Ice Feed

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

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

 

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

 

Frozen.bryantpark.fountain.
Frozen fountain in Bryant Park

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sleet - The Most Misunderstood Form of Precipitation?

Hail.and.sleetWhen it comes to weather phenomena, the general public seems knowledgeable about most types of precipitation, but one they seem to have a blind spot for is sleet, often referring to this wintertime annoyance as hail.  I find their confusion curious since these forms of precipitation, although both are ice formations, are created in very different ways.  (Interestingly, in the summer no one confuses hail with sleet.)  Alas, because sleet is more of a nuisance than hail, which is formed during severe thunderstorms, it doesn't draw attention to itself - like someone who is overshadowed by a sibling who's always getting into trouble or is an overachiever (sisters Jan and Marcia on The Brady Bunch come to mind).

 

The fact of the matter is sleet doesn't cause damage like hail does (or freezing rain for that matter).  The only time it may create a problem is when it's wind-blown and stings your face.  It also can be annoying when it taps incessantly against window panes.  But it doesn't cause damage to vehicles, crush plants or pull down power lines.  One thing sleet and hail have in common is that during heavy periods of either snowplows are needed to clear streets.  Sleet is also the nemesis of snow lovers, responsible for reducing lofty snow predictions when it mixes with snowflakes or completely overtakes them.

 

Sleet

 

On rare occasions a heavy sleet storm can result in accumulations greater than a few inches.  When this happens walking through the ice pellets is like trudging through crushed glass.  Memorable New York sleet storms in the past 50 years have occurred in December 1973; March 1993; January 1994; two in the winter of 2007; March 2016; and February 2019.  The sleet that fell in March 1993 was part of the historical Storm of the Century.  I was walking outside when the changeover from snow to sleet occurred.  The sleet pellets, propelled by winds gusting over 40 mph, stung my face, giving me somewhat of a skin burn.  Then once inside I had to contend with the sound of the sleet crashing against my windows for hours.

 

 

 

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Today in New York Weather History: March 16

 

1900

The day after a five-inch snowfall, today saw an onslaught of freezing rain.  0.89" of liquid precipitation fell in temperatures that were mostly at freezing or colder (the day's high/low was 33°/22°).

1911

Today's frigid high/low of 20°/13° made this the second coldest day of the winter.  Only 12/16 was colder (21°/11°).

1932

This was the tenth day in a row with low temperatures in the teens or twenties.  During this stretch of days lows averaged 21°, thirteen degrees below average.  Despite the chill during these ten days only 0.2" of snow fell, and that occurred today between 11 PM and midnight.

1935

The high temperature soared to 77° (twenty-nine degrees above average), the day after the high was just 43°.  It would be six weeks before a high warmer than today's occurred. 

1945

Beginning today, which had a high of 76°, the rest of March would be extraordinarily mild, with highs averaging 70°, eighteen degrees warmer than average.  Seven days would have highs in the 70s, with all of them at 74° or warmer (including three in the 80s).  Not surprisingly, these very mild conditions resulted in the mildest March on record (the first half of the month was four degrees above average).   

1969

Today's high of 50° was the mildest reading since Dec. 28.

1976

The last measurable snow of the winter, 0.2", fell between 9-11 PM.  This followed an all-day rain which amounted to 0.81".  The season's snowfall was 17.3", nine inches below average.

1978

Rain changed to snow during the afternoon, accumulating 1.8".  This brought the winter's snowfall above 50 inches, the most since the winter of 1966-67.  It was also the last measurable snowfall of the season.

 

Clipart_littlesnowflake1979

The morning low of 20° (fifteen degrees below average) was the coldest reading since Feb. 19, when it was 17°.

1990

Today's high of 82°, thirty-two degrees warmer than average, was the third record high in the past four days.

1999

This was the winter's last morning with a low temperature of 32° or colder, the earliest date for the last freeze since 1962 (when it occurred on 3/9).  This early date would be tied six years later.  (Average date for the last freezing temperature tends to be around March 31.)  

2004

Today's weather was a drastic change from yesterday's upper 50s as temperatures fell below freezing by late morning and then a late winter storm dumped 3.5" of snow on the City during the afternoon (up to seven inches fell in the suburbs).  The snow was blown around by winds gusting to 40 mph, which created extensive traffic problems.

 

Dec14_2003_snow

2007

An all-day onslaught of sleet and snow dumped 5.5" of icy precipitation, the biggest snow of the winter.  This storm somewhat resembled last month's severe sleet storm on Valentine's Day, but this one had considerably more snow.  The total amount of liquid precipitation was 2.07", a record for the date.  This was the last snowfall of the winter, a winter in which just 12.4" was measure, quite a contrast from the previous four winters, all of which had at least forty inches.

 

Slushysnow    

2017

Today was 10 degrees colder than average and was the twentieth day of the past twenty-seven that were either 10 degrees+ colder or 10 degrees+ milder than average (eleven of these days were 15 degrees+ colder/milder).  Since eight days were below average and twelve above average they somewhat cancelled each other out, so the entire period was a somewhat deceptive 2.5 degrees above average.

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Today in New York Weather History: March 13

 

1888

A bit more snow (three inches) fell today from yesterday's blizzard, but what stood out today was the extreme cold (even by mid-winter standards), as the high/low was just 12°/6° - the second coldest day ever experienced in March (the high/low on March 5, 1872 was 10°/3°).  With gusty winds still prevalent, wind chills were below zero.  This was the fourth March in the 1872-1888 period to have two days with lows in the single digits; since then it's happened in only one other year (1916).  

1960

Today was the eleventh day in a row with a mean temperature that was 10 degrees or more below average.  (This would be the second coldest March of the 20th century.)

1978

For the first time since Feb. 5, no snow was on the ground in Central Park. 

1980

One last wintry day as sleet and slow lashed the area from 5 PM into the wee hours of 3/14, accumulating 4.6" (much of it today).  After a morning low of 23° the day's high of 33° was reached just before midnight.     

1983

The sun finally reappeared after nine straight days of gloomy, drizzly and foggy conditions.  During these days 3.72" of rain fell and there was little diurnal variation in temperature as lows were around 40° and highs in the mid-40s.

1984

A winter storm brought snow in the morning, freezing rain in the afternoon, and plain rain during the evening.  1.4" of snow/iced accumulated and 2.31" of liquid was measured, most of which fell after 4 PM.  The temperature rose from the mid-20s at at daybreak to the mid-30s by 10 PM.  This was the sixth day in a row with temperatures that were 10 degrees or more colder than average.  The average high/low during these days was 33°/18°, fourteen degrees below average.

1990

Winds shifted to the southwest, lifting the temperature from 43° to 85°, which was 37 degrees above average.  This was the earliest date for an 80-degree reading (breaking the previous record from 1945 by a week).

1993

The great March Superstorm (also referred to as "Storm of the Century") paralyzed the Eastern third of the nation and dumped 10.2" of snow on New York.  The heavy snow changed to sleet and rain later in the afternoon, reducing the predicted snow total by about four to six inches.  The sound of the sleet lashing against the windows of my apartment, propelled by 40-60 mph wind gusts, was deafening.  All told, 2.37" of liquid precipitation was measured.  For a first-person account of the storm click here(Photo taken near corner of 7th Ave. South and Bleecker St.)

 

1993Superstorm

2001

0.74" of rain fell between 1-3:00 AM.  In total, 1.27" fell, most of it by 8 AM.  Temperatures were seasonable.

2003

The past twelve days were seven degrees colder than average.

2010

On the anniversary of the March Superstorm, another ferocious nor'easter dumped close to four inches of rain and was accompanied by 50-75 mph wind gusts.  The rainfall was the most in a 24-hour period in March since 1875.  Six persons were killed in the metro area by falling trees and hundreds of thousands of homes were left without power.

 

Taxi_floodedstreet

2012

Today's high of 74° was twenty-six degrees above average and the warmest reading since Oct. 10 of last year.  This was the third 70-degree day in the past week.  At midnight the temperature was still at 67°. 

2013

Today was the fifth day in a row with temperatures in the 50s.  Although hardly an eye-popping occurrence (the average high during these days was just three degrees above average), it was the longest such streak in nearly four months (Nov. 20-24). 

2014

Between 3 PM yesterday and 7 AM this morning, the temperature plunged from 56° to 18°.  This surge of Arctic cold was accompanied by wind gusts of 35-50 mph, which produced below-zero wind chills.  Under clear skies today's afternoon temperature struggled to reach the mid-20s.

 

Clipart_windyweather

 

 

 

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Today in New York Weather History: February 19

 

1936

Although Jan. 23 had the coldest reading of the winter, at -3°, today, with a high/low of 18°/1°, had the coldest mean temperature (0.5 degree colder than 1/24, which had a high/low of 16°/4°.

