April Snow for NYC

Spring sprung in New York City this weekend, but winter weather came fighting back overnight.  Following multiple days with temperatures in the mid-70s, many New Yorkers were surprised to find a light coating of snow on cars and sidewalks this morning.

The dramatic cool down – caused by a large mass of cold air moving in from Canada – was accompanied by rain that turned into a wintry mix overnight.  With the temperature plummeting into the 30’s, the NWS issued a freeze warning for the city and surrounding area.

Snow in April is not unheard of in the Big Apple.  On average the month brings us 0.6 inches.  That said, as the month progresses, the chance of snow decreases.  The latest measurable snowfall on record for NYC is April 25, 1875 when 3 inches accumulated in Central Park.

New Yorkers Bask in Spring Warmth

After a long snowy winter, New Yorkers have finally emerged from hibernation.  With temperatures soaring well into the 70s all weekend, the city’s parks were filled with people enjoying the balmy spring weather.  The normal high in NYC at this time of year is 60°F.

New Yorkers enjoying a warm spring afternoon on the Sheep's Meadow in Central Park.  Image Credit: The Weather Gamut.

New Yorkers enjoying a warm spring afternoon on the Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. Image Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Spring has Sprung in NYC

The bees are buzzing, the birds are chirping and the flowers are starting to bloom. Three weeks after the equinox, it seems like spring has finally sprung in New York City.

With a high temperature of 75°F in Central Park, today was the warmest day the city has experienced all year.  The last time the mercury soared this high in the Big Apple was early October 2013.  Our normal high for this time of year is 60°F.

The mild weather is expected to last through the weekend.  Enjoy!

Magnolia tree in bloom in NYC

Magnolia tree in bloom in NYC.  Image Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Smoky Haze Fills the Air in NYC

The smell of smoke filled the air in New York City Monday morning.  Its source was a 1,600-acre brush fire in Wharton State Forest, NJ – about 90 miles away.

Burning since late Sunday, the smoke was trapped near the ground by a local temperature inversion. This is a weather phenomenon where the temperature in the atmosphere increases with height instead of decreasing.  Essentially, the inversion layer acted like a lid and caused the smoke to spread out horizontally rather than vertically.  A low level wind from the southeast then carried the smoke toward the city.

The smoky haze prompted the EPA to issue an air quality alert for the NYC area. With a spike in the pollutant known as “fine particulate matter”, this was the first time this year that the city’s air quality dropped below “moderate” on the agency’s AQI scale.

Smoky haze fills the air in NYC.  Image Credit: WPIX.

Smoky haze fills the air in NYC.  Image Credit: PIX11.

NYC Monthly Summary: March 2014

March 2014 was a month of volatile temperature swings in New York City. We had highs ranging between a frosty 29°F and a relatively balmy 66°F.  In the end, however, with twenty out of thirty-one days posting cooler than normal readings, the cold won out. The city’s average monthly temperature was 37.7°F, which is 4.3°F below normal.

In terms of precipitation, March was mostly dry. The city received 3.67 inches of rain, which is 0.69 inches below normal. Of this total, almost half fell on a single day.

Snow was also scarce with a mere 0.1 inches measured in Central Park.  On average, the month usually brings the Big Apple 3.6 inches. Closing out NYC’s 7th snowiest winter on record, March was the first time all season that the city received below average snowfall.

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

7th Snowiest Winter in NYC

The winter of 2013-14 brought an exceptional amount of snowfall to New York City. In fact, it was one of our top ten snowiest.

Looking back, every month this winter, with the exception of March, was an overachiever in terms of snowfall.  December brought the city 8.6 inches, January produced 19.7 inches, and February delivered an impressive 29 inches.

With a grand total of 57.4 inches of snow in Central Park, this winter was the Big Apple’s 7th snowiest on record. New York City, according to the NWS, normally gets 25.1 inches for the entire season.

Chart Credit: The Weather Gamut

Chart Credit: The Weather Gamut

Upcoming Climate Change Events in NYC

Climate Change is a pressing global issue.  Below is a list of upcoming events in New York City where you can learn more about the subject, its impacts, and some of the actions being taken to help keep our world habitable.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory/Columbia University

New School University

All of these events are free and open to the public, but require registration in advance. Click on the individual links for more information.

NYC Temperature History: An Upward Trend

No one can deny this has been a brutal winter in New York City.  With persistent cold conditions over the past few months, some people may be questioning the validity of global warming. It is important to remember, however, that it was just one season. To see the big picture of climate change, we need to look at long-term trends.

The graph below shows the actual annual temperatures recorded in Central Park by the National Weather Service from 1869 through 2013.  While there has been variability and some extremes – both hot and cold – over the years, the overall trend is clearly warming.

To date, NYC’s coldest year was 1888 with an annual average temperature of 49.3°F.  The city’s warmest year was 2012 with an average temperature of 57.3°F.  Our normal annual temperature, based on the current 30-year average, is 54.8°F.

Data Source: NOAA

Data Source: NOAA

Chilly St. Patrick’s Day in NYC

A longstanding tradition in New York City, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has marched in all types of weather.  This year, with temperatures in the mid-30s, parade goers had to wear a few extra layers of green.

While today was unseasonably chilly, it was not the coldest St. Patrick’s Day the city has experienced. That dubious honor, according to the NWS, is shared by both 1916 and 1967 when the high was only 26°F.  The warmest was in 1945 when the temperature soared to a balmy 75°F.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Image Credit: Stutz

Image Credit: Stutz

Volatile March Temperatures in NYC

Up and down and back again, this was a volatile week for temperatures in New York City. Overall, it felt like we were on a weather roller-coaster.

On Tuesday, the high temperature in Central Park was a balmy 66°F – the city’s warmest day of the year so far.  Two days later, we were reminded that it is still winter when the mercury only made it to 32°F.  Today, the temperature rebounded to 58°F, but it is forecast to tumble into the mid-30s again tomorrow. Our normal high for this time of year is 49°F.

As jarring as they may be, these large temperature swings are par for the course in March. Transitioning from winter to spring, warm air in the south is expanding quickly while cold air lingers in the north.  As a result, temperature gradients can be very tight and local conditions can change abruptly.

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut