It’s official! We are having a heat wave in New York City.
The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the northeast, it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. In Central Park, the temperature reached 90°F on Wednesday, 92°F on Thursday – setting a new record for the date – and then 91°F on Friday.
While heat waves are more common during the summer months, they have developed in the spring before. The last time one happened in May was May 2-4, 2001. The city’s earliest heat wave on record was April 16-18, 2002. This week’s event ranks as the sixth earliest, according to the NWS.
The main driver of this unseasonable heat is a stubborn Bermuda High, which is a large area of high pressure off the east coast. Spinning clockwise, it is ushering warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico into the region
The city’s normal high for this time of year is 72°F.
The calendar says May, but it felt more like July in New York City on Thursday. The temperature in Central Park soared to 92°F, setting a new record high for the date. The previous record of 90°F had been in place since 1936.
Wednesday was also a scorcher, producing the Big Apple’s first 90-degree day of the season. The normal high in NYC at this time of year is 71°F.
These dramatic temperatures are the result of a Bermuda High, a large area of high pressure situated off the mid-Atlantic coast. Spinning clockwise, it has been funneling very warm air from the Gulf of Mexico toward the northeast.
This type of heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is why an air quality advisory was issued for the area. Anyone with repository concerns, like asthma, was advised to stay indoors.
While these temperatures are unseasonable, the city has seen 90° readings arrive even earlier. The earliest, according to NWS records, was April 7, 2010, when the mercury climbed to a sweltering 92°F.
If you are not quite ready for summer, fear not. Conditions more typical of May are expected to return this weekend.
Weather Whiplash for NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut
An unseasonable nor’easter soaked the northeastern US this Mother’s Day weekend. Heavy rain and gusty winds were reported across the region.
Here in New York City, 1.61 inches of rain fell in Central Park. This impressive total was only a few one-hundredths on an inch shy of the daily record of 1.66 inches that was set in 1971.
This storm also marked the second consecutive wet weekend for the Big Apple. Last Friday, a record-shattering 3.02 inches of rain came down in just a few hours. Between these two storms, the city has already received more precipitation than it typically sees for the entire month of May.
With an area of low pressure intensifying as it traveled north along the Atlantic coast, this storm was a textbook nor’easter. While this type of storm is more common during the fall and winter months, they can develop any time of the year.
Satellite view of the unseasonable May nor’easter. Credit: NOAA
It was a thrill to be asked back to The Weather Channel’s WUTV show on Friday. As a New York City-based contributor to their PWS network, we discussed the record rainfall that swept through the city and the numerous flooding situations it caused.
The show, which dives into the science behind different weather events, airs weeknights from 6 to 8 PM EST on The Weather Channel.
Weather Gamut writer, Melissa Fleming, talks about record rainfall in NYC on WUTV. May 5, 2017. Credit: TWC and Melissa Fleming.
An intense rainstorm swept through New York City on Friday afternoon. With bands of heavy downpours, it unleashed more than half a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours.
According to the NWS, 3.02 inches of rain was measured in Central Park, setting a new record for the date. The previous record of 1.55 inches had been in place since 1871. On average, the Big Apple gets 4.19 inches of rain for the entire month of May.
The heavy rain disrupted travel across the city, with flash flood warnings issued in all five boroughs. Significant delays and cancellations were also reported at the area’s airports.
This type of heavy rain event, according to NOAA, is expected to become more common in the northeast as global temperatures rise and precipitation patterns change.
Flooding on NYC’s West Side Highway. Credit: New York Patch
Transitioning to spring, April was a month of wild temperature swings in New York City. We had highs that ranged from a chilly 48°F to a summer-like 87°F. However, with 19 out of 30 days posting above average readings, the warmth won out in the end.
The city’s mean temperature for the month was 57.2°F, which is a whopping 4.2°F above the long-term norm. That makes April 2017 the Big Apple’s second warmest April on record. Only April 2010 was warmer.
In terms of precipitation, April’s famous showers were slightly below normal with 3.84 inches of rain measured in Central Park. But of this total, the vast majority (74%) came down on three different, but very wet, days. The city usually sees 4.50 inches of rain for the month.
Credit: The Weather Gamut
The calendar said Easter, but it felt more like the Fourth of July in New York City on Sunday. The temperature in Central Park soared to a sweltering 87°F, which is a staggering 25°F above average.
According to the NWS, this was the second hottest Easter on record for the Big Apple. The warmest was April 18, 1976, when the temperature hit 96°F. Unlike Christmas, Easter falls on a slightly different date every year. It is the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the spring equinox.
While the heat was not ideal for the holiday’s famous chocolate eggs, the city’s parks were filled with people enjoying the warm weather. However, if you are not quite ready for summer, fear not. More spring–like conditions are expected to return this week.
It felt more like June than April in New York City on Tuesday. Building on the prior day’s spring heat, the temperature in Central Park soared to 80°F, marking the city’s first 80-degree day of the year.
Topping out at 20°F above average, the day was unseasonably warm. However, it was not a record breaker. That honor belongs to April 11, 1955, when the mercury soared to 84°F. On average, the city’s first 80-degree day does not show up until April 26.
Wearing short sleeves and enjoying lunch alfresco, many New Yorkers took full advantage of this summer preview. Some even celebrated the clash of the seasons by ice-skating in shorts at the rink in Rockefeller Center (photo below). More seasonable conditions are expected to return later this week.
Ice-skaters wore shorts at the rink in Rockefeller Center as the temperature soared to summer-like levels. Credit: Melissa Fleming
After a cold March and a chilly start to April, spring has finally sprung in New York City!
With a high temperature of 74°F in Central Park, Monday was the warmest day the city has seen since last October. Our normal high for this time of year is 59°F.
The primary driver of these balmy conditions is a strong Bermuda High off the mid-Atlantic coast that is funneling warm southern air into the region.
These warm temperatures, which are more common in late May than early April, are expected to last for a few days. Enjoy!
Trees and plants are starting to bloom in NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming
There is an old saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It refers to the transition from winter to spring that takes place during the month and the change in weather that usually follows. However, in New York City this year that tradition went out the window as March turned out to be colder than February.
This type of temperature flip-flop, according to NWS records, has only happened five other times in NYC history. The last time was 1984.
This March, twenty-one out of thirty-one days posted below average temperatures. Five of those days had highs that did not get above freezing. In the end, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 39.2°F, which is 3.3°F below normal.
In terms of precipitation, the city was unusually wet in March. In all, we received 5.25 inches of rain, which is 0.89 inches above average. Snowfall was also abundant, with 9.7 inches measured in Central Park. Of that total, 7.6 inches fell during a nor’easter in the middle of the month. March, on average, usually only brings the city 3.9 inches of snow.
This plentiful precipitation, according to the latest report from the US Drought Monitor (3/30), has erased the abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions that have plagued the city for months.
March was colder than February in NYC this year. Credit: The Weather Gamut