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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.

 


June Weather Recap: Two 4-Day Heat Waves Make June 2021 One of NYC's 10 Hottest

 City sunflower 2021

With a scorching high of 98° on the last day of the month (along with a heat index of 106°), June 2021 became New York's ninth hottest June.  This was Central Park's hottest temperature since 2013, and the hottest reading in June since another 98° high in June 1994.  6/30 was also the last day of the month's second four-day heat wave, which was just the second time there were two heat waves of this length (or longer) in June (the other was in June 1943, the hottest June on record). 

 

The month's eight days with 90+ highs were the most in June since June 1991 (which had nine).  Only four Junes have had more hot days: 1943 (11), 1966 (10), 1925 (9) and 1991 (which was slightly cooler than June 2021, ranking as 14th warmest).

 

The month had nine days with lows in the 70s, tying it for ninth most in June.  The month's five days with lows of 75° or warmer was the most since there were six in June 1943.  (June 1909 had the same number as this June.)  Finally, in the years since 1940, the low of 76° on 6/6 was the fifth earliest date for a low this warm.

 

Ironically, despite the month's warmth, this June had the latest occurrence of a reading in the mid-50s since 1995, occurring on 6/23 (54°).  This was the coolest reading of the month (twelve degrees below average).

 

The month's two four-day heat waves were three weeks apart - June 6-9, and June 27-30.  The first heat wave averaged a high/low of 91°/74° (13 degrees above average), the second was 94°/75° (nine above average).  Both heat waves had a day with significant rainfall at night, 0.47" on 6/8, and 0.65" on 6/30.  Without these heat waves, the other days of the month were one degree cooler than average.

 

Besides the high of 98°, the last day of June was also the rainiest day of the month (0.65").  If it hadn't been for this rainfall, this would have been the second June in a row with less than two inches of rain, something that hadn't happened since 1978 and 1979.  These nighttime thundershowers cooled the temperature to 73°, erasing the day's morning low of 80°.  (If that sultry low had remained the day's low, this would have been the seventh, rather than ninth, hottest June.) 

 

With eight days of 90+ readings by 6/30, 2021 joined 20 other years (since 1869) to have this many by that date (1991 had the most - 15).  The last time there was this many by this date was in 1994.  Prior to that, between 1923-1994, this many days in the 90s by the end of June occurred much more regularly, once every four years.

 

Finally, in an interesting contrast, while the last four days of June had highs in the 90s (eleven degrees above average), the last four days of May all had lows in the 40s (ten degrees below average).

 

Girl_cooling_off_in_fountain_ethiogrio

Here are previous June recaps:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016


A Look at New York City's Hottest Weekends of All Time

 

Waterskiing

 

On the one hand, if you work a Monday-Friday schedule and have access to a beach or pool, a hot weekend can be delightful.  On the other, if you don't have access to a body of water hot weather can be brutal, especially if you have outdoor plans or a wedding to attend.  This summer, the weekend of July 18-19 had highs/lows of 91°/72° and 94°/77°.  Hot, yes, but far from the most torrid weekends of all time in New York.  This analysis looks at conditions in two ways - by mean temperatures and by high temperatures.  In order to qualify, both Saturday and Sunday had to have highs in the 90s or hotter and lows in the 70s or warmer. 

 

Looking at mean temperature, the two hottest weekends were Aug. 13-14, 1988 (highs/lows of 96°/79° and 99°/80°) and Aug. 8-9, 1896 (95°/79°, 98°/82°).   Last summer (2019) had the third hottest weekend, with highs/lows on July 20-21 of 95°/82° on Saturday and 95°/80° on Sunday.  Focusing on high temperatures reveals that the five hottest weekends are different from the top-five based on mean temperature, with the hottest occurring on July 3-4, 1966 (highs of 100° and 103°), followed by July 20-21, 1991 (100° and 102°).  These are the only weekends in which both days saw highs in the triple digits; four other weekends had one day of 100°+.

 

Hot weekend

 

And here are a few other findings of note. 

