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Reviewing 2018's Top Weather Stories: Raindrops Kept Falling On Our Heads

2018 recap

 

It was a wet year, indeed, the fourth wettest on record (behind 1983*, 2011 and 1972).  However, it began on the dry side, with January receiving just 2.18" of precipitation (it was the third drier than average month in a row, with just 5.97" measured in total; and five of the six years preceding 2018 had below average rainfall).  And while the amount of precipitation that fell during the first half of the year was close to average, the rain gauge worked overtime in the second half as 40 inches was measured, 56% greater than what fell in the first half (five of the six months had six inches or more of precipitation).  And although the year wasn't the wettest on record, it did claim the crown for most days of measurable precipitation.  As 2018 came to a close it seemed fitting that it ended with a soaking rain on New Year's Eve, making it the wettest 12/31 since 1948, and the first time since 1994 that rain fell as the ball dropped in Times Square.

* An argument can be made for 2018 being ranked third because 1983's claim as New York's wettest year has been called into question after it was revealed that the rain gauge in Central Park was broken for a large part of the year, allowing rain to enter from multiple entry points.

 

Raindropskeepfalling

 

 

Now let's shine some light on the year's other major weather stories:

  • The year began with the continuation of a two-week cold wave that started the day after Christmas 2017 and lasted thru 1/8, making it the second longest on record (average high/low for its entirety was 23°/13°).  During this cold wave the biggest snowstorm of the winter snarled the City with nearly ten inches of wind-blown snow on 1/4.
  • February was the mildest on record (pushing Feb. 2017 to second place) and featured a temperature of 78° on 2/21 (35 degrees above average); this was the warmest reading ever posted in the first two months of the year.
  • March was cold (at 2.4 degrees below average it was colder than our mild February) and stormy, with four nor'easters wreaking havoc.  The last one, which occurred the day after the spring equinox, dropped 8.4" of snow, the biggest March snowfall since 1993 (and 0.1" more than the snowfall of March 1-2, 2009).
  • Cold spring weather continued into April (3.6 degrees below average), which saw the biggest April snowfall since 1982.  5.5" fell the morning of Easter Monday (4/2), forcing the Yankees to postpone their home opener.  2018 suffered through the coldest March/April since 1984.  (However, among all years it ranks 56th as springtimes before 1950 were significantly chillier.)
  • May was a reversal of March-April and was the sixth mildest on record.  The month began on the hot side, with highs in the 90s on the 2nd and 3rd; later in the month there were three days with highs in the upper 80s.
  • A severe, quick-moving thunderstorm during evening rush hour on 5/15 caused extensive disruptions (including my flight to JFK which was cancelled).  Then six months later a surprise snowfall during the afternoon and evening was even more debilitating, snarling the evening commute for hours.
  • Despite May's warm conditions, Mother's Day was chilly and overcast, with a high/low of 54°/52°.  By contrast, Father's Day was sunny and hot, with a high/low of 91°/66°. 
  • The year's rainiest period was a six-week stretch in July and August (7/12-8/22) when 15.77" fell (nearly ten inches above average for the period).  This included a deluge of 2.24" in little more than an hour on 7/17.  However, the year's biggest rainstorm occurred in April when 3.29" fell on 4/15-16. 
  • The latest dates for a 80-degree and 70-degree low were reported on 8/29 and 10/10, respectively.  The year had 55 days with lows of 70° or warmer, the fourth most on record (following 1906, 2005 and 2015, and tied with 2010).
  • A surprise snowstorm on 11/15 (6.4") was followed a week later by a frigid Thanksgiving Day (high/low of 28°/17°).  This resulted in the coldest temperatures ever encountered during the the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade - and the following morning was even colder, with a low of 15°.  After this early taste of winter there wouldn't be another measurable snowfall or colder temperatures for the rest of the year.
  • Like the majority of years this century, 2018 ranked among the 25 warmest years on record, ranking 18th.  However, it wasn't as warm as the previous three years (2017 ranked 14th, 2016 ranked sixth and 2015 placed ninth).
  • Finally, 2018's diurnal variation between its average high and low was the smallest in more than 100 years (2003's and 1996's were close behind, 0.1 degree wider).  Interestingly, there are 15 years with smaller variations, all which occurred between 1878 and 1910.    (Many thanks to Eugene Demarco for sharing his analysis with me.)

 

Chart - 2018 summary

If you'd like more in-depth findings about 2018, click here.  And to read recaps of previous years, click on 2017, 2016 or 2015.

