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December 2019 Repeats December 2018's Wet Conditions

Dec 13 grand central wreath


December 2019 was the wettest month of the year and fifth wettest December on record (7.09" was measured).  Much of its precipitation fell in the first two weeks of the month.  In fact, the 5.05" that was measured during this period was the third greatest amount to fall in the first two weeks of any December.   Looking at temperature, the month was slightly above average (+0.8°).  Although Dec. 1-22 was 2.5 degrees colder than average, the rest of the month was mild enough (+9 degrees), to push the entire month into the above average column.  The mildest reading of the month was 58° (on 12/10), making this the first December since 2005 not to have any readings of 60° or warmer.  The coldest reading, 16° on 12/19, was three degrees colder than the typical coldest reading of December.  The 19th was also the only day that had a high of 32° or colder (25°).


Despite the month's surplus precipitation there were ten consecutive days with no measurable precipitation (Dec. 19-28).  This matched a 10-day stretch in September - the longest dry spells of the year.  (September 2019 had just 0.95" of rain, making it the eighth driest September on record).  Coincidentally, last year's wet December (ninth wettest) also had a ten-day stretch with no precipitation.


Being the wettest month of a year is rare for December.  Before 2019 only two other years had December as their wettest month - in 1957 (when 5.26" was reported) and in 1973 (9.98" was measured).  Another distinction for Dec. 2019 is that it was just the 13th month to have more than seven inches of rain as well as a streak of 10 or more days without any measurable precipitation.  (The longest streak during one of these months was thirteen days in June 2006).


Chart - 7 inches monthly rain

In addition to the soggy first two weeks, other December highlights included the season's first measurable snowfall on 12/2 (1.3" fell) and an out of the ordinary snow squall of 10-15 minutes during the afternoon of 12/18 that ushered in the coldest weather of December (0.4" accumulated, and an additional 0.3" fell from a snow shower a few hours later).  Additionally, the first four days of the month had highs/lows stuck in the 30s, just the sixth time there's been a streak of this length or longer.


Snow squall dec 19 2019


Finally, December 2018 and 2019 joined December 2008 and 2009 as the second pair of consecutive years to be among the ten wettest Decembers (2009 is #4; 2019 is #5; 2008 is #9; and 2018 is in tenth place). 

Previous December recaps:







November 2019 - Cold & Dry



November 2019 was the 31st coldest November and 32nd driest (going back to 1869).  It tied November 2012 as coldest November of this century.  Nine days had lows of 32° or colder, the most since 2013 and well above the 21st century average of three.  Looking at precipitation, the first 17 days of the month had just 0.25" of rain.  1.95" was measured for the entire month (more than two inches below average), with much of the rain concentrated during the seven days between 11/18-24.  Despite the cold temperatures no snow fell.  Other interesting aspects:


  • The 11-day period between 11/8-18 was ten degrees below average (six days had mean temperatures that were 10-20 degrees below average).  The month's other nineteen days had temperatures that were close to average, resulting in the month being 3.8 degrees colder than average overall (its average low was 4.5 degrees below average).  This was the most below average of any month since March 2015 (-4.4 degrees).
  • Half of the Novembers that were colder than Nov. 2019 occurred in the 19th century (1869-1899).  Looking at the past 100 years Nov. 2019 tied for ninth coldest.
  • The mildest reading of the month was 71° in the early hours of 11/1; the coldest reading was 23° on 11/13.  That reading was a record for the date and followed a record low of 25° the day before that. 
  • Since 1970 November's mildest reading has averaged 71°, which was the same as this November.  However, the second mildest reading has averaged 69°, but this year's was only 62°, which was the chilliest second mildest reading since November 1977.
  • Gusty winds on Thanksgiving Day somewhat marred Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Up until a few hours before the parade started it was uncertain whether its famous balloons would be permitted to float high above the streets of Midtown Manhattan, but it was decided to let them participate at a much lower height than usual.  Wind was the only issue as temperatures were at seasonable levels and there was no rain.


Low flying balloon at macys parade


  • On 11/13 the relative humidity at mid-day fell to an exceptionally low 13%, the lowest humidity reported in November in the years of the 21st century.  It was also the only date outside of March and April with a humidity level this low.
  • Last November, 3.3 degrees colder than average, seemed more wintry than this November because it featured a 6.4" snowstorm and had one of the coldest readings ever reported in November, 15°.  It also was one of the wettest Novembers.  While its average high was 0.9 degree colder than this November, it's average low was 1.9 degrees milder.  Like Nov. 2019, the equally cold Nov. 2012 was dry (1.81").  However, a big difference was that Nov. 2012 had a snowfall of 4.7" on 11/7-8 (the earliest accumulation of four inches or more).


Chart - 10 coldest novembers since 1960

Other November recaps:






 November in union square park nyc



A Reading in the 90s Makes October 2019 Memorable in New York

Oct 26 - mums abingdon sq park


Although above average rainfall characterized October 2019, a day of sizzling heat at the beginning of the month is likely what many New Yorkers will remember.  After having no days in the 90s in September, the high on 10/2 was a torrid 93°, 24 degrees above average - and the first 90-degree reading in October since 1941.  (The high the next day, however, was thirty degrees chillier.)  As for the rain, 6.15" was measured, the most in October since 2006, and the second rainiest month of the year (May had 6.77").  A little more than half of the month's rain fell on two days: on 10/16, when 1.83" fell, and 10/27 (1.38").


The month was three degrees warmer than average and was the 24th mildest October on record (but it ranked 12th for average low).  And although it had just a few days with highs of 70° or warmer or lows in the 60s, the month also had very few days with highs in the 50s or lows in the 40s (the chilliest reading was 43° on the 19th).  Similar to September, October ended with 11 days in a row with above average readings (averaging six degrees above average).  Temperatures between 10/3-20 were average while the other 13 days of the month were seven degrees above average.


In the years since 1900 three out of four Octobers have had their chilliest readings in the 30s or 20s.  October 2019 joined only five other Octobers whose chilliest lows were 43° or milder.  (The mildest reading to be the chilliest October low is 45°, which happened in 1945 and again in 1971.)  The typical chilliest October temperature is around 38° (fourteen Octobers since 1900 had chilliest readings of 32° or colder; the last time it occurred was in 1988).


Chilly willy


The low on Halloween was 60°, 15 degrees above average.  It joined 10/1 and 10/2 as the only days in October with lows in the 60s.  The high of 71° on 10/31 was the warmest reading on the holiday in ten years, when the high was also 71°.  It was also the mildest reading since 10/14.  (And although 10/31's high of 71° was 22 degrees cooler than 10/2's, its low was just three degrees lower.)


Spider web


Finally, October's plentiful rainfall followed a very dry September, in which just 0.95" was measured.  And while this was a decided contrast, it wasn't nearly as extreme as Sept/Oct 2005 when  October saw 16.73" after a paltry 0.48" in September; April/May 2007, when April had 13.05" and May had just 1.88"; and Aug/Sept 1882, when September had 16.85" and August only 1.14".


Here are links to other October recaps:







September 2019 - One of 10 Driest Septembers On Record



September 2019 was the first month since October 2013 to have less than an inch of rain and was the eighth driest September on record (0.95" was measured).  Thru 9/20 the month had average temperatures, then the last ten days were eight degrees warmer than average, resulting in the month being 2.4 degrees above average (24th warmest since 1869).  Although it was warmer than average, the month had just one low of 70º+, the fewest in September in ten years (there were none in 2009).  It was also the first September since 2011 not to have any highs of 90° or hotter. 


This September added to the record set last year when September 2018 was the fourth in a row with an average temperature of 70.0 degrees or warmer.  September 2019, however, was the "coolest" of the five.  However, a record that was tied last September, the sixth September in a row with a high in the 90s, wasn't broken this year as the hottest temperature this was 89°.  (It occurred on 9/23 - the same date as the month's only low in the 70s).


Chart - past five septembers


Two-thirds of September's paltry amount of rain fell in the first six days of the month, split mostly between Labor Day (when 0.30" fell mid-day, the most to fall on the holiday in sixteen years) and 9/6, when the most northernmost band of hurricane Dorian dropped 0.27" in less than an hour during mid-afternoon.


