked to provide some perspective about the heat wave that coincided with the event (which was one of the City's most intense).
























Rob frydlewicz on pix-11 jan 30 2019
Jan. 30, 2019 - After an 18-month absence I was asked to comment about an approaching Arctic front. Shortly after this interview a blinding snow squall its arrival and the temperature plummeted from the low 30s to 6° above zero by midnight.



August 2019 on pix
Aug. 19, 2019 - On the second day with a high of 90° and dew points in the low-to-mid 70s, I was asked to comment on the hot weather. As I've said before this was far from the heat waves we had in 2010, 2011 and 2012. However, it's the warmer nights that were worthy of note. 

Greatest Rebounds in Temperature Following Sub-Zero Cold



This post was inspired by the winter of 2016, when the high reached 61° on Feb. 20, six days after a frigid low of -1° (the only sub-zero reading so far this century).  In researching other big rebounds following a sub-zero reading I uncovered one that was even more dramatic.  It occurred in February 1943 when the temperature soared to 63° just five days after a low of -8° (the first of five days in a row in the 60s).  However, winter 2016 can lay claim to a tie for the quickest rise to 50° after a sub-zero - two days later (it also happened in the winters of 1934 and 1918).  The chart below looks at the shortest and longest rebounds to temperatures in the 50s since 1900.



New York's Winter Snow Totals Revised Upward for 2015 & 2016


If the winter of 2015 wasn't tough enough, on March 24 the New York office of the National Weather Service issued a statement announcing that the season's snowfall in Central Park had been revised upward by 3.3".  This is the only time I can recall weather records being changed so significantly weeks after the fact.  The official announcement can be found here.  I would have loved to have been privy to the discussions that led to this decision.  I'm especially curious how NWS pinpointed the three snow events that were under-reported (Jan. 6, Jan. 24, and Feb. 2). 


For quite a few years weather hobbyists, myself included, questioned the measurements from Central Park since it consistently reported lower accumulations than Newark Airport, LGA and JFK (yet it often had higher rainfall); therefore, it was gratifying to see the issue addressed.  Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the other reporting locations are at airports (perhaps tree branches in the park were blocking snowflakes?).  A post from New York Metro Weather addressed the subject and its implications for confidence in future snow totals.




A number of other revisions have resulted from the NWS announcement:

  1. With 50.3" the new total, the winter of 2015 moves from 22nd to 18th snowiest.
  2. Feb. 2's snowfall of 5.0" (revised from 3.3") ties it with 1874 as the snowiest Feb. 2.  This new amount also increased the winter's number of snowfalls of four inches or more to six, tying it with last winter.
  3. With Jan. 6's total snow revised from 0.5" to 1.0", the number of snowfalls of an inch or more this winter increased to 13, which is one more than last winter (which had seven inches more total snowfall) and the most since the winter of 1994.
  4. Winter 2015 is now the fourth of the past six to see 50" or more of snow.  By comparison, the average is one such snowy winter every ten years.


Then the following winter there was revision made to that season's snowfall - and this one had more of an implication.  On Jan. 23 a blizzard dumped 26.8" of snow, putting it just 0.1" behind the biggest accumulation of all time from ten years earlier.  Then three months later the National Weather Service announced that snow from a final band, which amounted to 0.7", had been omitted.  This additional accumulation upped the storm's total to 27.5" and made it New York's biggest snowstorm.


These revisions brought to mind 1983 when it was announced at the end of that year that Central Park's rain gauge had been broken since May.  This was an especially crucial matter since 1983 reported the most rain on record, but was it valid?  This put the NWS in a sticky spot, but rather than address it they let it linger for years.  The issue resurfaced in 2011 when that year received the second greatest annual rainfall.  However, some thought it could lay claim as rainiest because of 1983's shaky measurement.  Pressed, the NWS finally decided that the 1983 record would stand - although previous NOAA climate reports left monthly rainfall totals for 1983 blank and noted the equipment malfunction.  I wasn't convinced by their argument.



Persistent Cold Characterized Winter 2015, With No January OR February Thaw



Even the coldest winters occasionally see temperatures rise into the 50s for a few days in a row in January and February.  (The mildest reading during these months is typically in the upper 50s.)  The winter of 2015, however, was marked by persistent cold.  Between Jan. 6 and March 7, a period of nearly nine weeks, the temperature never rose above 45° - an unprecedented stretch.  This streak beat the old record, set in the winter of 1948, by four days.  Temperatures during these days were eight degrees below average, with a high/low of 34°/19°; and temperatures were 13 below average between Feb. 13 and March 7.  Additionally, 44.7" of snow fell, 70% more than what falls in a typical winter in its entirety.