 

 

 


Very Wet 2018 Ends With Wet December

Rainy times square

 

2018 was New York's fourth wettest year on record (third if the disputed 1983 is excluded) and the final month of the year followed that theme.  December was the year's fifth month with six inches or more of precipitation (all of them occurring in the second half of the year).  The month ended with the wettest New Year's Eve since 1948, and for the first time since 1994 rain fell during the ball drop in Times Square (pictured).  Most of the month's 6.51" of rain (the ninth wettest December on record) fell after 12/13.  This followed a ten-day dry spell, which was the longest in more than a year.  Four days had an inch or more of rain, all in the second half of the month. 

 

December was 2.6 degrees milder than average.  The month started out colder than average, with Dec. 1-13 averaging three degrees below average, then a shift occurred and the rest of the month was nearly six degrees above average.  The final twelve days of the month all had above average temperatures (as did sixteen of the last eighteen).  The range in temperatures was rather narrow, from 24° to 61° (the coldest reading in December is typically in the upper teens while the mildest reading is in the low 60s).

 

November 2018 was snowier and had colder readings than December (two days had lows in the teens).  Typically December is ten degrees colder than November but this year it was only four degrees colder.  Just ten other Decembers have been closer to November's average temperature.

 

Chart - nov vs dec

 

After 6.4" of snow fell in November (all on 11/15) there was just a trace of snow in December.  This was the twentieth December on record with a trace of snow or less (nine of them have been in the past 25 years).  And it joined a handful of Decembers with much less snow than November. 

 

Chart - Dec vs Nov Snow

 

Finally, December had the same average temperature as March (40.1°).  December is typically about five degrees colder.  However, while the overall temperature was the same as March's, December's average high was about a degree colder than March while its average low was about one degree milder.  And while both month's had above average precipitation, March was much snowier, with 11.6" measured.

 

Chart - nov vs dec

Other December recaps:

2017

2016

2015

 


Weather Considerations When Planning an Outdoor Wedding

Rainy wedding at Brooklyn-Botanic Garden

 

Readers contact me occasionally to ask what the best time of year is to plan a rain-free outdoor wedding.  But since this advice is asked months ahead of the event, any guidance is more or less a crap shoot.  (Of course, if one had the luxury of planning just a week ahead of the ceremony, the risk would be much less.)  However, even after choosing optimal dates based on historical averages, no outdoor wedding is risk-free as every calendar date has had precipitation fall in some years.  And there's not just rain to consider - heat, humidity, wind, fog, gray skies, threatening skies, even vermin, can present challenges.  The best advice is to have a back-up plan, i.e., an indoor space, a large tent at the ready, or umbrellas to hand out to guests. 

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that weather conditions can be very different just a few apart, especially with thunderstorms (the bane of summertime plans of all kinds).  For instance, a couple at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden might be blessed with sunny skies while at the very same time another couple is waiting out a downpour soaking the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

 

And while having a dry day is considered the ultimate gift of Mother Nature, a sunny day with hot temperatures may prove as challenging as a rain shower, with the wedding party contending with sweat-soaked outfits (not to mention the increased chance of someone fainting).  With this in mind, the best week to avoid to reduce chances of experiencing temperatures in the 90s, or hotter, is the week of July 16 (what I refer to as "Hell Week").  But discomfort isn't restricted to temperatures in the 90s (or hotter) as sauna-like conditions can occur in lower temperatures if the humidity is high. 

 

Outdoor wedding_Tanler_Davis_Danya_Jimenez_Photography

     

Here is how I answered the most recent request for weather guidance, from a couple considering a fall wedding between mid-September and mid-October:

I get this type of question every now and then and, as you yourself acknowledged, it's not one with an easy answer (but not quite as challenging as a question from a colleague at work who was planning an outdoor wedding that incorporated flags and balloons and wanted to know the likelihood of high winds).  No matter the date, even during traditionally drier times of the year, every calendar date has experienced significant rainfall.  However, on average, a calendar date sees measurable precipitation in NYC in one out of three years; however, this considers precipitation that's fallen anytime during the day, so this means the chance of precipitation during a particular time of day would be less than that. 
 
To point out the limitation of depending on historical averages, if, based on the fact that no rain had fallen on Sept. 12 for 20 years in a row from 1988-2007, you had planned a wedding in 2008 on that date, imagine how crestfallen you'd have been when the streak was broken and light rain fell throughout the afternoon.  There are no guarantees when planning so far in advance.  
With this said, you'll be happy to know that the period you're considering for the wedding is the time of year in New York that tends to have the most dates least likely to see rain.  In fact, half of the 25 driest calendar dates have occurred between Sept. 8 and Oct. 17, including eight of the ten driest dates. 
 
