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Hurricanes & Tropical Storms That Affected New York Before 1970

 

Hurricane swirling clouds

 

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

 

1869

October 2-3 - Four inches of rain was produced by a hurricane that struck Cape Cod (1.84" fell on the 2nd, 2.16" on the 3rd).

1872

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

1874

September 29 – What was once the season's sixth hurricane moved over New York as a tropical storm, dropping 0.64" of rain on Central Park.  This was considerably less than the seven inches of rain that flooded the City from Sept. 16-18 from a non-tropical system.

1876

September 17 - Heavy rain from a minimal hurricane that raced inland through North Carolina and Virginia dumped 3.37" of rain in Central Park (a record for the date that still stands).

1877

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

 

Heavy rain clip art2

 

1878

October 23 - The center of a dissipated hurricane and tropical storm, referred to as the "Gale of 1878", moved west of Manhattan.  Shortly after daybreak winds gusted over 50 mph, and 0.73" of rain was measured in Central Park.

1879

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

1880

September 9-10 - Rain from a hurricane moving north from South Carolina started late on the 9th (0.67" of rain fell) and continued into the morning of the 10th (adding 0.54"). 

1882

September 11 - Rain from a tropical storm amounted to 3.23", with much of it (2.57") falling today.

September 23 - Less than two weeks after a tropical storm soaked the City, another tropical system brought more flooding rains to the Mid-Atlantic states, and drenched New York with its greatest rainfall for any calendar date - 8.28".  And in the preceding two days 3.52" of rain fell.  With a total of 16.85" of rain for the entirety of September (most of which fell between the 11th and 23rd), this was NYC's wettest month on record until Aug. 2011 when 18.95" was measured.

 

Heavy rain

1885

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

1886

June 23 - An early tropical storm passing to the south of New York dropped 1.20" of rain.  Cloud cover and rain kept the temperature in the 60s all day (the high/low was 66°/62°).

1888

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

1889

September 10-13 - A dissipating hurricane stalled off the Delmarva Peninsula and brought bands of rain over the course of four days, amounting to 4.46", with much of it (3.34") falling on the 12th and 13th.  Except for one hour during the afternoon of the 13th, the temperature was stuck in the 60s.  These four days were the start of a streak of nine days in a row with rain (and ten out of eleven); total rainfall during this period was around six inches.

1893

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

August 23 – Just four days after a hurricane lashed the City, a tropical storm passed to the west and dumped 3.61" of rain.

October 23 - A shield of heavy rain from a tropical storm that passed over the Delmarva Peninsula soaked the City with 2.46".

1903

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

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

1904

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

1915

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

1916

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

1924

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

1925

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

1928

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

 

Lake okeechobee hurricane of 1928

 

1929

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

1930  

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

1932

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

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

1933

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

1934

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

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

1935

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

1936

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

1938

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

 

1938 new england hurricane

 

1939

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

1944

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

 

Great atlantic hurricane of 1944
 

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

1950

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

1952

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

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

1953

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

Barbara

1954

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

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

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

 

Torrential rain
 

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

1955

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

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

1956

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

1959

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

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

1960

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

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

 

Umbrella blown inside out 

 

1961

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

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

1962

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


Greatest New York Weather 'Hits' of 2021

 

 Rainy 2021

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Chart - 10 warmest and 10 wettest years

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

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

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

 

Here are recaps of previous years:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2021


September 2021 Weather Recap: A Record-Setting 3rd Month in a Row with 10+ Inches of Rain

 

  Lee goldberg wabc

September 2021 will long be remembered for the torrential rain that fell the night of 9/1, submerging streets, highways, subway tunnels and residences.  Nearly 50 deaths in the metro area were attributed to the storm (13 of them were in NYC).  This unprecedented deluge was produced by the remnants of hurricane Ida pushing up against a mass of cool air.  Between 5 PM and 1 AM, a little more than seven inches of rain poured down (with three inches falling between 9-10 PM). 

 

Although heavy rain had been predicted, its intensity in such a brief period of time took residents by surprise.  (And although hurricane Henri, two weeks earlier, produced an inch more of rain than Ida, it fell over the course of 48 hours). 

 

Never before had a month started with so much rain, easily breaking the previous record amount on the first day of a month, 4.98" on Oct. 1, 1913.  The 7.13" measured on 9/1 was the fifth greatest amount to fall on a calendar date.  (Earlier this year, February began with a record amount of snow for the first day of any month, 14.8".)