  • The second earliest and latest scorching hot weekends occurred in the same year - 1895 (in the before-air conditioning era).  On June 1-2 the highs/lows were 96°/77° and 96°/76°; on Sept. 21-22 the highs/lows were 95°/77° and 95°/75°.   The earliest torrid weekend, in 1987, occurred two days earlier than 1895's, on 5/30 and 5/31 (with highs/lows of 97°/74° and 94°/76°).
  • Besides 1895, 1953 also had two sizzling weekends. The most consecutive summers with a hot weekend were in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

 

Chart - summer 1943 1944 1945

 

  • The weekend of July 20-21 has been very hot in three summers: 1957, 1991 and 2019.
  • Finally, the first weekend with lows in the 80s on both days occurred in 2019 (82° and 80°).  However, the weekend of July 23-24, 2011 had the warmest low of these select weekends - 83° on Saturday.

 

 Chart - 10 hottest mean temps in july

 

Chart - 10 hottest highs in july

 Scorching hot


Here are other heat-related posts:

Revisiting New York's Hottest Summers

"Super" Heat Waves (95°+)

Hot, Wet New York Summer

Low Temperatures of 70° or Warmer

The Heat is On: New York's "Hell Week"


Comparing Central Park's Weather to That of New York's Three Major Airports

 

Central-park-28-weather-station

 

New York City's official reporting site for weather conditions is situated in Central Park, but LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports also collect data, as well as Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey (the airports are 7, 16 and 27 miles away from Central Park, respectively).  Central Park is one of the few reporting sites in the US not located at an airport.  Although the park is surrounded by the "heat island" of Manhattan, its temperatures are influenced by the grass and trees, which retain the humidity more than the concrete surroundings of airports.  As a result, afternoon temperatures in the summertime don't rise as much as they do at the three airports, and nighttime temperatures don't fall as much during the winter or summer. 

I've looked at five statistics, which cover temperatures and precipitation for the 2000-2020 period.  Of the four weather stations, Central Park averages the most days with highs of 32° or colder and receives the most precipitation.  Newark is tops in the number of 90-degree days, lows of 32° or colder and snowfall. 

 

HOT WEATHER: HIGHS OF 90°+

Central Park: Averages 16.0 days. The biggest difference between CPK and Newark was in 2006, when CPK had only eight days, 50% below average, while Newark had 27, an average number for that site.

Newark: The hottest site, with 27.7 days.  It's the site that's reported the most in all but two years; in 2018 its 10-year streak of having the most was snapped.

LaGuardia: 22.8 days.  It was the site with the most hot days in 2007, 2018 and 2020.

Kennedy: 11.1 days.  In 2018 CPK, NWK and LGA were well above their averages, but JFK had a below average number (eight).

 

COLD CONDITIONS: HIGHS OF 32° OR COLDER

Central Park: Averages 16.9 days.  It had the most of the four stations in twelve years, and four first-place ties.

Newark: 15.0 days.  It reported the most in one year (2016), and one first-place tie.

LaGuardia: 15.2 days.  It reported the most in two years (2004 and 2008), and one first-place tie.

Kennedy: 15.1 days.  It reported the most in two years (2005 and 2009), and two first-place ties.

 

COLD CONDITIONS: LOWS OF 32° OR COLDER

Central Park:  An average of 67.6 days.  It's never led in this category.  The closest it got was in 2000, when it had seven fewer days than JFK.

Newark: 80.3 days.  In addition to having the most days with highs in the 90s, it also averages the most cold nights.  It had the most in all but four years, including 2018 and 2020.

LaGuardia: 62.3 days.  Like CPK, it's never led in this category.

Kennedy: 75.1 days.  It had the most in four years, including 2018 and 2020.

 

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION

Central Park:  The wettest site, with an average of 51.16".  Six  of the 21 years in the period reported 55"+, and two years had less than 40"; the wettest station every year but three, which were in the last four years.

Newark: 47.64".  Four years had 55"+; reported the most of the four sites in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

LaGuardia: 46.61".  Eight years had 50"+; it's never reported the most.

Kennedy: 44.67".  Five years had 50"+, five years had less than 40"; it reported the most once, during the dry year of 2012 (when all four stations had less than 40").

 

ANNUAL SNOWFALL

Central Park: 32.1".  50"+ fell in three of the years; it had the most snow in three years, including 2018.

Newark: 33.6".  Four years had 50"+; the snowiest site, it had the most in eleven of the years of the period, and tied with CPK in 2010 (when both measured 59.1").

LaGuardia: 31.1".  Two years had 50"+; it had the most in five of the years.

Kennedy: 27.8".  One year had 50"+; it had the most snow of the four stations in 2016.

 

NewYorkCityAirports

 

 

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Days of 95 Degrees+ and "Super" Heat Waves

Sweltering hot

 

The majority of days with highs of 90° or hotter in New York fall in the 90-92 range (56% to be exact).  And while the average number of 90-degree days each year is eighteen (including readings in the triple digits), the average number of readings that reach 95° or higher is just three (and about one out of every four years have had no highs that hot, the most recent being the summer of 2017).  The most in one year was sixteen, in 1955.  What follows are some more hot-Hot-HOT weather observations, best read in a well air-conditioned environment:  

  • Eleven years (since 1872) have had ten or more days with readings of 95°+, with the most recent being 2002, which had 13.
  • Although 1955 is the year with the most days with highs of 95° or hotter, it ranks 19th in total number of 90-degree days (with 25).  Incredibly, nearly two-thirds of its 90°+ days were 95°+ (the average is one-in-six).

 

1955 chevy

 

  • 1970 has the distinction of having the most 90-degree days, twenty-two, without any being 95° or hotter.  And not far behind are 1959, which had just one of twenty-seven days reaching 95/100+, and 1939, which had one of twenty-four.  The most consecutive years with no days of 95°+ is two, which has happened four times, most recently in 2003 and 2004.
  • The greatest concentration of years with with well above-average number of days with 95°+ readings was 1952-1955, when there were nine in 1952, twelve in 1953 and sixteen in 1955 (1954 had four, two of which were highs of 100°).

 

Nyc-heat-wave-1953

 

  • Although 1917 had only six days in the 90s/100s, the last four, on consecutive days, were sizzlers, with highs of 98°-100°-98°-98°. 
  • The earliest excessively hot days occurred on April 18, 1976 and April 17, 2002, both which had highs of 96°, and on May 19, 1962 when the temperature topped out at a blistering 99°.  On the late side, the high reached 99° twice on Sept. 11, in 1931 and in 1983; and on Sept. 23, 1895 the high was 97°.
  • The most consecutive days with highs of 95° or hotter ("super" heat waves) is eight, in 1944.  There has also been a streak of six days (in 1953) and seven that were five days in a row.  The last time we experienced a "super" heat wave of five days or longer was during the summer of 2002 (which is the only one among the eight lengthiest to have no highs in the triple digits).
  • The hottest temperature ever recorded in New York, 106° on July 9, 1936, came in the middle of a three-day super heat wave, with the day before having a high of 97° and the day after, 102°.

 

106

 

  • The hottest early "super" heat wave occurred in 1925 when highs of 99°-99°-98°-96° were experienced from June 4 to June 7.  The latest was in 1895 when there was a streak of three days from Sept. 21 to 23 (95°-95°-97°).
  • In 1944, which had thirty-seven 90-degree days, the first twenty-four were below 95°, but then 11 of the next 13 were 95° or hotter (concentrated in the four weeks between Aug. 4 and Sept 2).
  • Perhaps the most famous super heat wave was July 1977's, which coincided with New York's infamous blackout.  However, although the blackout began on the first day of a nine-day heat wave, the five days in a row with highs of 95+ began the day after power was restored: 98°-98°-97°-100°-102° (July 15-19).  And after a one-day respite on the 20th (high of 92°) the next day's high jumped to 104°.  
  • In less than six weeks in the summer of 1949 (July 3-Aug. 11) there were three three-day super heat waves: 99°-102°-95° (July 3-5); 97°-99°-95° (July 28-30); and 100°-98°-99° (Aug. 9-11).

 

Air condtioning

 

  • Finally, the hottest super heat wave of four days or more was in 1993 when the five days from July 7-11 averaged 99.8°, with highs of 98°-100°-101°-102°-97°.  Two years earlier there was another streak of five days in a row, from July 17-21: 96°-99°-96°-100°-102°.  Then after a one-day break, when the high "cooled" to the upper 80s, the high on 7/23 was 99°.   (A three-day "super" heat wave on July 1-3, 1966 had an average high of 100.3°.)

 

Excessive heat warning

 

 95+

 Summer beach scene in coney island

 Super Heat Waves

 

Super

   
(I owe a debt of gratitude to Eugene DeMarco, a follower of NYC Weather Archive, whose spreadsheet showing the 90-degree days of every year, made this analysis so much easier for me to do.)

 

 

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Today in New York Weather History: August 27

 

1971

Rain from tropical storm Doria moved in shortly before daybreak and continued through early evening.  Rain fell heaviest between 1-3:00 PM, when 1.76" came down.  In total, 4.16" was measured - a record for the date.  Winds gusting to 40-50 mph accompanied the rain.  A second round of rain would dump an additional 1.80" between 1-7:00 AM on Aug. 28.  Rainfall amounts were even greater in New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. 

 

Tropical_storm_doria    

1980

It was hot, hot, HOT, with a blistering high of 97°, sixteen degrees above average.

1987

The 0.39" of rain that fell between 5-6 AM was the first measurable rain since Aug. 10.

1989

This was the sixth day this month with a low in the 50s, the most in August in the 1970-2021 period (tied in 2007). 

1990

Today was the year's last reading in the 90s, on par with the average date for this occurrence.  In total, the year had a dozen days in the 90s - well below the average of eighteen days.  Between Aug. 3 and today, twelve days had morning lows of 68° or 69°.

2003

Today's low of 72° was the last low in the 70s of the year, more than two weeks earlier than the average date of Sept. 11.  (16 years have had it occur earlier, with 2009 added later).   

2011

During the evening, wind and rain from Hurricane Irene began lashing the area as it slowly made its way northward from the North Carolina and Virginia coasts.  By midnight, 2.88" of rain had fallen - with a lot more to come overnight.  As a precaution, New York's transportation system was shut down at noon and 350,000 residents were evacuated from low-lying areas.

 

HurricaneIrene

2012

In the late morning a quick-forming thunderstorm dumped a half-inch of rain in just 15 minutes, between 1:23-1:38 PM.

2021

It was hot and humid, with a high of 93° (the heat index reached 102°), the third day in a row with a high in the 90s.  Then a thunderstorm moved through late in the afternoon and produced enough rain in Central Park (0.67”, almost all of which fell between 5:15-5:45 PM) to bring August’s rainfall over ten inches.  This was after July had 11.09" of rain, making July-August just the second time consecutive months had 10 inches or more of rain.  (The other time, March-April 1983, has been disputed because the rain gauge in CPK was broken for a good portion of the year).  Just before the skies opened up, the dew point rose to 77°, which was the highest of the summer.  Interestingly, no rain fell in my Greenwich Village neighborhood (just thunder), which is about three miles south of Central Park (while LaGuardia Airport reported twice as much rain as the Park).

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July 2016 Weather Recap - A Month in the Tropics

 

Rain drops

The1990s

 

As we entered the last week of July it appeared the month's headline story would be about the heat, which took hold in the second half of the month.  But when three one-inch rainstorms occurred in the last week, the month's storyline became the combination of heat and rain.  A hot July is usually on the dry side (with rainfall about 30% below average), while a rainy July is cooler than average (by one or two degrees).  July 2016, however, was an anomaly in that it was the 21st wettest and 22nd hottest (going back to 1870). 

 

WELCOME RAINFALL

The 7.02" of rain measured in Central Park made July the rainiest month since April 2014.  It was also the wettest July since 2009.  Additionally, the month's rainfall was more than what fell in the previous twelve weeks (since April 10).  Finally, only one July has been hotter and wetter than this July - July 1988, which had 8.14" of rain and was 2.7 degrees hotter than average (see chart at bottom of page).  In addition to the three one-inch rainfalls at the end of the month, a rainstorm that began the night of July 4th (after the Macy's fireworks exhibition had ended) and lasted through the next morning also delivered more than an inch.  And while this rain helped reduce the year's rain deficit (which was also an issue last year), it was still four inches below average at the end of the month (13% below average).

 

HOT, BUT DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE

The month began with three days in a row with highs in the pleasant 70s, the first time since July 1960 that the month started this way.  Then from July 14-30 the average high/low was 90°/73°, 4.5 degrees above average.  And fifteen days between July 6-29 had highs of 88° or hotter.  Additionally, eight days had lows of 75° or warmer, with the warmest being 80°.

 

Nyc policeman cools off

 

After having no 90-degree days in June, July had ten (the average is eight), with seven occurring in an eight-day span from 7/21-28.  The one day that didn't reach 90° had a high of 89°.  If the temperature had reached 90° on that day (as it did at Newark and LaGuardia Airports) we  would have had an eight-day heat wave, which would have been the longest since 2002.)  The hottest day of the month was July 23, with a high/low of 96°/80°, eleven degrees above average.  However, July 25, with a high of 93°, felt hotter because it was much more humid and the heat index reached 102° (the feel-like temperature on the 23rd was actually 94° because of low humidity.) 

 

And while the second half of the month was hot and sultry, it was over-hyped by the media and some meteorologists, who put a sinister spin on the term "heat dome", leaning heavily on the global warming angle.  (I was interviewed on TV about the heat wave and I played it down as nothing extraordinary, especially compared to truly brutal heat waves of the past.)

 

Heat dome

 

 

CLOUD-COVER CURIOSITY

Despite all of the rain, the month was very sunny.  On the National Weather Service's scale of cloud-cover, where zero is clear skies and ten is overcast, the month averaged a 2.8, with 19 days having clear or sunny days (a rating of zero to 2).  However, what's peculiar is that Newark and LaGuardia were much cloudier (6.3), but hotter.  JFK Airport also had a 6.3 but with slightly lower temperatures than Central Park. 

 

Is this reality or is there a difference in the way Central Park scales cloud cover?  It seems counter-intuitive that Newark and LGA, with so much cloud cover, would have 15 and 16 90-degree days, respectively, while sunny Central Park had "just" 10 hot days.  Another peculiarity is the fact that Central Park reported no thunderstorms in July but JFK and Newark had seven and LGA four.  Working in Midtown Manhattan, I heard thunder and saw lightning during a number of storms so I'm baffled by this.

 

Cloud Cover in July 2016  

Finally, despite how warm the month was (2.2 degrees above average), four other Julys since 2010 were hotter:  2015, 2013, 2011 and 2010.  And although July of last year was 0.1 degree hotter, this July had twice as many days in the 90s.

 

Hot Wet July

 

 

 

 

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The Summer of 1908's Puzzling Nighttime 'Heat Bubble'

Coney island 1908

 

Reviewing New York's weather statistics over the past 145 years reveals that the years before 1930 were noticeably cooler than the years that followed (especially after 1980), which have seen some of the warmest years on record.  But, curiously, a number of the summers during the first decade of the 20th century had uncharacteristically warm nights, in particular, 1908.  That year stands out for a seven-week period with unusually warm nighttime temperatures unlike any that have been experienced - even in recent years.  Although highs during those weeks were three or four degrees above average, the average low of 74.5° was eight degrees above average.  Between June 30 and Aug. 17, fifteen days had lows of 77° or warmer, eight of them of 80°+.  No other summer has had that many sultry low temperatures.  It was these lows that made July the warmest on record until 1952. 

 

Sultry low temperatures became more common after 1990, but not during the first half of the 20th century.  In addition, the diurnal variation in the summer of 1908 was very narrow, with high and lows on many days ten degrees apart or less (typical is about sixteen degrees).  What was it about the air masses or jet stream in July 1908 that prevented temperatures from cooling down after dark?  Was it a matter of air pollution/particles of soot that prevented the temperature from falling at night?  This holding onto daytime heat is a characteristic of global warming experienced during the 21st century, but one hundred years ago it was unheard of.

 

Heat bubble

 

The chart below compares July 1908's average high/low temperature to those of eighteen other hot Julys.  What it shows is that the average highs of these hot months were two or three degrees warmer than July 1908, but July 1908's average low was warmer than every hot July by that same margin, with the exception of July 2013, which had the same sultry low.

 

July 1908 NYC 

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As Seen on TV ...

Pix11

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 :   

 

 

Revised.wpix
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.

 

Rob.frydlewicz.wpix.jan8
Jan. 8, 2015. Talking about another Arctic air mass (which had me wearing earmuffs).

 

RobFrydlewicz_deepfreeze_pix11
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).

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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. 

Favorite Weather-Themed Songs

Singing-in-the-rain-gene-kelly

 

There are hundreds, perhaps even a thousand, songs inspired by weather conditions to express emotions such as joy, love or despair, usually in the context of a relationship.  However, in order to keep this post from becoming a doctoral thesis I considered only those songs that I know, which gave me a manageable list of nearly 100.  Of these, my fifteen favorite are listed below (in alphabetical order).  As you'll see rain is the weather condition found most often, and love is the most expressed emotion.  (Interestingly, rain doesn't always equate to despair.)

 

A Warm Summer Night (1979) - Chic

This relatively obscure gem is from Chic's acclaimed Good Times album.  A beautiful "quiet storm" composition, it evokes languid, sultry evenings with romance on the agenda.