Finally, and not to end on a negative note, there have been years in which major rainstorms occurred between mid-September and mid-October.  For instance, in  1985 hurricane Gloria struck in late September; tropical storm Floyd flooded the City with five inches of rain on 9/16; in the second half of Sept. 2004 tropical storms Frances and Ivan produced close to seven inches of rain; in October 2005 more than 13" of rain fell from 10/7 thru 10/14; and a tornado tore through Brooklyn and Queens during the evening of Sept. 16, 2010.  Finally, in 1987 I attended a friend's outdoor wedding in Westchester County on 9/13 that had to be moved under a tent because of an all-day rain (the first time in 13 years that rain fell on that date).
 
And I shared with them the calendar dates least likely to have had measurable precipitation in New York (those shaded in blue are those that fall, approximately, in the date range they were considering):
 
 Chart - least rainy dates
 
 Wedding planner2

 
 
 

 

 

 

 


Can 'Trace' Amounts of Precipitation Add Up to Measurable Amounts?

Thinkng man

 

When a day's precipitation is reported as 'T', which signifies a "trace" amount, this indicates that less than 0.01" fell (ranging from just a few raindrops or snowflakes up to 0.0044").  From 2000 thru 2017 there have been, on average, two days each month with a trace of precipitation.  In the years I've been writing this blog I've become more and more curious whether trace amounts falling on multiple days can add up and become a measurable amount - something that weather records don't recognize.  (Additionally, on days when a trace falls there are often multiple hours with a trace.  Furthermore, there are days with measurable precipitation that report an hour or more of trace amounts.)

 

ILLUSTRATING MY POINT

Let's say we have a month in which five days had just a trace of precipitation:

 

Traces of precip

Although the amounts are considered traces, precise measurement might report very small amounts of liquid:

 

Traces of precip converted

Therefore, the five-day total of these trace amounts would indicate that 0.0102" fell during these five day (or 0.01").  The example above would also apply to a day with multiple hours of traces of precipitation. 

 

SOME ADDITIONAL FACTS ABOUT TRACE AMOUNTS

December 1989 had the most days on record, fifteen.  Four of the five years with the most days with a trace of precipitation occurred from 1938 to1943.  The four years with the least were all in the 2000s.  Curiously, the average number per year since 1999 has been half the number in the prior years (46 days vs. 23).  However, it appears 2018 is on its way to having the most in 20 years.

 

IN CONCLUSION

With the today's measurement technology able to measure more granular amounts of liquid, weight, speed, etc., surely a device must exist that can show that trace amounts added together may result in a measurable amount.  Granted, these additional measured amounts won't be large (and which date would be given credit for a measurable amount over the course of multiple days?) but they would make weather records more precise, which is something "Big Data" types could appreciate.  (Perhaps precipitation can be reported to three decimal places?  In a previous post I made a case for reporting temperatures to one or two decimal places). 

 

Trace


August 2018 Weather Recap: Unusually Wet, With Unusually Warm Nights

Summer downpour

 

July's rainy and warm conditions carried over into August, which was even warmer and wetter, ending up as the ninth warmest August on record and the twelfth wettest.  It was 2.9 degrees above average and warmer than July (something that's happened in 22% of the years since records began in 1869).  Despite August being warmer than July (by 0.5 degrees), July's average high was slightly higher (84.9 vs 84.3); it was August's average low that made it warmer overall (72.0 vs. 70.4).  In terms of rainfall, August's 8.59" was about an inch more than what was measured in July (7.45"), with much of it falling during heavy downpours during thunderstorms.  Here are additional observations worth noting:

 

  • There were seven days in the 90s, which occurred during two heat waves - one was four days in length (8/5-8) and one lasted three days (8/28-30).  The four-day heat wave was one of the least impressive among those of this length. The hottest reading of the month was 94° on 8/28.  The coolest reading of the month, which was reported twice, was 65°, which tied August 2005 and 1906 for the mildest minimum temperature in the month of August.  The typical coolest low temperature in August is 59° (in the years since 1980).
  • This was the thirty-second warmest August in terms of average high, but it had the fourth warmest average low.  (The low was 4.2 degrees above average, the high was 1.7 degrees above.)  This produced the ninth warmest August overall (tied with Aug. 1955, which was even rainier than this August, with nearly eleven inches measured).  Three of the past four Augusts have now placed among the ten warmest.

 

Chart - warmest average lows in august

  • Twenty-three days had lows in the 70s, tying August 1980 and 2005 for the most in the month of August (the typical number of such days is 13).  The month's first 18 days all had lows in the 70s, only the second time it's occurred, joining August 1988.  It appeared the City was going to set an August record for most lows of 70 or warmer, but it was not to be as the mercury fell to 69° the evening of 8/31.  On 8/29 the low of 81° established a new record for the latest date for a low in the 80s, smashing the previous record by two weeks (which occurred in 1985 and 1988).  This summer was just the eighth in which both July and August had average lows above 70° (two of the other summers were in 2015 and 2016).
  • The month's diurnal variation (i.e., the difference between the high and low) was just 12.3 degrees, which was the smallest in August since 2000 (also 12.3 degrees).  The only variations smaller than this occurred more than 100 years ago, when eight Augusts in the years before 1911 had variances between 10.4 and 11.7 degrees (at the other end of the spectrum, the greatest diurnal variation in August is 20.4 degrees, which occurred in both 1964 and 1944.)
  • This year has had the twelfth wettest August, the fourth wettest July-August, and the twelfth wettest summer.  Almost all of July and August's rain fell in a soggy six-week period (July 12 - Aug. 22).  Ironically, while August is the year's wettest month (so far), it also had the longest streak with no measurable rainfall - eight days, from the 23rd to the 30th.

 

Chart - 10 wettest july-aug

  Storm approaches in august

 

Chart - 10 hottest augusts

Here are previous August recaps:

2017

2016

2015

 

 

 


July 2018 Weather Recap: Hot Temperatures, Followed by Torrents of Rain

Rain slicker

 

If July 2018 were a cocktail its ingredients would be one part heat, three parts rain.  After a hot start, with temperatures nine degrees above average during the month's first five days (average high/low was 92°/78°), the rest of July was seasonably warm, which moderated the month's average temperature to 1.1 degree above average.  As for the rain, after a dry start, with just 0.24" measured through July 11, the skies opened up and the rest of the month was very rainy, with 7.21" measured.  With 7.45" in total this was the rainiest month in more than four years, since April 2014, and the rainiest July in fourteen (and the fourteenth wettest July on record).

 

In late July there were seven days in a row (July 21-27) in which measurable rain fell.  This was the fourth streak of six days or more this year, joining 1989 as the only two years since 1900 with four streaks of six days or longer.  (Besides the persistent rain, dew points throughout this week-long period were in the uncomfortable 72°-74° range.)

 

Chart - 6+ Days of Rain in 2018

 

The seven-day streak with rain was the first since 2012, but this year's had considerably more rain (2.89" vs. 0.86").  The last streak of seven days or more with more rain was in May 2009, when 3.81" fell.

 

Downpours on 7/12 and 7/30 were confined to upper Manhattan; Central Park had 0.71" and 0.37", respectively, but my neighborhood, Greenwich Village, four miles south of the park, was dry.  And during the afternoon of 7/17 Manhattan was the bulls-eye for torrential rain from a severe thunderstorm, with 2.24" pouring down in little more than an hour.  Conversely, on 7/27 thunderstorms during late afternoon thru evening produced more than an inch of rain in most parts of the metro area (and 3-5" in parts of east-central NJ) but Central Park had only 0.25". 

 

July's rainfall in Central Park was considerably more than the three other reporting sites in the metro area:

 Chart - July 2018 Rainfall

Other July observations: 

  • Four of the first five days in July had highs in the 90s; the only one that didn't was the 4th of July, but its high of 86° was the warmest reading on this holiday in five years.  However, due to its very warm low of 77°, the mean temperature was the warmest since 2010.

 

Chart - 4th of July

 

  • Thirteen days in a row (July 8-20) had highs of 80° or warmer, the longest such streak since one of 19 days in August 2016.  (The record is 62 days in a row, set three years ago.)
  • What was most impressive about the hot beginning to July were the low temperatures, all  which were 76° or warmer.  This happens almost as infrequently as five-day streaks with highs of 95°+.
  • This was the ninth July in a row with no lows in the 50s, the longest such streak in the years since 1900.  Before 1980 more than half of Julys had at least one low in the 50s, but since 1980 that portion has fallen to 25%.
  • By July 25 the month had picked up more rain than the combined amount in May and June (6.80" vs 6.64").

 

Here are links to previous July recaps:

2017

2016

2015

2014

 


July 2016 Weather Recap - A Month in the Tropics

 

Rain drops

The1990s

 

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

 

WELCOME RAINFALL

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

 

HOT, BUT DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE

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

 

Nyc policeman cools off

 

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

 

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

 

Heat dome

 

 

CLOUD-COVER CURIOSITY

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

 

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

 

Cloud Cover in July 2016  

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

 

Hot Wet July

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Weather-Themed Songs

Singing-in-the-rain-gene-kelly

 

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

 

A Warm Summer Night (1979) - Chic

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

 

Warm summer night nyc

 

Blue Sky (1982) - Allman Brothers

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

 

Weather.central_park_summertime

 

Come Rain or Come Shine (1946)  - Numerous artists

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

 

Weather.comerain.comeshine

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Rainy day nyc

 

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

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

 

Washington square park fountain

 

I Love a Rainy Night (1980) - Eddie Rabbit

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

 

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

 

Weather.downpour

 

In the Rain (1971) - The Dramatics

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

 

Weather.in the rain

 

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

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

 

Laughter in the rain - pinterest

 

Rhapsody in the Rain (1966) - Lou Christie

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

 

Making out

 

Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984) - The Scorpions

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

 

Hurricane hugo

 

Spring Rain (1977) - Bebu Silvetti

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

 

Spring rain silvetti

 

Stormy Weather (1982) - Viola Wills

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

 

Weather_thunderstorm_over_manhattan

 

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

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

 

Weather.grayday.newyork

 

Umbrella (2007) - Rihanna

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

 

Weather_rihanna.umbrella

 

 

 

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Not All Daily Rainfall Records Are Impressive

Weather_vangogh_umbrellas

 

Since New York's weather records go back to 1872 one might think that rainfall records for each day of the year would be substantial amounts, i.e., at least three inches, but that's not the case.  For example, on Oct. 22, 2014 a nor'easter brought 1.51" of rain, which was a record for the date.  And although it was a significant amount it hardly seemed worthy of a record.  In fact, fifty-nine days have rainfall records that are for amounts less than 1.50", with nearly two dozen of them more than 100 years old. 

 

Unimpressed

 

The most unimpressive record amounts of precipitation are found in January (thirteen days) and May (nine days).  October is the only month in which all record amounts are above 1.50".  (Seventy-five dates report more than three inches of rain for their record amounts.)

 

Until 2014 the most rain to ever fall on April 30 had been just 0.89", but then 4.97" poured down - now that's a record!  This left two dates with record amounts less than one inch - 0.86" on Sept. 9 and 0.91" on April 29.

 

The chart below shows the ten smallest daily amounts of precipitation that are records.  The most recent was on Feb. 8, 2013, when just 1.15" of precipitation qualified as a record (much of it fell as snow).  And the most recent occurrence of a low-record amount being displaced by a much greater amount was on July 8, 2021, when 2.06" broke the 1964 record of 1.05".  (And on March 14, 2017, 1.97" of rain easily erased the 1956 record of 1.02".)

 

SMALLEST RAIN AMOUNTS
THAT ARE DAILY RECORDS
(As of Aug. 2021)
     
Date Amount Year
     
Sept 9 0.86 1902
April 29     0.89 1909
June 8 1.02 1900
Jan 29 1.03 1990
May 17 1.05 1989
April 11    1.10    1913
Nov 30 1.11 1928
June 15 1.13 1915
June 11 1.14 1911
Feb 8 1.15 2013
     
     

 


 

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Today in New York Weather History: April 14

 

1880

Today's high of 80° came just two days after a record low of 26° (since eclipsed in 1976).  This was the first reading above 64° since 3/5 (when it was 72°).

1940

A trace of snow was reported for the 33rd time this snow season, the most ever (later tied in 1944-45).  Today's high/low was 41°/30°.

 

Trace

 

1966

This was the fourth day in a row with a low of 39° (five degrees below average).  However, all of the days had different highs, with three in the 57°-60° range and one with a high of only 44°. 

1979

It was a rainy and chilly Easter Saturday.  1.10" of rain fell (ending late in the afternoon) and the high/low was 45°/40°; the high was nearly twenty degrees below average. 

2014

This was the fourth day in a row with highs in the 70s.  The average high during these days was 75°, fifteen degrees above average.

 

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2018

After the temperature peaked at 77° in the middle of the afternoon, a "back-door" cold front moved through, and by midnight the temperature had fallen to 44°.  This was the greatest drop in temperature since 1/13, when it plummeted from 58° to 19°.  (It was also the second biggest drop in more than four years.)

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