 

Ida flooding nyc
 

The rest of the month had slightly below average rainfall, but just enough to bring September's total to 10.03".  This was the most rain to fall in September since 2004, and it became the sixth rainiest September on record.  It followed the fourth wettest August (10.32"), and third wettest July (11.09").  Never before had Central Park had three months in a row in which each month had more than ten inches of rain. 

 

More than 90% of the month’s of rain was produced by two storms:  7.23” on 9/1-2 and 2.03” on 9/23-24.  0.77” fell on the other 26 days.

 

Looking at temperatures, September was 1.1 degrees milder than average, and was the 26th mildest September (tied with four other years).  However, it ranked 13th for mildest average low, and 55th for warmest high.  12 days in a row (Sept. 12-23) had above average temperatures, a streak of days that was four degrees above average.  The rest of the month was one degree cooler than average.

 

The warmest reading was 85° (on 9/15), the same warmest reading as last September (but it had two days with that high).  Also, both Septembers had seven days with highs in the 80s (the average is eleven).

 

Half of the days in September had highs between 75°-79°, which was double the average number - and the most to be in this narrow temperature range on record (second most is 13 days in Sept. 1999, 1927 and 1908).  Just five days had lows cooler than 60°, eight fewer than average.  Only Sept. 1971, 1930, 1908, and 1881 had fewer days (all had four). 

 

Finally, the month was also characterized by a narrow range in its temperature extremes.  Typically, September's chilliest reading is around 50°, the hottest around 90°, but this September it ranged from 54° (on 9/29) to 85° (on 9/15).  Only two other Septembers have had a range that was smaller.  (The greatest range in temperatures in September was 55 degrees in 1929, ranging from 44° to 99°.) 

 

Chart - narrow range of sept temperatures

 

Here are previous September recaps:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

 

 

 


August 2021 Weather Recap: Henri Rescues August From "Dullsville"

 

 Hurricane henri aug 2021

 

August was the fourth wettest August on record, but until 8/21 the month had been a dry one, with rainfall 50% below average.  Then, Hurricane Henri produced 8.19" of rain over three days (Aug. 21-23), accounting for nearly 80% of August's 10.32" of rain.  (The other 28 days of the month had just 2.13".)  This was the second month in a row with more than ten inches of rain (July had 11.09", making it the third wettest July),  just the second time this has happened (however, the first time, in March and April 1983, is disputed since the rain gauge in Central Park wasn't functioning properly for much of the year).  Although August's rainfall was less than an inch below that of July, its number of days of measurable precipitation was half as many (nine vs. eighteen).

 

Chart - rainiest back to back months
 

One out of four Augusts have been warmer than July, and August 2021 was one of them (77.5° vs. 76.0°).  The month was 1.4 degrees above average, making it the City's 17th hottest August (out of 153).  However, there was a disparity in rankings of the average high and low, as only five other Augusts have had a warmer average low than this August (2.2 degrees warmer than average), but the average high (just 0.6 above average) was ranked much lower, at #39.  This difference in rankings wasn't unique to this August, as the trend during the 2000s has been for overnight temperatures to be more above average than daytime readings (one of the effects of global warming).

 

After the first five days of the month were five degrees below average, the rest of the month was three above average (with only five of the 26 days having cooler than average mean temperatures).  August had five readings in the 90s, one more than July, and it had five more days than July with lows of 75° or warmer.  August's days in the 90s were comprised of back-to-back days on Aug. 12-13, and a three-day heat wave two days after Henri's departure (Aug. 25-27).  The month's hottest reading was 94° on 8/13.

 

Finally, this was the eighth year in a row in which August had no readings in the 50s.  The coolest temperature was 63° on 8/2.  (Meanwhile, July's streak of 12 years with no lows cooler than 60° was broken this year). 

Henri

Here are monthly recaps for past Augusts:

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

   


August 2020 Weather Recap: A Continuation of Summer's Above Average Temperatures

Isaias august 2020

 

Like June and July, August was warmer than average, but not to the degree of the two preceding summer months.  It was 1.7 degrees above average and the 23rd hottest August on record.  This followed June, which was 16th hottest (2.3 degrees above average), and July, which was 7th hottest (+3.5 degrees). There were no scorching heat waves, but the number of days with lows in the 70s was above average.  Tropical storm Isaias, which struck on the 4th, was August's weather highlight, followed by a thunderstorm on the 12th that was the month's biggest rain maker.  Overall, the month's 5.03" of rain was a touch above average.

