Fall

It’s Been A While: November 2021; A Common Theme: Fall 2021 Recap

December 7, 2021 - 4:32pm -- Dave Robinson

The season’s first measurable snow at High Point on November 15th. Photo courtesy of N. Stefano.

November was the first month since May 2020 with both averages of precipitation and temperature below 1991–2020 normals. The last drier-than-normal month was this past June while the last cooler-than-normal month was this past May. However, it’s been a while, 19 months, since the two anomalies teamed up. And dry it was, with the statewide average of 1.06” running 2.29” below normal. This ranks as the 7th driest November since records commenced in 1895. Only two other Novembers since 1936 fall in the top 10.

The statewide average November temperature of 43.9° was 1.2° below the 1991–2020 normal and ranked as the 73rd coolest of the past 127 years. This was 17.2° cooler than the mild average of this past October. The normal difference between the months is 10.2°. The average maximum was 54.5° (-0.2°, 84th coolest) and the average minimum was 33.2° (-2.3°, 47th coolest). The north averaged 41.9° (-1.2°, 74th coolest), the south 44.9° (-1.4°, 68th coolest), and the coast 46.0° (-1.3°, 70th coolest). The first Rutgers NJWxNet or NWS Cooperative station to reach the freezing point this season was Pequest (Warren County), late on the 2nd. This was the latest first freeze in NJ since at least 1900 (based on Coop records). The last location to reach freezing was West Cape May (Cape May) on the 28th, on the late side but not unusually so.

A Slow Crawl into Fall: October 2021 Recap

November 8, 2021 - 5:43pm -- Dave Robinson

Colorful foliage surrounding Lake Hopatcong (Sussex County) on October 31st, bringing a tranquil close to a turbulent end of October. Photo courtesy of Kelly Wallis.

October was the second mildest on record in the Garden State since records commenced in 1895. This follows on the heels of the 11th warmest September, leaving most residents wondering when cool weather would arrive and leaves would turn and fall. For the first time since at least 1900, not a single weather observing station in New Jersey recorded a freezing low temperature on any day in either September or, as is climatologically most common, October. All of this resulted in a leaf season that was delayed by one to two weeks.

The statewide average October temperature of 61.1° was 5.7° above the 1991–2020 normal, a mark only surpassed in 2007. The average daily maximum of 70.1° (+4.3°) ranked 5th mildest (tied with 1920), and the average minimum of 52.0° (+7.1°) tied with 2007 as the mildest. These temperatures are close to what Norfolk, Virginia, normally experiences in October. In fact, despite the mean temperature normally declining 11.5° from September to October, this year’s mean was warmer than four previous Septembers since 1895 and the minimum was milder than 14 earlier Septembers. The state’s three climate divisions all ranked second mildest, with the north at 59.0° (+5.7°), south 62.3° (+5.8°), and coastal 63.2° (+5.6°).

Unprecedented: September 2021 Recap

October 11, 2021 - 4:38pm -- Dave Robinson

A flooded TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater (Somerset County) on September 2nd following the staggering rainfall caused by the remnants of Ida. Photo by Thomas P. Costello and Tariq Zehawi/USA Today Network.

Post-tropical storm Ida. The title of this month’s report speaks to this momentous weather extreme that will forever be the defining event of this month and likely the entire year. The storm delivered the most powerful tornado to strike the Garden State since 1990, demolishing multiple homes in Gloucester County. Rainfall exceeding 3.00” per hour led to the most widespread flash flood event on record for the state, resulting in the tragic deaths of 30 individuals in central and northeastern locales. A separate report on Ida has been prepared and may be accessed in the "News" menu.

There were 29 other days of weather this month that fortunately were not as dramatic as Ida on the 1st. All told, monthly precipitation averaged 6.20” across NJ. This was 2.04” above the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 15th wettest September since 1895. The north, where the bulk of Ida’s rain fell, averaged 8.92”, which was 4.46” above normal and ranks 7th wettest. The south averaged 4.61”, which was 0.62” above normal and ties as the 31st wettest. Along the coast, only 3.81” fell, some 0.08” below normal and ranking 44th wettest.

Up and Down But in the End Quite Average: September 2020 Recap

October 6, 2020 - 1:08pm -- Dave Robinson

Smokey sunset on September 15th

September 2020 was a month of widely-varying temperatures, several episodes of heavy precipitation, and an extended dry spell. Put it all together and conditions averaged quite close to normal. The statewide monthly average temperature of 66.8° was 1.0° above the 1981–2010 mean. While it was the seventh month of 2020 to average above normal, it was the first of these not to rank in the top 10 for warmth. Rather, it ranked 33rd warmest of the past 126 Septembers. Divisional departures from normal ranged from +0.7° in the north to +1.5° along the coast. The statewide average maximum temperature was 76.6°, which is 0.3° above normal and ranks 47th warmest. The average minimum of 56.9° was 1.6° on the warm side and ranked 24th mildest. High temperatures were likely reduced by several degrees during a mid-month period when a veil of smoke from western US forest fires blanketed the sky at an altitude of about 15,000 feet when skies otherwise would have been blue, especially on the 15th–16th. It is uncertain if this kept minimum temperatures somewhat warmer than they would otherwise have been. A cold front moved through from the northwest on the 18th, clearing the skies and sending temperatures plummeting. What followed was a four-day spell of temperatures that were well below average, including four nights with below-freezing temperatures at three to four Rutgers NJ Weather Network sites. While freezes resulting from cold air draining into valleys in some northern locations are not unprecedented before the end of astronomical summer, it is highly unusual for the cold to persist over four consecutive nights.

Cold and Dry (A Rarity of Late), and Quite the Transition Season: November and Fall 2019 Recaps

December 5, 2019 - 5:28pm -- Dave Robinson

Leaf bags

In what has been a monthly see-saw of an autumn in the precipitation department (more below), November totals were on the low side. The statewide average total of 1.83” was 1.78” below the 1981–2010 mean. This ranked as the 22nd driest November since 1895. The northern half of the state averaged 2.31”, which is 1.55” below normal and ranks 31st driest. The south was drier at 1.54”, which is 1.91” below normal and ties with 1991 as the 18th driest. Temperature-wise it was the coldest month compared to normal since last November and, along with March, only the second below average one since then. The statewide average temperature of 41.3° was 3.9° below normal and ranks as the 27th coldest (tied with 1920 and 1955) of the past 125 Novembers. The north average 38.9°, which is 4.2° below normal and ties with six other years as the 24th coolest. The south averaged 42.6°, which is 3.8° below normal and ties with 1954 and 1972 as 27th coolest. Of late, there have been warmer and drier months compared to the norm, such as this past September and colder and wetter months including this past March. However, the last time New Jersey experienced a noteworthy dry and cold month (of any month) was November 2012 when the statewide average temperature was 3.7° below average and the precipitation 2.31” below average.

So Much for a Flash Drought: October 2019 Recap

November 6, 2019 - 2:33pm -- Dave Robinson

As the 10th month of 2019 commenced, attention was on the continuing flash drought conditions across the Garden State. Lawns had gone brown and shallow rooted trees were losing their dull-colored leaves early. By the second week of the month, the US Drought Monitor showed all of NJ to be in either abnormally dry (D0) or moderate drought (D1) status (full disclosure: my recommendations are taken under consideration by the national author of each week’s map). Several rain episodes in the first half of the month, particularly in the north, began to stall any worsening of conditions. However, it wasn’t until the last half that five events deposited an inch or more, three of them with two inches or more, at a number of locations around the state. Thus by month’s end, only portions of southwest, southeast, and central NJ were rated D0, and the remainder, as we like to say, in “D nada.” This turn to storminess didn’t come without consequences. This included localized flash and small stream flooding on occasion, several episodes of strong winds, and some minor to moderate coastal flooding. More on all of this below, but first to further summarize the month. In the precipitation department, the statewide average was 5.79”. This is 1.90” above the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 15th wettest dating back to 1895. North Jersey came in with an average of 6.72”, some 2.41” above normal and ranking 10th wettest. In the south, the 5.28” average was 1.65” above normal and ranks as the 20th wettest.

As if the wet month was not newsworthy enough, the statewide monthly temperature of 58.0° tied with two other years as the 9th warmest back to 1895. This is 3.5° above normal, with northern and southern portions coming in at 3.2° and 3.8° above, respectively. The 2nd was arguably the hottest October day on record, thus also the warmest for so late in the season. Meanwhile, several locations experienced the first freeze of the season on the 4th or 5th, with a more widespread frost and freeze on the 19th. Still, the month ended with only 18 of the 63 NJWxNet stations having fallen to the freezing mark.

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.

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