Chart - 10 Wettest Septembers

Finally, humidity of 15% or lower occurs very infrequently in New York, and when it has happened it's been confined to March and April (in the years since 2000) - until 9/19, when it dropped to 15% for a few hours that afternoon.  The last time the humidity was this low in September was on Sept. 11, 2001, when it bottomed out at 16%.


Here are recaps of the five previous Septembers:







 Sept 15 - lower manhattan



One Word Sums Up New York's Weather in August 2019: 'Uninspiring'



August, much like June, had close to average temperatures (+0.3 degrees).  Perhaps the most interesting story during this month of uneventful conditions was the twelve-day period from Aug. 17 thru 28 in which the first six days were very warm (average high/low of 89°/73°, including the month's three days in the 90s) followed by six days that were pleasantly cool (high/low of 75°/64°).  The month's three days in the 90s went no higher than 90° (something which has occurred just once before, in August 2014).  Finally, this was the sixth consecutive August with no readings in the 50s.


The month had somewhat below average rainfall.  The 3.70" that was measured was the least precipitation since February's 3.14".  Much of it fell on three days: 1.18" on 8/7, 0.64" on 8/18 and 1.01" on 8/22.  (Although August 2019 had less than average rainfall there were six drier Augusts in the 2010s.)  There were ten thunderstorms or brief periods of heavy rain in the three weeks between 8/3 and 8/22.  They occurred mostly in the afternoon and evening and were responsible for the day's lows occurring in the evening rather than at around daybreak.  Without these cool downs there would have been five days with lows of 75° or warmer rather than one.


Here are recaps of the four previous Augusts:






Aug 17 jefferson mkt



Cooling Thunderstorms Prevented July 2019 From Ranking Among 10 Hottest Julys

Lightning strike nyc


As July 2019 came to a close it appeared the month was about to join three other Julys from the 2010s ranked among New York's ten hottest Julys.  As late as 3:00 PM on 7/31 the day's high/low was 87°/76°, and if that low temperature held, the month would have tied July 1966 as ninth hottest (both with average temperatures of 79.66°).  But then mid-afternoon thunderstorms erupted between 3-4:30 and the temperature tumbled to 70° - making it the day's new low.  This brought July 2019's average temperature down to 79.56°, pushing it to eleventh place, 0.05 degree cooler than July 1949 (79.56° vs 79.61°).  However, as a consolation prize, July 2019's average low was warm enough for it to rank fifth in this category. 

Other observations:

  • Besides the thunderstorms of 7/31, thunderstorms on 7/17 and 7/22 also resulted in lows that occurred in the evening.  Much of the month's rain fell from these two rainstorms, with 2.33" falling on 7/17-18 and 2.19" on 7/22-23.  So far this year these are 2019's two biggest 24-hour rainfalls.  And with 5.77" measured July 2019 became the second rainiest of the fifteen hottest Julys.  This was after just 0.08" of rain fell in the first ten days of the month.  (Last July, which had nearly seven-and-a-half inches of rain, also started out dry, with just 0.24" measured in the first eleven days of the month.)


Chart - rainfall 15 hottest julys

  • There were ten days in July with highs of 90°+ (average is eight), making it the sixth July of the decade to have this many, the most of any decade.