(Since 1910)
  # of   Average  
Winter Days Date Range High Low Below Snow
2015 61 Jan 6-Mar 7 33.8 19.3 -8.0 44.7"
1948 57 Dec 19-Feb 13 31.6 20.0 -6.4 56.6"
1977 52 Dec 21-Feb 10 29.4 17.8 -8.7 22.0"
1981 43 Dec 14-Jan 25 31.5 18.9 -7.3 10.8"
1978 43 Jan 27-Mar 10 31.8 18.5 -7.3 28.0"
1969 43 Feb 1-Mar 15 38.5 23.3 -1.8 22.2"
1925 43 Dec 20-Jan 31 34.4 21.1 -3.7 28.2"
1996 42 Dec 7-Jan 17 33.7 23.1 -5.5 36.7"
2011 41 Jan 3-Feb 12 34.6 24.3 -2.8 33.6"
1985 40 Jan 3-Feb 11 33.0 22.0 -4.1 18.4"
1936 40 Jan 16-Feb 24 29.1 15.7 -8.6 20.3"
1923 39 Jan 22-Mar 1 32.8 20.2 -5.0 25.4"
1945 38 Jan 2-Feb 8 32.2 18.3 -5.7 16.6"
2004 36 Jan 5-Feb 9 30.4 18.0 -7.6 18.0"
1970 35 Dec 13-Jan 16 30.2 21.1 -6.9 11.7"
Source: NOAA Local Climatological Data


Winter 2015 Recap - Global Warming Takes a Holiday



The winter of 2015 started off  mild, but then cold weather established itself in the second week of January and didn't loosen its grip.  (This analysis is based on meteorological winter, which begins on Dec. 1 and ends on Feb. 28.)  Despite the relatively mild temperatures of December (three degrees above average), this was the coldest winter since 2003, as January was 2.7 degrees below average and February 11.4 below average.  This frigid January and February combo was the coldest since the winter of 1920 - and the tenth coldest overall (eight of the top 10 occurred more than 100 years ago).  February was the coldest since 1934, and the tenth coldest of any month.


The winter had no sub-zero days but there were nine days with lows in the single digits, the most since 1994 (which was also the last winter to have a sub-zero reading).  Of course, there were a number of days in which with wind chills were in the -5° to -15° range.  


Last winter, also a harsh one, was characterized by a record amount of snow in a 30-day period (42 inches).  This winter was characterized by persistent cold, which resulted in a new record for most consecutive days in which the temperature never rose above 43°.  The streak began on Jan. 6 and continued for the rest of the winter, a period of nearly eight weeks (and it continued into the first week of March).  During these days the mean temperature was nearly eight degrees colder than average.




In January and February, a series of snowstorms were forecast that didn't live up to their potential, or ended up bypassing us (burying Boston instead).  However, even with these fizzled snowstorms Jan/Feb picked up a healthy 30.5" of snow, which was well above the average of 16.2".  There was a snow cover of two inches or more for the last five weeks of the winter. 




In total, there were nine snowfalls of an inch or more (and one other that amounted to 0.9").  The largest accumulation came from the snowstorm of Jan. 26-27, which brought 9.8".  This storm had originally been forecast to dump 24"-36" on the City.  In February there were three with accumulations of between three and four inches.  


Twice this winter I appeared on PIX-11's 5 o'clock newscast to comment on the frigid conditions.


  Mean Temperature
Winter Jan Feb Jan/Feb
1875 23.8 25.2 24.5
1904 25.3 25.4 25.3
1918 21.7 30.4 25.8
1920 23.4 28.5 25.9
1888 23.0 29.3 26.0
1912 23.7 28.8 26.2
1885 29.4 22.7 26.2
1893 23.7 29.4 26.4
1881 24.7 28.7 26.6
2015 29.9 23.9 27.1
Source: NWS New York, NY  

February 2015 - One of New York's Coldest Months on Record



Through mid-February, it appeared this would be the coldest February since 1979, but as incursions of Arctic cold continued unabated through the second half of the month, it ended up being even colder than that February.  (February 1979 was brutally cold until the last six days of the month when temperatures were eight degrees above average.)  Most who experienced February 2015 probably don't need convincing that it was an unusually frigid month, but for those who need statistical proof, read on:


  • It was 1) New York's coldest month since January 1977; 2) the coldest February since 1934 (which is NYC's coldest month on record); and 3) the third coldest February overall.  Among all months it was the tenth coldest (see chart below). 
  • February 2015 joins four other months in the past 25 years that rank among their respective month's 10 coldest (all of which have occurred since 2000):  July 2000, January 2004, June 2009 and July 2009.
  • There were nine days in a row (Feb. 13-21) in which the mean temperatures were 10 degrees or more below average (the longest streak since one of 11 days in February 1979).  Overall, sixteen days were ten degrees or more below average, the most since December 1989.  Five days were 20 degrees or more below average.
  • Despite there being no sub-zero readings, the month was characterized by its consistent cold.  The temperature got no higher than 43° (the only Februarys with lower "warmest" temperature were in 1978, when the maximum temperature was just 41°, and 1934, when it was 42°.)  This continued a streak that began on Jan. 6 and became the longest such streak on record (and it continued thru the first week of March).