 

Warm summer night nyc

 

Blue Sky (1982) - Allman Brothers

This is such a feel-good song ("You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day"), and although I'm not a fan of guitar rock, this song is an exception, with a happy three-minute jam. (Honorable mention: ELO's Mr. Blue Sky)

 

Weather.central_park_summertime

 

Come Rain or Come Shine (1946)  - Numerous artists

This jazz classic from the 1940s has been covered by many (e.g., Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Billy Holiday).  It's somewhat unique in that it references two types of weather conditions.

 

Weather.comerain.comeshine

 

Heat Wave (1933) - Versions by Ethel Merman and Marilyn Monroe

Not to be confused with another song called Heat Wave, which was made famous in the early 1960s by Martha Reeves ("Love is like a heat wave"), this one (written by Irving Berlin) opens with, "We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave".  Marilyn Monroe's 1954 version differs from Merman's (1938) in that it has a spoken section in which her patter resembles a weather report. 

 

Pablo, it say here under
'Weather Report';
It say
A front of warm air is moving in from ...
Jamaica!
Moderately high barometric pressure will cover the
Northeast and ...
The deep South;
Small danger of
Fruit frost;
Hot and humid nights can be expected!
 
 
Weather.heat wave

 

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971) - The Fortunes

This is my favorite of the fifteen (just edging out Blue Sky) and it's due to the combination of its melody, nice and easy tempo and instrumentation.  And despite its downcast theme, the song doesn't bring me down.  Although it's a big favorite of mine it was only a moderate hit, peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 

Rainy day nyc

 

Hot Fun in the Summertime (1969) - Sly & the Family Stone

The tinkling of piano keys announces the arrival of this jazzy riff about summer.  It ranked as 1969's seventh most popular song.  (Honorable Mention: Summer in the City)

 

Washington square park fountain

 

I Love a Rainy Night (1980) - Eddie Rabbit

What immediately comes to mind when I think of this song is its finger snaps and tempo, which suggests the rhythmic motion of windshield wipers.  The song topped Billboard's Hot 100, Hot Country Singles and Adult Contemporary charts during the fall of 1980.  Here's the opening verse: 

 

Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good
Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain on my face
Taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow

 

Weather.downpour

 

In the Rain (1971) - The Dramatics

This one doesn't exude the positivity of the preceding song as the rain serves as a way to disguise tears rolling down the singer's cheeks.  It's a great R&B song; I especially like its use of crackling thunder at the start of the song (akin to the Doors' Riders on the Storm).  It went to #1 on Billboard's R&B chart and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100.

 

Weather.in the rain

 

Laughter in the Rain (1974-75) - Neil Sedaka

A joyous song about rain and love, it went to #1 on the Hot 100 and was 1975's #8 song.  I have to admit that when this was popular I was sick of it because it was so overplayed, but as the years went by, and I heard it infrequently, it began to grow on me (aging may have had something to do with it as well). 

 

Laughter in the rain - pinterest

 

Rhapsody in the Rain (1966) - Lou Christie

This was a follow up to Christie's big weather hit, Lightning Strikes, and it was risque for its time, as suggested by the lyric, "Cause on our first date we were making out in the rain.  And in this car our love went much too far.  It was as exciting as thunder."  Its chart movement was hindered (it peaked at #16) because a good number of radio stations banned the song.

 

Making out

 

Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984) - The Scorpions

I'm not passionate about metal rock but this is a standout from the genre. 

 

Hurricane hugo

 

Spring Rain (1977) - Bebu Silvetti

The lone instrumental on the list, this selection features a disco beat.  Its light, clean sound is very much like spring rain.  More likely to be played at clubs than on radio, it just cracked the top 40 on Billboard's Hot 100, peaking at #39.

 

Spring rain silvetti

 

Stormy Weather (1982) - Viola Wills

This arrangement put a disco spin on a jazz classic from the 1930s.  As with In the Rain it uses sound effects of thunder as well as wind.  (Honorable Mention: Stormy by the Classics IV)

 

Weather_thunderstorm_over_manhattan

 

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore (1966) - The Walker Brothers

I especially like the build near the end of the song.  It peaked at #13 in the US but topped the Pop Singles chart in the UK.  (Cher did a remake in 1995.)

 

Weather.grayday.newyork

 

Umbrella (2007) - Rihanna

Finally, this is the only selection from this century, and the only song about a device used to protect against the elements.  It was the nation's top song for 10 weeks and was rated as the top song of 2007.  (Despite its success there were no "me too" songs that followed about snow shovels or galoshes.) 

 

Weather_rihanna.umbrella

 

 

 

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