 

There were four days in the 90s and six days with highs of 88° or 89°.  Hottest reading of the month was 92°. The two days with the warmest lows (78° on Aug 2 and 77° on Aug 11) failed to have highs of 90+.  There were no heat waves and none of the days in the 90s were back to back.

 

Tropical storm Isaias was largely a wind event, with well under an inch of rain measured.  A gust of close to 50 mph was clocked in Central Park while the area's major airports all had gusts around 70 mph.  By comparison, a severe evening thunderstorm eight days after the tropical storm produced 1.76", more than three times the amount from Isaias (0.55").

 

This was the seventh August in a row with no lows in the 50s (coolest reading was 62°).  There were 19 days with lows in the 70s, which was well above average (13).  Only six Augusts have had more; five others also had 19.  However, the number of days with lows of 75°+ was just slightly more than average, ranking 29th (and tied with six other years).  The fourth longest streak of days with lows of 70+, 20 days, ended on 8/7 (just two shy of the longest streak).

 

Finally, the summer of 2020 was the fourth hottest on record (tied with 1983).  However, it was tied for fourth warmest average low, but 18th hottest average high.  Although rainfall was slightly above average, it was enough to make 2020 the second wettest of the ten hottest Augusts (just 0.11" behind 1983).

 

Chart - 10 hottest summers

 Dog days of summer

 

Here are previous August recaps:

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

 

 


Not All Hurricanes are Katrina - News Media Need to Learn Appropriate Adjectives to Describe Hurricanes

Hurricane-Evacuation-Route-Sign-NHE-9467_300When Hurricane Hermine made landfall along the Florida Panhandle I rolled my eyes when the Huffington Post and Daily Beast described the storm "smashing" into the coast.  As a category 1 hurricane, the verb "smash" was overstating its power just a bit.  But in this day and age of constant hyperbole, the bar for danger has been lowered so much that every dark cloud is reported as being as dangerous as epic hurricanes of the past such as Camille, Hugo or Andrew.  And while the hurricane intensity chart shows the type of mayhem that can result with each category of hurricane, I think it would be helpful to add a column for the news media to provide them with the the appropriate adjectives, as shown below.

 

Hurricane Adjectives

 

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Today in New York Weather History: August 27

 

1971 (Friday)

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 (Wednesday)

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

1987 (Thursday)

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

1989 (Sunday)

This was the sixth day this month with a low in the 50s, the most in August in the 1970-2022 period (tied in 2007). 

1990 (Monday)

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 (Wednesday)

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 (Saturday)

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 (Monday)

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 (Friday)

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 four miles south of Central Park's weather station (while LaGuardia Airport reported twice as much rain as the Park).

2022 (Saturday)

This was the third year in a row to have a high in the 90s on this date: 90° this year, 93° last year, and 90° in 2020.  In 2021 and 2020, these readings were the last in the 90s of the summer.

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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 the 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 5 - For the first time this year an inch or more of rain fell during a calendar date, the latest occurrence this century (continuing into the 21st century), and the third latest date overall (behind July 26, 1875 and July 6, 1874).  1.20" poured down during an evening thunderstorm.

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-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 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

 

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Are Weather Hobbyists Undermining the Credibility of Meteorologists?

CredibilityMy interest in the weather is historical in nature and the posts I publish focus on comparing today's weather conditions with those of past years.  However, many of my fellow weather enthusiasts are interested in the science of meteorology and forecasting.  And while their enthusiasm is heartening I fear they undermine the credibility of trained meteorologists in the public's eye because all too often they build up storms much too early, storms that, more often than not, don't live up to the early hype

 

Amateur forecasters tend to lack the discipline of patience, wanting to be the first to announce a big storm when it's still in the embryonic stage.  Call it a case of  "premature prognostication".   Time and time again, at the earliest indication that a storm is forming they make wild pronouncements about a major snowstorm or hurricane striking a week or more in the future.  And nine times out of ten the storms don't live up to their billing.  So what we have is many boys crying "wolf!", or, rather, "snowstorm!"  Then, maddeningly, after a storm doesn't live up to its hype they're right back at it touting yet another potential blockbuster event that might happen two weeks down the road.

 

Ron.burgundy 

 

But it's not always the hobbyists who come up short.  With more than half a dozen or more competing forecast models available (e.g., European, NAM, GFS, GFDL, NCEP, WRF, and Canadian) even experienced meteorologists risk appearing foolish when they talk publicly about all of the models and their sometime conflicting forecasts.  These models create a Tower of Babel effect.  Whom to believe?  The public doesn't want uncertainty or need to know "how the sausage is made".