Frozen fountain in Bryant Park


  • Every day had a low of freezing or below; every day but one, Feb. 22, had a below average mean temperature.  Fifteen days had highs of 32° or colder (a typical winter averages eighteen in total).
  • The coldest day of the entire winter was Feb. 20, with a high/low of 19°/2°, 26 degrees below average.
  • There were no big snowstorms, but 13.6" accumulated, four inches above average. (This total reflects a revision made by the National Weather Service in late March that increased Feb. 2's snowfall from 3.3" to 5.0").  This came mostly from three snowfalls in the three to five-inch range.  These snowfalls, along with the cold weather, helped maintain a snow cover in Central Park of at least six inches for the entire month.  And although total precipitation for the month was just 2.04", there have been six Februarys since 2000 with less.


  Temp Snow Coldest Warmest
Feb 1934 19.9 27.9" -15 42
Jan 1918 21.7 13.2" -4 53
Jan 1977  22.1 13.0" -2 44
Feb 1885 22.7 14.5" -2 46
Jan 1888  23.0 11.0" 0 54
Jan 1920  23.4 8.2" -1 51
Jan 1912  23.7 13.0" -3 54
Jan 1893  23.7 16.0" 1 52
Jan 1875  23.8 14.5" -3 40
Feb 2015 23.9 13.6" 2 43
Source: NOAA Local Climatological Data








Winter Festival: A Celebration of Snow As Portrayed by Covers of The New Yorker

The-new-yorker-logo.jpgBefore it turns to slush, newly-fallen snow in New York brings a blanket of serenity even to the great metropolis.  And wintertime covers of The New Yorker perfectly capture the ineffable beauty of the season.  Here are a few dozen of my favorites (captions are mine) ...


New Yorker Jan 29 1927
Snowstorm Meets Roaring Twenties (Jan. 29, 1927)


Snow Beautiful (Jan. 16, 1932)


Wintry Tableau (Feb. 27, 1937)


Little Siberia (Feb. 2, 1946)


The Excitement Builds (Jan. 21, 1950)


Eager Anticipation (Jan. 20, 1951)


Sisyphus In Winter (Jan. 7, 1956)


Hibernation, Manhattan Style (Jan. 21, 1956)


Manhattan on Ice (March 2, 1957)


Polar Express (Jan. 11, 1958)



Flight Delay (Jan 8, 1966)


Old Man Winter's Calling Card (Jan. 7, 1967)


Veil of White (March 2, 1968)


Mantle of White (Jan. 4, 1969)


A Cold Winter's Night That Was So Deep (Jan. 22, 1979)


In Winter's Grip (Jan. 7 1974)


Cozy Inside (Jan. 12, 1976)


Travel Advisory (Feb. 7, 1977)


Snow Day (Jan. 29, 1979)


Serenity (Jan. 26, 1981)


Rush in Slush (Dec. 13, 1982)


Neither Sleet nor Snow ... (Feb. 16, 1987)


Winter Gridlock (Jan. 28, 1991)


Cold Comfort (March 6, 1995)


Fashion Statement (March 1, 2010)


Cold Reality (Dec. 20, 2010)


50 Shades of Gray (Jan. 23, 2012)


Double Duty (March 10, 2014)



New yorker - december 22 2014

 New yorker - flat iron building - march 9 2015


I've written a similar post about my favorite summertime covers.  Large reproductions of these covers, as well as every New Yorker cover (nearly 5,000), are available for purchase on Conde Nast's website.  (And small versions are sold by street vendors throughout midtown Manhattan.)


Snowfall Analysis: New York's Snowiest Consecutive Months



The snow that piled up in New York during the winter of 2014 made it one of the ten snowiest on record (going back to 1869).  The bulk of the 57 inches fell in January (19.7") and February (28.8").  Their combined total of 48.5" is the second greatest amount of snow to fall in back-to-back months.  Only the winter of 2011 had a combo with more as December picked up 20.1" and January saw 36.0". 


Three of the winters found on the chart below had 20" or more of snow for both of the months: Jan/Feb 1978, Jan/Feb 1996 and Dec 2010/Jan 2011.  And three winters make two appearances: 1996, 2010 and 2011.  (If March 2014 sees nine inches or more it will also have two slots on the list.)


(Since 1869)
 Months 1st Month 2nd Month Combined
Dec 2010/Jan 2011 20.1" 36.0" 56.1"
Jan/Feb 2014 19.7" 28.8" 48.5"
Jan/Feb 1996 26.1" 21.2" 47.3"
Dec 1947/Jan 1948 29.6" 15.3" 44.9"
Jan/Feb 1978 20.3" 23.0" 43.3"
Jan/Feb 1923 24.5" 18.8" 43.3"
Feb/Mar 1967 23.6" 17.4" 41.0"
Feb/Mar 2011 36.0" 4.8" 40.8"
Dec 1904/Jan 1905 21.6" 18.4" 40.0"
Feb/Mar 1896 9.5" 30.5" 40.0"
Jan/Feb 2010 2.1" 36.9" 39.0"
Feb/Mar 1914 17.4" 21.5" 38.9"
Jan/Feb 1994 12.0" 26.4" 38.4"
Dec/Jan 1996 11.5" 26.1" 37.6"
Dec/Jan 1893 27.0" 10.6" 37.6"
Dec 2003/Jan 2004 19.8" 17.3" 37.1"
(Analysis of data from www.NWS.NOAA.gov)