First Heat Wave of 2016 for NYC

The heat is on in NYC! With temperatures reaching into the 90s for three consecutive days, the Big Apple is officially in the midst of its first heat wave of the summer.

In Central Park, the temperature reached 90°F on Thursday, 94°F on Friday, and on Saturday it climbed to 96°F – our hottest day so far this year. Looking ahead, the 90-degree weather is forecast to continue through at least the middle of the week.

Humidity levels are also expected to remain high, making it feel even hotter. Heat index values, which combine air temperature and relative humidity, are projected to be in the mid to upper 90s and even enter the triple digits on some days.

While these conditions can be oppressive, they are also very dangerous. Extended exposure can cause a number of serious health hazards. Both a heat advisory and air quality alert have been issued for the city.

As hot as the past few days have been, they were not record breakers. The dubious honor of producing the city’s hottest day ever recorded belongs to July 9, 1936 when the temperature reached a sizzling 106°F.

NYC Monthly Summary: June 2016

June 2016 was a bit of a weather rollercoaster in New York City. We had highs that ranged from a cool 67°F to a balmy 88°F.  But, in the end, the cold and warmth averaged each other out. The city’s mean temperature for the month was 72.3°F, which is only 0.8°F above normal.

In terms of precipitation, June was unusually dry and marked the fourth consecutive month that NYC received below average rainfall.  In all, we received 2.60 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 1.81 inches below normal. As a result of this paltry precipitation, according to the latest report (6/28) from the US Drought Monitor, the city is now in a state of moderate drought.

June Temps 2016

Temperatures in NYC this June felt like they were on a rollercoaster.  Credit: The Weather Gamut

NYC Monthly Summary: May 2016

May 2016 was an unusual weather month in New York City with some days feeling more like March and others like August. We had a near record low of 43°F on May 16th and two sweltering days in the 90s at the end of the month. But all together, the cold and warmth averaged each other out. The city’s mean temperature for the month was 62.8°F, which is only 0.4°F above normal.

In terms of precipitation, the city was mostly dry this May. In all, we received 3.75 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 0.44 inches below average. The majority of this total fell during a single heavy rain event on Memorial Day as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie moved up the coast. The latest report from the US Drought Monitor (5/24), which came out before Bonnie, continues to list the city as “abnormally dry.”

Some days this may felt like March and others like August. Credit: The Weather Gamut

Some days this May felt more like March and others like August. Credit: The Weather Gamut

Remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie brought the city a significant rain event. Credit: The Weather Gamut

Remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie brought the city a significant rain event on 5/30. Credit: The Weather Gamut

Suddenly Summer in NYC

After an extended stretch of cool and rather gloomy conditions, it is suddenly summer in New York City!

The temperature in Central Park soared to 88°F this afternoon, marking the warmest day the city has seen since last September. Our normal high for this time of year is 73°F.

These warm conditions are expected to stick around through the upcoming Memorial Day weekend – ideal conditions for the unofficial start of the summer season.

A March-like Chill in May for NYC

The calendar says mid-May, but it felt more like March in New York City this weekend.

After a warm spring day on Saturday with readings in the 70s, a cold front swept through the region ushering in significantly cooler conditions. The high on Sunday only reached 57°F, which is 13°F below average. This dramatic cool down was also accompanied by strong winds with gusts in excess of 40-mph.

Moving from Sunday into Monday, the over-night low in Central Park fell to a chilly 43°F. That is the coolest May temperature the city has seen in three years. It was also just one degree shy of tying the record low of 42°F set in 1878. Our normal low temperature for this time of year is 54°F.

With Memorial Day – the un-official start of summer – just two weeks away, many New Yorkers will be happy to hear that temperatures are expected to rebound to more seasonable levels later this week.

NYC Monthly Summary: April 2016

April 2016 was a weather rollercoaster in New York City. We had highs that ranged from a balmy 82°F to a chilly 43°F.  But, in the end, the cold and warmth averaged each other out. The city’s mean temperature for the month was 53.3°F, which is only 0.3°F above normal.

In terms of precipitation, April’s famous showers were few and far between this year. The city received a mere 1.60 inches of rain in Central Park. On average, NYC typically gets 4.5 inches of rain for the month. With these parched condtions coming on the heels of scant rainfall in March, the city was listed as “abnormally dry” on the latest report (4/28) from the US Drought Monitor.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Revised Numbers Show January 2016 Blizzard was a Record Breaker in NYC

After further review, it turns out that the Blizzard of January 2016 – also known as Winter Storm Jonas – was a record breaker for New York City.

According to the NWS, the storm dumped 27.5 inches of snow in Central Park and not the previously reported 26.8 inches. That makes it the city’s biggest snowstorm on record. The previous reading was a tenth of an inch shy of the now old record that was set in February 2006.

The error was found during an investigation launched in the wake of the historic storm. Snow measurement techniques at eight different sights along the east coast were questioned, as storm totals seemed too high in some places and too low in others. In a statement, NWS Director, Louis Uccellini, said, “Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable, a problem compounded by strong winds and compaction during a long duration event.”

In NYC, the mistake stemmed from a communication issue rather than a problem with measurement technique. The Central Park Conservancy, the group responsible for measuring snowfall in Central Park, called their numbers into the NWS office by phone and one of the measurements was written down incorrectly.

In the grand scheme of this massive storm, an extra 0.7 inches of snow may not sound like a lot, but every fraction counts when it comes to records.

Blizzard 2016, NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming

New Yorkers enjoy the record 27.5 inches of snow dumped on the city by the Blizzard of 2016. Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming

First 80° Day of the Year for NYC

It is only April, but it felt more like mid-June in New York City today.

The temperature in Central Park soared to 82°F, which is a whopping 20°F above average. This was the first 80° reading the city has seen since the end of September last year.

The primary driver of this unseasonable warmth is the omega-blocking pattern centered over the eastern US. A persistent ridge of high pressure over the region is allowing warm air from the south to flow further north than it normally would at this time of year.

While it was unusually warm today, it was not a record for the city. That honor belongs to April 18, 1976 when the mercury hit 96°F.  Nonetheless, after a brisk start to April this year, many New Yorkers were out enjoying the summer-like weather.

Speaking Event: The Art and Science of Climate Change

Climate change is a complex scientific subject with a plethora of data-rich reports that detail its causation and diverse impacts. But, not everyone responds to facts and figures or charts and graphs. That is why art can help broaden the public conversation and help create new pathways to understanding this critical issue.

On Friday, April 15th, I will be giving a presentation that I developed called The Art and Science of Climate Change at NYU. Blending my two passions, it introduces the basic science of climate change and explores how artists from around the globe are reacting to its various impacts and possible solutions.

Please contact me to arrange a presentation for your school or organization.

When to Expect the Final Freeze of Spring

Most people often associate spring with flowers and mild weather. But as a transitional season, it can also produce some serious cold spells. Wearing shorts one day and a parka the next, you start to wonder when the cold will finally fade away.

The answer to that question largely depends on where you live. Below is a map from NOAA that shows the typical final freeze dates across the continental US. While actual weather conditions vary from year to year, the dates shown are based on climatology – a thirty-year average of temperature data.

Here in New York City, our last spring freeze usually comes in mid-April.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA