The calendar says January, but it felt more like April in New York City on Thursday. The temperature soared to 66°F in Central Park, setting a new record high for the date. The previous record of 64°F stood since 1890. The overnight low temperature of 47°F was also record warm.
The city’s normal high this time of year is 38°F, but a “January thaw” is not unusual. Nevertheless, after getting 6.3 inches of snow over the weekend and temperatures only reaching the mid-20s on Monday, these spring-like conditions felt like weather whiplash.
Many New Yorkers enjoyed the unseasonable warmth, while others were sad to see the snow melt away. It is, however, still January. So, regardless of opinions, keep your winter gear handy.
January 12th brought NYC a record high temperature and a record warm low temperature. Credit: The Weather Gamut
Over the past week, a cavalcade of intense rain and snowstorms battered the west coast of the US and put a major dent in California’s five-year drought.
According to the latest report from the US Drought Monitor, the northern third of the Golden State is now drought free. This is a major change from just three months ago, when the entire state was in some form of drought.
Across the region, copious amounts of precipitation were reported. More than a foot of rain fell in the Sierra Nevada, with 20.7 inches measured locally at Strawberry Valley, CA. Higher elevations saw tremendous snowfall totals. Heavenly Ski resort in South Lake Tahoe, according to the NWS, received an incredible 12 feet of snow in just one week.
These staggering totals came courtesy of a weather phenomenon known as an “atmospheric river”. These are narrow, but intense bands of water vapor sourced from the tropics. Often originating near Hawaii, this fire hose of moisture is sometimes called a “pineapple express.”
While this excessive rainfall did cause flooding events across the region, reservoir levels have benefited. Lake Shasta, the largest largest reservoir in California, is currently at 81% of total capacity and 126% of its historical average for the date.
Southern California also picked up some much-needed rainfall, but still remains in drought. That said, only 2% of the state is currently in exceptional drought, the worst possible category.
Northern California is drought free for the first time in five years. Credit: US Drought Monitor