 

Forecast.models.hurricanes

 

Stop the madness!

 

 


Weather Extremes That Occurred Before Global Warming Became a Concern

November1950noreaster
Runway at LaGuardia Airport flooded during the Great Nor'easter of Nov. 1950

Because we're in the grips of global warming, it seems that every weather anomaly is attributed to the rise in temperatures.  However, unusual weather is a regular part of our climate, with ferocious storms and out-of -the-ordinary heat waves not uncommon in years past.  But it's human nature to forget much of what's come before (or, more likely, to be completely unaware of past conditions).  What follows is a list of more than 50 extreme weather events that New York City experienced in the 20th century.  Today they would cause cries of alarm about global warming, but back in the 1930s, '40s and '50s New Yorkers largely accepted what Mother Nature dished out (and without the benefit of air conditioning!).

 

CRAZY WEATHER OF THE 20TH CENTURY

  • 11.63" of rain fell on Oct. 8-9, 1903.
  • An early June heat wave in 1925 (June 4-6) saw highs of 99°-99°-98° (records that are still standing).
  • Fall 1931 was the warmest on record.  (The six warmest autumns occurred more than 50 years ago.)
  • Winter of 1931-32 was the third warmest ever.  (It was the warmest until the 21st century).  On Jan. 14 the high was 70°.
  • Three of the seven warmest Januarys were in the 1930s (1932, 1933 and 1937)
  • NYC's hottest temperature on record, 106°, occurred on July 9 1936.
  • 1938's Great New England Hurricane/Long Island Express struck in late September.
  • There were 90-degree readings in October 1927, 1938, 1939, and 1941 (and the next occurrence wouldn't be until 2019).
  • The Great Atlantic Hurricane of Sept. 1944 was compared to the '38 New England hurricane; it dumped more than nine inches of rain.
  • Unusually mild March of 1945 and 1946; unusually mild October of 1946 and 1947.
  • The City sweltered through torrid summers in 1944, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1959, 1961 and 1966.
  • Three days in a row in late August 1948 had highs in the triple-digits.
  • The high reached 72° on Jan. 26, 1950.
  • November 1950 featured highs of 84° and 83° at the beginning of the month, and one of the most intense nor'easters on record, on the the Friday/Saturday after Thanksgiving.
  • The City's earliest 100-degree reading occurred on June 26, 1952.
  • Lengthy late August/early September heat waves broiled the City in 1953 and 1973 (at 12 days, 1953's is still the longest streak of 90-degree days on record).
  • A ferocious nor'easter on Nov. 9, 1953, brought 2.2" of snow, and raked the area with 55-70 mph winds.  Two weeks later there was a four-day streak of 70-degree weather.
  • Flooding rains from tropical storms Connie and Diane occurred in August 1955.
  • The Ash Wednesday nor'easter of March 1962, considered one of the most intense storms of the century, pummeled the Jersey shore and the south shore of Long Island and lasted through five high tides.  Although the City escaped heavy precipitation, gale force winds lashed it for three days, with some gusts as high as 50 mph. 
  • A four-year drought in the mid-1950s was followed by a six-year drought from 1961-1966.
  • Huge rainstorms caused flooding and major disruptions for commuters in Sept. 1966 (5.54"), Sept. 1969 (6.28"), Nov. 1972 (5.60") and Nov. 1977 (9.19").
  • Four days in a row in September 1975 had more than an inch of rain, which amounted to nearly 7.50".
  • A mid-April heat wave in 1976 saw the temperature rise to 96° on Easter Sunday.
  • December 1982 and 1984 were both nearly eight degrees milder than average.
  • 75° on Feb. 24, 1985.
  • December 1989 and January 1990 experienced a wild swing in temperature, with the third coldest December on record (10° below average) followed by the second mildest January (10° above average).
  • A high of 85° was reached on March 13, 1990 - 36 degrees above average.
  • "The Perfect Storm" nor'easter of Halloween 1991 was reminiscent of the Ash Wednesday nor'easter of 1962.
  • An intense nor'easter that struck in December 1992 featured 50-mph winds and a storm surge that flooded the FDR Drive and PATH stations in NJ during AM rush hour.
  • The March 1993 Superstorm/Storm of the Century dumped more than 10 inches of snow; heavy sleet was propelled by 50-60 mph winds.
  • The last four days of March 1998 had an unprecedented streak of highs in the low-to-mid 80s.

Extreme