1972

A nor'easter packing 40 mph winds brought the biggest snowfall of the winter, 5.7", but it was part of a sloppy mix of snow, sleet and rain so there was never more than two to three inches of snow on the ground at any given time.  Temperatures didn't fall below freezing until evening (after peaking at 37° in the early afternoon).  In total, 1.64" of precipitation was measured, with nearly half of the amount falling in the two-hour period between 7-9:00 AM. 

1979

A fast-moving snowstorm on Presidents' Day dumped 12.7" of snow between 4:00 AM and noon.  The storm's deepest snows fell in Virginia, DC, Maryland and Delaware, where 18" to 24" piled up.  Besides the snow, this was the fifteenth day of the past nineteen with a high temperature of 32° or colder.  Including today's snowfall, 20.1" of snow fell during these nineteen days.  (Another President's Day storm with even more snow would bury the region 24 years later.)

 

1979presidents_day_snowstorm

1980

The morning low of 28° made this the 31st day in a row with a low at freezing or colder.  There have been only six streaks longer than this in the years since 1960 (the most recent was one of 38 days during the winter of 2015).

1996

Morning lows over the past four days were: 22°-21°-22°-21° (today) - eight degrees colder than average.  Today's high rebounded to 42°, marking the beginning of an extended thaw that would see temperatures average 14 degrees above average between Feb. 20-28.

1997

Today's high of 66° was a record for the date.  There would be two other records set, with even warmer highs, on 2/22 (69°) and 2/27 (72°). 

Sunny and mild2000

Today's high/low was 32°/29°, with freezing rain between 1-3:00 AM (0.24" of liquid precipitation was measured).

2006

Today was the second coldest day of a mild winter as the high reached 30° after a low of 15°.  (The coldest day of the winter was back in mid-December).

2007

Thirteen of the past sixteen days had morning lows in the teens and eleven had highs at freezing or below.  Average high/low during these days was 30°/17°, ten degrees colder than normal.

Clipart_icicles2013

The 0.15" of rain that fell during the afternoon was the first precipitation to fall on this date since 2000.

 

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Today in New York Weather History: Valentine's Day (February 14)

Clipart_snowman8

 

In the years since 1950, February 14 is the second most likely day to have a snowfall of an inch or more in Central Park.  It's happened in nine winters (most recently in 2014, and in 2011 on January 14).  This is two fewer than January 7.

 

1912

After having no high of 32° or colder this winter until 1/4, today was the thirty-first day in the six weeks since then to have a high that cold (three-fourths of the days).  Today was the end of a seven-day streak with highs of 32° or colder (and eleventh day of the past twelve).  It would be followed fifteen days later by another seven-day streak.

1934

The morning low of was the eighth low in the single digits since 1/29 - and there would be four more in the month of February.

1940

It was a wintry day, as wind-blown sleet and snow fell throughout the day, accumulating 7.7" (and an additional 1.3" fell overnight).  Late in the morning winds gusted to 50 mph.  Temperatures fell from the low-30s in the morning to low 20s by midnight.

1943

The temperature fell steadily through the day, from 30° to 5° (on its way to -8° the following morning).

1948

Today's high of 54° was the first high warmer than 45° in two months (since Dec. 13).

1958

Today's high/low of 25°/13° came in the midst of an 11-day streak (which began on 2/8) in which high temperatures failed to get above 32°.

1979

This morning's low temperature of was the sixth consecutive day with a low in the single digits.  During these days the average low was +5°, twenty-two degrees colder than average.

 

Bittercold 

1986

The 0.3" of snow that fell today was the last snowfall of the winter, a winter in which just thirteen inches fell, half of the typical amount.  

2005

Rain fell throughout the afternoon and evening, amounting to 0.95", putting somewhat of a damper on  romantic plans of New Yorkers. 

2007

A nasty sleet storm during the morning and afternoon hampered traffic and snarled air travel.  Jet Blue was crippled as its fleet at JFK was incapacitated for a number of days.  0.94" of liquid precipitation was measured at Central Park, and two inches of sleet accumulated.  The day's precipitation represented half of February's total.  Despite a high of 29°, little of the day's precipitation fell as snow.  Another severe sleet storm would hit the area in March

 

Sleetstorm_feb2007 

2016

The morning low of 1° below-zero broke the record from 100 years ago.  This was, 1) the first below-zero reading since January 1994; 2) the first sub-zero reading in February since 1963; and 3) the latest date for such a frigid reading since 1943 (when a sub-zero low occurred on 2/15).  Until today, the coldest temperature this century was 1° above zero, which occurred twice in the winter of 2004.  Later today, a second record was set as the high of 15° was the coldest for the date.  The day's mean temperature was 28 degrees below average, the most below average reading in New York in the years since 1950.  This would be the last day of the winter with a high of 32° or colder.  

 

Subzero

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Today in New York Weather History: February 6

 

1908

Today's snowfall of eight inches came two weeks after a snowfall of ten inches.

1915

From Jan. 12 through today 10.62" of precipitation was measured (0.41" of rain fell today).  Nineteen days had measurable precipitation, ten of which had snow (with a total accumulation of 8.2").  This would be the wettest winter on record until the winter of 1978-79.

1920

For the third day in a row the City was lashed by snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain (although the temperature got no higher than 33°).  Like the previous two days, between five and six inches of snow and ice accumulated, bringing the storm's three-day total to 17 inches (an additional half inch would fall in the wee hours of 2/7).  1.40" of liquid precipitation fell today, bringing the three-day total in Central Park to 4.41".   

1970

Just two degrees separated today's high and low (35°/33°), something that occurs just once every two or three years.

1978

Less than three weeks after 13.6" of snow buried the City, an even bigger snowstorm struck.  Snow began before dawn and by midnight 15.5" had fallen in Central Park.  An additional 2.2" fell the next morning.  The snow, drifted by winds gusting between 30-40 mph, fell heaviest between 7PM-1AM, when it fell at a rate of more than an inch per hour.  This was the first winter in seventeen years to have two snowstorms of one foot or more.

 

Blizzard_of_1978

1980

For the fifth year in a row the high temperature on this date was colder than 32°: 31° (this year)-29°-27°-22°-24° (1976).

1983

Snow began in the afternoon and by the time it ended early the next day 3.9" had fallen (2.5" of it fell today).  This was the largest accumulation so far this winter (but would be easily topped in a less than a week by a crippling snowstorm).  

 

Clipart_snowfromsmilingcloud

1985

Including this morning's snowfall of 2.3", ten inches of snow fell since Feb. 2.

1993

Arctic air moved in early in the day, dropping the temperature from 46° to 10° by midnight (the high the day before was 56°).  1.9" of snow fell during the morning.

1995

With a high of 20°/low of 6°, today was the coldest day of the winter, 19 degrees below average.   

2008

Today's high of 68° broke the previous record by 10 degrees.

2010

It was a very frustrating day for New York snow lovers as a crippling snowstorm that dumped 20-30" in Pittsburgh, DC, Baltimore and Philly stopped at our doorstep, bringing just a few flurries to Central Park.  (Staten Island picked up 3"-5".)  The culprit was a strong high pressure system over New England that blocked the storm from moving up the coast.

 

Feb6_2010_snowstorm2

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Today in New York Weather History: February 5

Snowflakes2Going all the way back to 1869, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 are the two dates that have been most likely to have had a snowfall of one inch or more.  Through February 2021, it's happened in nineteen years, or once every eight years.  The last time it happened on Feb. 5 was in 2016 (when 2.5" of  snow fell).  The biggest snow to fall on this date was in 1920 when 5.9" accumulated .

 

 

1871

For the second day this winter the high was a frigid 11°.  The other occurrence was on 1/23.  Lows on these days were 2° and 0°, respectively. 

1920

The fierce snow and sleet storm that began yesterday continued unabated today.  Winds gusted to 44 mph in the pre-dawn hours and gusts of 25-35 mph lashed the area for the rest of the day.  Combined with temperatures in the mid-20s throughout the day, the wind chill was only in the single digits.  Much of the day's precipitation came in the form of sleet.  Like yesterday, close to half a foot of snow/ice accumulated while 1.31" of liquid precipitation was measured.  And the storm would continue through tomorrow.  

1975

2.7" of snow fell during the morning.  The temperature held steady at 33° from 10:00 AM today until 7:00 AM tomorrow.  

1977

This was the third year in a row to have a snowfall of 2 to 3 inches on this date.  2.8" fell this year, all of it before daybreak (two inches fell last year).  The day's temperature held steady between 31° and 32° until mid-afternoon when Arctic air moved in; by midnight the temperature had dropped to 13°.

1985

The biggest snowfall of the winter began this evening and continued through next morning, accumulating 5.7".  3.3" of the snow fell tonight.  (This came three days after a 4.3" snowfall.)  After this snowfall, just 0.2" fell for the rest of the winter.

1989

Today's high of 26° came just four days after a record high of 67°.

1991

Today's high of 70° was an incredible 31 degrees above average and the third day in a row with a record high (all which are still standing).  Yesterday's high was 68° and the day before that it was 64°.  This was the City's earliest 70-degree temperature since Jan. 26, 1950.  (Later passed in 2007 when the high reached 72° on Jan. 6.)

 

70

1996

The morning low of was the coldest reading of the winter.  (Last winter the coldest temperature occurred on Feb. 6.)

1998

A cold rain that began yesterday evening continued thru this evening, amounting to 1.36" (1.07" which fell today).  Just two degrees separated today's high (36°) and low (34°).

2001

3.5" of sloppy, wet snow fell, with a high/low of 36°/32°.

2002

The morning low of 19° was the coldest reading of the winter, later tied on 3/5.  This was relatively mild for the coldest temperature; on average, a winter's coldest reading is 9°.

2007

Today's high/low of 18°/8° made this the coldest day of the winter - and of the past three years.

2009

Today's high/low of 23°/12° made this the coldest day of the month.  

2014

The fifth winter storm of the season punished the area with four inches of snow and a quarter-inch of sleet and freezing rain.  The precipitation fell heaviest between 1-6:00 AM and snarled the morning commute.  This storm brought the winter's snowfall to 40.3" - the seventh time in the past twelve winters that more than 40 inches of snow fell.

2016

Rain in the overnight hours changed to snow in the wee hours of the morning and accumulated 2.5" by the time it ended shortly before 11 AM.  This would be the biggest snowfall of the month.

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Today in New York Weather History: February 4

 

1876

Eleven inches of snow fell from a storm that began last night and continued into today, when most of the accumulation occurred.  This was by far the biggest snowfall of the winter as only 7.3" fell from eight other snowfalls.

1882

A snowfall of nine inches followed a snowfall of eight inches on Jan. 31.  (Eight of the nine inches fell today.)  Temperatures were quite cold, with a high/low of 22°/13°. 

1920

A nasty winter storm that would span 72 hours began this morning.  Temperatures fell from the low 30s, when precipitation began falling in the pre-dawn hours, into the mid-20s by lunchtime.  Northeasterly winds gusting to 40 mph after 10 PM produced wind chills in the single digits.  Close to a half-foot of snow fell, but much of the day's 1.70" of precipitation fell as sleet and freezing rain.  An additional 2.70" in precipitation, and another foot of snow, would fall in the following two days.

 

Oldmanwinter3

1933

The 1.8" of snow that fell this afternoon and evening was the first measurable snowfall in seven weeks (since 7.2" fell on 12/17-18).  And with a high/low of 33°/28° today was the coldest day in three weeks. 

1947

After the mildest reading of the month was reached (50°), the coldest air of the winter moved in and by midnight the temperature had fallen to 17°, on its way down to 7° tomorrow morning.  Rain changed to snow, which accumulated 1.8". 

1961

The snowstorm that arrived yesterday evening, dumping six inches, continued through the morning and brought an additional 11.4".  Today's snow was heavy and wet, and driven by gale force winds.  This was the third major snowstorm of the winter, following 15.4" on Dec. 11-12 and 9.9" on Jan. 19-20.  However, those storms were characterized by very cold temperatures while this storm saw the temperature rise from the upper 20s to the mid-30s during the afternoon when snow changed to rain.  This was the second winter in a row to have two snowstorms of a foot or more accumulation.  

1975

Although it wasn't the coldest day of the winter (that would come six days from now), today had the coldest high temperature, 27°.

1978

With a high/low of 21°/10°, today was the coldest day of the winter, sixteen degrees colder than average.

1990

This was the 21st day in a row with above-average temperatures.  During this three-week period, temperatures were 11.5 degrees above normal (high/low of 49°/36°).  It was damp as well, with 4.58" of rain measured.

1995

Only 11.8" fell during the winter of 1995 and 10.8" of it fell today.  Wet snow fell furiously during the morning (close to three inches fell between 6-7:00 AM) before changing over to rain at around 9:00 AM.  Then the coldest air of the winter moved in overnight.

 

Snow_shoveling_sidewalk

2016

This was the third day of the past four to have a high temperature of 59° (19 degrees above average).  The high on each day, though, occurred at a different time of the day.  On Feb. 1 it was reached in the early afternoon, on the 3rd it happened at 9:30 PM and today it occurred just before daybreak.

2018

Nearly an inch of rain fell tonight, mostly between 5:00 and 11:00 PM.  This was the biggest rainstorm since the end of October when nearly three inches fell (the biggest rainstorm of 2017).

2019

After two days in January got very close to 60° (highs of 58° and 59°), today had the year's first high in the 60s (61°).  Coming just four days after a low of +2°, this was the fewest days between a reading colder than 10° and a high of 60°+ since January 1986, when there was three-day gap (low of 8° on 1/15 followed three days later by a high of 63°) -  but this year's jump in temperature was greater.  This was the second huge swing in temperature in the past week-and-a-half, as the temperature rose from 4° to 59° between 1/21 and 1/24.

 

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Today in New York Weather History: January 7

Snowflakes.nycIn the years since 1950, January 7 is the date most likely to have had a snowfall of an inch or more in Central Park.  It's happened in eleven winters (most recently in 2017). The second and third most likely dates to have one-inch+ snowfalls are February 14 (in nine years) and January 26 (in eight years).

 

 

1874

The 3.14" of rain that fell today would be the greatest daily rainfall in January for more than 100 years (until 1979).  It was also a mild day, with a high of 56°.

1945

The two inches of snow that fell today, from mid-morning thru mid-afternoon, was the first time an inch or more of snow fell on Jan. 7.  (Almost all of the other dates between Dec. 1 and March 31 had their first snowfalls of an inch+ in the 18th century.)  Temperatures were quite cold, but rose very slowly through the day, from 17° to 25° shortly before midnight. 

1978

This is one of a handful of days that have had just a one-degree difference between the high and low. (36°/35°).

1981

Five inches of snow fell overnight.  This accounted for almost all of the month's precipitation of 0.58" - the driest January on record (and, fascinatingly, the same amount that was reported in December).

 

Snow_sugarplumfairies

1992

This was the sixth day in a row in which the mean temperature was 10 degrees or more above average.

1994

It was a frustrating day for snow lovers.  Although today's high was only 28°, most of the 0.53" of precipitation that fell came down as freezing rain (0.9" of sleet/snow was measured at Central Park.)  This was the worst ice storm in New York since December 1974.  (Fortunately, the City's wires for electricity, telephones and cable TV are largely underground.)  Freezing rain and sleet were an unusually common occurrence this winter and fell on nineteen days between January 3 and March 10.

 

Ice_on_branches

1996

A crippling blizzard began Sunday afternoon and continued until noon the following day.  It immobilized an area from West Virginia through Massachusetts and dumped 20.2" on Central Park, at the time the third greatest snow total in NYC history (13.6" fell today and 6.6" the next day, both records for the date).  At one point five inches fell between 5-7:00 PM.  Besides the snow and wind, it was also quite cold, with a high/low of 22°/12°.  (For a more in-depth account of the storm click here.)

 

Snowy_Street_GreenwichVillage 

2002

The first snow of the winter fell today, a light snow that accumulated 0.5" during the afternoon.  This was the fourth winter of the past eight in which the first measurable snow didn't occur until January (average date is Dec. 14).      

2008

For the third year of the past four the year's first reading of 60° or milder happened in the first week of the year, a month earlier than average.  (The other year's first 60+, in 2006, was on 1/9.)

2014

The morning low of +4°, the coldest reading in New York in 10 years, was fifty-one degrees colder than the temperature 24 hours earlier.  Wind chill values were in the -10° to -20° range.  And although the day's official high of 19° was reached just after midnight, the temperature in the afternoon was in the single digits, thirty degrees colder than average.

 

4degrees

2017

It was a very wintry day as snow fell from 10 AM to 8 PM, accumulating 5.1", with the temperature hovering around 20°.

 

Sheridan square jan 7 2017

2018

Today, with a frigid high/low of 18°/5°, was the thirteenth day in a row with a high below 32°.  This tied it with another 13-day streak during the winter of of 2001 for second longest (in the years since 1900).  This winter's streak, however, had much colder temperatures, with an average high of 22°/13° (sixteen degrees below average) versus 30°/19° for the 2001 streak (which also started in December and ended in January). 

 

13-day cold streaks

 

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