Fall

Winter Arrives Early, Record Wet Fall: November 2018 and Fall 2018 Recaps

December 5, 2018 - 5:11pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow-covered highway

November weather packed quite a punch, putting an exclamation point on what will go into the book as the wettest Fall (September–November) on record (since 1895). With seven storms that each deposited an inch or more of rain (or melted snow) at numerous locations, this was the second wettest November. The statewide average of 8.77” was 5.16” above the 1981–2010 average. The record will remain 9.01” in 1972.

One of the largest early-season snowstorms on record delivered significant impacts to all but southeastern NJ on the 15th. This event alone resulted one of the snowiest Novembers on record. Statewide, the monthly snowfall was 4.1”, which is 3.3” above average and ranks as the 6th snowiest since 1895 and the snowiest since 1989. With 7.4” in the north (Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Warren, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties), it was the snowiest November since 1938 and 3rd most on record. Central NJ (Hunterdon, Somerset, Union, Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth counties) received 4.8” (+3.9”), the 5th snowiest on record and most since 2012. The south (Burlington, Ocean, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Salem, Cumberland, and Cape May counties) averaged 2.0” (+1.4”), the 10th snowiest and most since 2012.

Rapid Transition: October 2018 Recap

November 5, 2018 - 7:37pm -- Dave Robinson

Coastal flood photo

October was a tale of two half-months. Summer-like weather prevailed through the 11th, quickly transitioning to fall-like conditions on the 12th. Passage of the first strong cold front of the season was responsible for the change. Moderate to heavy rain accompanied the front in northwest NJ during the daytime hours of the 11th. That evening, and into the morning of the 12th, moisture from the remnants of once major Hurricane Michael ran up against the front and brought heavy rain to south Jersey. This one-two punch was followed on the 17th by the first freezing temperatures of the season at a few locations and a more widespread freeze on the 19th. Generally cool conditions prevailed the remainder of the month. The remnants of yet another major hurricane, Willa, provided energy and moisture to a quick-hitting nor’easter on the morning of the 27th that brought some of the worst coastal flooding since Sandy in 2012. Michael was an Atlantic storm that made landfall in the Florida panhandle, while Willa was an eastern Pacific storm that came ashore on the west coast of Mexico.

First Widespread Freeze of the Season

October 19, 2018 - 10:51am -- Dave Robinson

Oct 19 minimum temperature map

This morning was a frosty one, with many NJWxNet locations across the state seeing their first freezing temperatures of the season. The accompanying map shows that most every location away from coastal and urban environs dipped to the freezing point or lower. Walpack (Sussex County), the traditional cold spot in NJ on calm clear nights, was the coldest spot at 24°. Atlantic City Marina (Atlantic) and Lower Alloways Creek, along the Delaware Bay coast in Salem County, were mildest, with lows of 46°. All other NJWxNet sites were no milder than 42°. One of the more interesting cold readings was the 32° minimum at Jersey City (Hudson). This station is located in Liberty State Park, demonstrating that even parkland within urban regions can get awfully chilly on calm, clear nights. However, it is a bit surprising to see this low, given that the station is quite close to the waters of NY Harbor.

Even a Quiet Month Can be Interesting and an Overall Mild and Dry Season: November and Fall 2017 Summary

December 5, 2017 - 3:06pm -- Dave Robinson

High Point snow, November 8

Even in a rather tranquil month, there are always interesting aspects of New Jersey’s weather and climate that can make for memorable situations. Such was the case during the 11th month of 2017. On the heels of a mild October and first week of November came one of the coldest early-season blasts on record on the 11th. Then the 19th saw some of the strongest winds of the year across the state. Overall, dry conditions by month’s end put the northern Highlands in the D0 (abnormally dry) category on the US Drought Monitor map, threatening to expand further into the state should dry conditions persist.

Rainfall averaged 1.68” across the state. This is 1.93” below the 1981–2010 mean and ranks as the 19th driest November since 1895. It was the driest since 1.30” fell in 2012 and well above the record low 0.54” in 1917. The statewide average temperature of 44.3° tied with 1938 as the 75th coolest (or 49th mildest) on record. The average was 0.9° below the 1981–2010 mean, but 0.8° above the 1895–2017 mean. This demonstrates how New Jersey has warmed in recent decades compared to earlier in the 20th century.

Delays Abound: October 2017 Summary

November 6, 2017 - 2:59pm -- Dave Robinson

October 29-30 2017 rainfall total map

The tenth month of 2017 was marked by the slow arrival of October-like conditions, including the first freezes of the season, the close-to-two week delay in the fall leaf season, and the absence of much precipitation until two late-month storms made up for lost time. Amidst all of this, October proved to be the second warmest across New Jersey since the onset of records in 1895. The 60.7° average was 6.2° above the 1981–2010 normal, trailing the 2007 record by 1.4°, but 0.9° above the now third mildest October in 1971. The month ended with a large portion of the state yet to be visited by the first freeze of the season.

Rainfall was rather limited throughout the first three weeks of the month, leading to an expansion of D0 “abnormally dry” conditions across the northern half of the state in the US Drought Monitor. It was anticipated that a portion of the north would move to a D1 “moderate drought” designation and the remainder of NJ to D0 come the October 31st weekly map (as mentioned in previous reports, the state climate office plays a significant role in making such designations). However, some welcome rain fell on the 24th, and on the 29th the largest statewide rain event since April 30, 2014, brought close to, and in some areas more than, a month’s worth of liquid in a major storm. This arrived on the 5th anniversary of Sandy and 6th anniversary of a historic early season snowstorm. When all was said and done, statewide October precipitation averaged 4.96”. This is 1.07” above average and ranks as the 25th wettest of the past 123 years.

Plenty Dry with Backwards Warmth: September 2017 Summary

October 5, 2017 - 4:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Waves photo

While remarkable deadly and destructive hurricanes pummeled portions of the Caribbean and southern states, September weather conditions in the Garden State were generally quiet. The most notable exceptions were the dangerous rip currents at the Jersey shore associated with the latter stages of Hurricanes Irma and Jose, which resulted in several drowning deaths and numerous water rescues. Minor to some moderate back-bay flooding and beach erosion accompanied the tumultuous surf, particularly between the 18th–21st. Otherwise, little more than some clouds and light rain reached NJ from these storms, while earlier some remnant energy and moisture from Hurricane Harvey brought one of the month’s few notable rain episodes. Dry conditions prevailed through much of the September, especially the second half. As a result, statewide precipitation averaged just 2.23”. This is 1.82” below the 1981–2010 average and was the 28th driest September since 1895.

While the first half of the month had an average temperature of about a degree below normal, September finished on a warm note. Some locations experienced three consecutive days with maximums of 90° or higher from the 23rd–25th. This backwards turn to warmth while the calendar suggested there should be a decline in temperature resulted in the month averaging 2.6° above the long-term mark. The 68.4° average made this the 10th warmest September on record. The last three Septembers and six since 2005 all fall into the top 10.

Gradual Seasonal Transition: November 2016 and Fall 2016 Recaps

December 8, 2016 - 1:51pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow photo

Much like the entire fall season, the transition into the cold half of the year was in no great hurry in November. Leaves dropped from ten days to two weeks later than normal, but eventually by the 28th the temperature fell to the freezing mark at West Cape May (Cape May County) and Newark Airport (Essex), these being the last locations in the state to experience their first freeze. A major exception to the slowly-transitioning pattern was the moderate high-elevation snowfall the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Drought conditions continued to be worrisome across the state, even spreading southwards. However, back-to-back heavy rainfall events on the 29th and 30th provided some replenishment to thirsty soils and began adding water to surface reservoirs across central and northern counties. It will be interesting to see if the atmospheric pattern change that delivered the late-month soakings is fleeting or will be longer lasting. Monthly precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 2.48” across NJ. This is 1.13” below the 1981–2010 average and is the 43rd driest November since 1895. It is worth noting that most of the National Weather Service stations that go into determining this average report in the morning. Thus the rain that fell later on the 30th is not factored into the monthly average; rather, it will be part of the December total. Snowfall averaged 0.4” for NJ but broken into regions amounted to 1.3” in the north, 0.1” central, and 0” south. The statewide total is average for Novembers between 1981–2010 but 0.7” below the 1894–present average.

Summer is Slow to End: September 2016 Recap

October 5, 2016 - 4:25pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunrise photo

Summer warmth continued into September, only beginning to relinquish its grip on the Garden State during the last week of the month. The average statewide monthly temperature of 70.1° was 4.3° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 4th warmest September going back to 1895, with five of the eight warmest Septembers occurring since 2005. Seven of the most recent 13 months have ranked in the top 10 for warmth in their respective months.

Monthly rainfall averaged 3.36” across the state, which is 0.69” below average and ranks as the 61st driest of the past 122 Septembers. However, as discussed below, the average this month does not show the wide disparity of rainfall between the northern and southern parts of the state. While concerns for persistent dry conditions continued increasing across most of NJ through mid September, two soakings in the south alleviated worries in this region. Meanwhile, only one event of note produced totals exceeding an inch in much of the north, thus this region remains much too dry. As of the 27th, a good deal of north and central NJ was considered in moderate drought, with the remainder deemed abnormally dry according to the US Drought Monitor. North Jersey remained under a NJ Department of Environmental Protection “drought watch."

Unseasonably Mild and Dry: November and Fall 2015 Recaps

December 4, 2015 - 4:11pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunset picture

The climatological fall season ended on a mild note, with the statewide November average temperature of 49.3° coming in at 3.7° above normal. This ranks as the 5th mildest November on record, tied with 1948. Observations go back 121 years to 1895, yet five of the nine warmest Novembers have occurred since 2001. The month had an abundance of sunny days, during what is commonly a rather cloudy time of the year. Precipitation averaged 2.33” across NJ, which is 1.31” below normal and ranks as the 41st driest November. Only two significant rain events occurred during the mid-month interval.

On Average, Rather Average, Bookended by Stormy Conditions: October 2015 Recap

November 6, 2015 - 4:58pm -- Dave Robinson

Waves picture

There were many sides to New Jersey’s October 2015 weather, however, when temperature and rainfall observations were averaged, conditions were quite close to long-term (1981–2010) means. The statewide average temperature of 54.4° was 0.4° below normal. This ranked as the 53rd coolest since 1895 (121 years). Precipitation averaged 4.17", which is 0.24" above normal and ranks as 44th wettest. October was bookended by events that dumped the vast majority of the month’s precipitation, with an extended period of very dry weather in between. This led to a continuation of moderate drought in the northeast, with nearby areas remaining abnormally dry. The late-month rain, which for the first time in many months was heaviest over the driest areas, staved off the need for any further drought deterioration, at least for the time being. The major weather event of the month extended over the first five days, when incessant onshore winds generated the worst beach erosion and back bay flooding since Sandy three years ago, though not nearly in the same ballpark of what Sandy wrought.

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