Charts - 90s in july by decades


  • This July joined 36 others that have had ten or more days with highs of 90°+.  However, July 2019's ten torrid days had the "coolest" average temperature, tied with July 1887 (91.7°).  July's hottest temperature, 95° on 7/20 and 7/21, was one of the coolest readings for hottest temperature among the Julys with ten or more 90°+ days; those other months' hottest readings averaged 99.4° (half of them had hottest readings in the triple digits).  But the average low on July 2019's hot days, 74.9°, was warmer than 24 of the 36 other Julys. 
  • July 1's low of 65° was the "coolest" reading of the month.  Only July 2008 has had a warmer "coolest" reading (66° on three dates).  The month had two days with lows in the 80s, which were the same two days that had highs of 95°.  It joined ten other Julys with two or more lows in the 80s.  Lastly, this was the unprecedented tenth year in a row in which July had no readings in the 50s.
  • What was notable about July 2019 was its consistent warmth but absence of extreme heat (excluding heat indexes).  26 days had highs of 85° or warmer, one shy of the July record, which has happened in three years: 1944, 1966 and 1993 (the average number of such days is 17).  Additionally, 24 days had lows of 70° or warmer, the second most on record; only July 2010 had more, with 25 (the July average is 15).
  • I refer to the week of 7/16 as as New York's "Hell Week" because, historically, it is the week most likely to have readings of 90° or hotter.  And this year six of July's ten 90-degree highs were concentrated during this week.  The one day not in the 90s, 7/18, was stuck in the 70s all day (high/low of 79°/71°) due to overcast skies and northeasterly winds.  Ironically, 7/18 has been the date most likely to have a high in the 90s/100s.


Cartoon devil

  • July was the third month in a row with more than five inches of rain, joining three other years which had five or more inches in May, June and July (1984, 1989 and 2009).  Although the 18.05" that was measured was nearly five inches above average it was significantly less than what fell in the other three years.


Chart - rainy may june july

  • Finally, for the fifth year in a row 4th of July had a warmer high than the previous year.  And with a high of 90°, this year's was the hottest 7/4 since 2012.


Here are recaps for the five previous Julys:

July 2018

July 2017

July 2016

July 2015

July 2014



Recap of June 2019's Weather in New York

June banner


June 2019, like June 2018, was 0.2 degrees above average (this followed a May that was 0.2 degrees below average).  However, this June's average high was 0.6 degrees cooler than last June while its average low was 0.6 milder.  The first half of the month was 0.7 degrees cooler than average while the second half was 1.2 degrees warmer.  Similar to last June the warmest period came at the end of the month, with the four-day period between 6/26-29 six degrees above average (high/low of 89°/72°); this included the year's first high in the 90s (91° on 6/29, a month later than usual).  Although the month was average in the temperature department rainfall was an inch above average (5.46"), making this the rainiest June in six years.  The biggest daily rainfall was 0.86", which happened twice, on 6/2 and 6/25.  On both dates the rain poured down in less than an hour.  Here are a few other highlights:


  • Besides the year's first reading in the 90s being a month behind schedule, the year's first low in the 70s, on 6/25, was three weeks later than usual.  It was the first of five days in a row with a low in the 70s (6/30 looked to be the sixth but the temperature dropped to 69° as midnight approached).
  • Father's Day and Gay Pride Day both were seasonably warm (high/low of 80°/65° and 83°/69°) but Gay Pride Day had more sunshine.  Both days saw a shower, but the shower that fell on Gay Pride Day (0.06") was more disruptive because it fell mid-afternoon during the parade (the first rain to fall during the parade in eleven years) while the shower on Father's Day (0.04") was shortly before daybreak. 
  • May and June had 12.28" of rain, making this the 11th wettest May/June combo on record. The 10 years with more all occurred in the years since 1948.  (Greatest amounts were 19.03" in 1989, 18.10" in 2013 and 17.69" in 1972.)
  • 2019 became the 36th year (since 1869) to have one or fewer days in the 90s thru June 30.  (The average number is four).  And of the fifteen years (excluding this year) that had one day in the 90s during this period the total number of such days for the year averaged eleven (with 1955 and 2015 having the most, 25 and 20, respectively).
  • Although the coolest reading of the month, 54°, was on 6/2, the coolest day of the month based on mean temperature was on 6/13, with a high/low of 65°/55° (eleven degrees below average).  This was the coolest mean temperature in more than four weeks.


Here are recaps of the previous three Junes:





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



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


Chart - 5 months with most days of precip

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


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


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

Here are recaps of the previous four Mays:







April 2019 Weather Recap

April 2019


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


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


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


W4th street blossoms

Here are recaps of previous Aprils:





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

March green background


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


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


75 degrees

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


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


Chart - winter 2018_2019


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


Chart - coldest starts to march


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


Other March recaps: