Early Spring Preview Brings Record Warmth to NYC

The calendar says January, but it felt more like early May in New York City this weekend.

In Central Park, the temperature soared to 69°F on Saturday and hit 68°F on Sunday, setting new record highs for both dates. According to the NWS, the previous records of 63°F for January 11 and 66°F for January 12 were set in 1975 and 2017, respectively.

It is also interesting to note that the overnight low temperatures for both dates (51°F and 43°F) were warmer than the normal high. The average high for the city in mid-January is 38°F and the average low is 27.

The primary driver of this unseasonable warmth was a large ridge in the jet stream. Sitting over the eastern part of the US, it allowed warm air from the south to flow further north than it normally would at this time of the year.

But, as with most things that go up, they must also come back down. The temperature is expected to moderate over the next few days but remain above average. More seasonable temperatures are expected to return by the end of the week. So, don’t put your winter coats away just yet.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

“Weather the Weather” Art Exhibition Extended

Art and science have come together at the New York Hall of Science to highlight the fascinating world of weather. In a group exhibition titled Weather the Weather, artworks of various mediums explore the different ways we understand and experience the forces of nature.

Curated by Marnie Benney, this SciArt Initiative exhibition features the work of twenty-one artists from around the world. Honored to be one of them, images from my American Glaciers: Going, Going, Gone and Wildfires series are on display.

The exhibition will be on view through February 20, 2020 at The New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Queens, NY. For hours and directions visit www.nysci.org

Credit: NYSci

2019: A Year of Weather Extremes in NYC

New York City experienced some noteworthy weather in 2019, especially the dramatic swings between hot and cold temperatures almost every month. In the end, however, these extremes just about balanced each other out. The city’s average temperature for the year in Central Park was 55.6°F, which is 0.7°F above normal.

In the end, only four months produced below-average readings. Of those, November posted the greatest departure from average with a temperature of 3.85°F below normal. This was aided by the two record cold overnight lows that occurred that month.

On the other side of the spectrum, two months posted temperatures among their top ten warmest on record. April 2019 was the third warmest April and July 2019 was the tenth warmest July ever recorded in New York City.

The summer brought NYC a number of oppressively hot and humid days, including 15 days with temperatures in the 90s. The hottest day came during the mid-July heatwave when the mercury soared to 95°F. When humidity was factored in, the heat index or real feel temperature was in the triple digits.

On the precipitation side of things, 53.03 inches of rain was measured in Central Park. That is 3.09 inches above average. Of that soggy total, 7.09 inches came down in December, making it the fifth wettest December on record in NYC.

Snowfall, on the other hand, was somewhat scarce. Only 16.6 inches was reported in Central Park. However, it is interesting to note that the vast majority of that total, 10.4 inches, fell during the first few days of March. The city, on average, gets 25.8 inches for the calendar year.

Records for the Central Park Climate Station date back to 1873.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

December 2019: Fifth Wettest on Record for NYC

December 2019 felt like a weather roller coaster in New York City. Highs ranged from a relatively balmy 58°F to a frigid 25°F. But in the end, these extremes nearly balanced each other out. The city’s mean temperature for the month was 38.3°F, which is only 0.8°F above average.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

In terms of precipitation, December was a month for the record books. The city received 7.09 inches of rain in Central Park, making it the fifth wettest December on record. It is also interesting to note that two different days produced rainfall totals greater than one inch. Snowfall, however, was below average. Only 2.5 inches was reported in Central Park. New York City, on average, sees 4 inches of rain and 4.8 inches of snow in December.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Gallery Talk: “Weather the Weather” at NY Hall of Science

Art and science have come together at the New York Hall of Science to highlight the fascinating world of weather. In a group exhibition titled Weather the Weather, artworks of various mediums explore the different ways we understand and experience the forces of nature.

Curated by Marnie Benney, this SciArt Initiative exhibition features the work of twenty-one artists from around the world. Honored to be one of them, images from my American Glaciers: Going, Going, Gone and Wildfires series are on display.

If you are in the area, Ms. Benney will lead a gallery tour and talk with several of the artists on Saturday, December 7 from 2 to 3:30 PM. To attend, please register via Eventbrite.

The exhibition will be on view through January 10, 2020 at The New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Queens, NY. For hours and directions, visit www.nysci.org

Credit: NYSci/SciArt

First Snowfall of the Season for NYC

New York City saw its first snowfall of the 2019-2020 winter season on Monday.

According to the NWS, 1.5 inches of snow was measured in Central Park. While not a blockbuster event, it was exciting to see the flakes fill the air. With all the holiday lights and decorations on display, the snow also added to the city’s festive atmosphere.

The timing of this first snowfall was about normal for the Big Apple. On average, the first flakes of the season are seen in early to mid-December. Our earliest first snow event on record was on October 21, 1952, and our latest was January 29,1973. New York City typically gets 4.8 inches of snow in December and  25.8 inches for the entire winter season.

Credit: Melissa Fleming

November 2019: Unusually Cold and Dry in NYC

November felt like a wild ride of weather in New York City. Highs ranged from an unseasonably warm 71°F to a chilly 34°F. But, with 20 out of 30 days posting below-average readings, the cold won out in the end. The month also produced our first freeze of the season and two record cold overnight lows. Overall, the city’s mean temperature for November was 43.9°F, which is 3.8°F below average.

On the precipitation side of things, the month was unusually dry. Only nine days delivered measurable rainfall, which added up to a paltry 1.95 inches in Central Park. New York City, on average, gets 4.02 inches for the month.

Windy Conditions Expected for the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a long-standing holiday tradition in New York City.  For 93 years, it has marched rain or shine. Nevertheless, the weather has affected the event several times over the years.

Famous for its giant character balloons, high winds are the main weather challenge for the parade. According to city guidelines, the multi-story balloons cannot fly if there are sustained winds in excess of 23 mph or gusts higher than 34 mph. These regulations were put in place following a 1997 incident where gusty winds sent the “Cat in the Hat” balloon careening into a light post, which caused debris to fall on and injure spectators.

The only time the balloons were grounded for the entire parade was in 1971, when torrential rain swept across the city. In 1989, a snowstorm brought the Big Apple a white Thanksgiving and the “Snoopy” and “Bugs Bunny” balloons had to be pulled from the parade because of damage from high winds.

This year, the wind could potentially be a problem again. Gusts are forecast to be between 30 and 40 mph during the parade hours. City officials say they will wait to see what conditions are actually like on the day before they make any decisions about grounding or limiting the balloons.

Marching from West 77th Street to West 34th Street in Manhattan, the 93rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 9 AM on Thursday morning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Paddington Bear balloon floats down 6th Ave in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.           Credit: Macy’s

Arctic Blast Brings Record Cold Temperatures to NYC

The calendar says November, but it felt more like January in New York City on Wednesday as a blast of frigid arctic air plunged into the region.

In Central Park, the temperature dropped to 25°F late Tuesday night and hit 23°F early Wednesday morning, setting new record lows for both dates. According to the NWS, the previous records of 26°F for November 12 and 24°F for November 13 were set in 1926 and 1986, respectively.

The high temperature on Wednesday only reached 34°F, which is 8°F colder than the normal low for this time of year. The average high for the city in mid-November is 55°F.

Produced by a deep dip in the jet stream, these unusually cold conditions are expected to hang around for a while. Temperatures are forecast to moderate slightly but still remain below average as we move into next week. Keep those hats and gloves handy!

Credit: The Weather Gamut

First Freeze of the 2019 Fall Season in NYC

After a warm start to autumn, Mother Nature brought New York City a winter preview on Friday.

According to the NWS, the temperature in Central Park dropped to 29°F late Friday night. That was the coldest air the city has seen since March and marks the first freeze of the season.

Compared to the above-average temperatures the city has been experiencing this season, this first nip of frosty air was a bit jarring for some people. But, mid-November is when the city usually sees its first freeze. The earliest 32°F reading on record came on October 19 twice, first in 1940 and then again in 1974. Our latest first freeze was on December 22, 1998.

Produced by a deep dip in the jet stream, these chilly conditions are expected to last for a day or two. Then, after a brief warm-up, another shot of arctic air is forecast to hit the city next week. Keep those coats and gloves handy!

Average Dates for First Frost. Credit: Cornell