Fall Freeze

A Transition Month for Sure: October 2020 Recap

November 5, 2020 - 1:52pm -- Dave Robinson

Dew spider web on the morning of October 14th in Sussex County

As the warmth of summer transitions to the cold of winter, New Jersey weather conditions can vary markedly from week to week. Such was the case during October 2020, with abundant precipitation occurring from the remnants of two hurricanes, an episode of measurable snow in the north, several weeks of quite dry conditions, a number of comfortably warm days, and the first frost and freeze of the season for many locations. Put this all together and October proved to be milder and wetter than normal. The statewide monthly average temperature of 57.2° was 2.7° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 18th mildest (tied with 1963 and 1931) over the 126 years extending back to 1895. Southern areas were warmer than northern ones in terms of actual temperature and departure from normal. The 58.8° average in the south was 3.2° above normal and ranked 15th warmest. The north averaged 54.4°, which was 2.0° on the plus side and ranking 27th mildest.

It took a wet final week of the month to push precipitation totals to the plus side of normal. The 5.15” statewide monthly average was 1.26” above normal and ranked as the 24th wettest on record. Somewhat like temperatures, there was north-south disparity. The south averaged 5.36”, which is 1.73” above normal and ranks 20th wettest. The north averaged 4.64”, which is 0.33” above normal and ranks 36th wettest. Dry conditions prevailed, most notably in the northwest, with coastal reaches wettest. Snow fell in the north on the 30th and will be discussed below.

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.

Growing Season Is Over for the Entire State

November 12, 2018 - 12:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Frost photo

With today’s (11/12) minimum temperature at West Cape May (Cape May County) and Lower Alloways Creek Township (Salem) falling to 30° and 32°, respectively, the growing season has ended across the Garden State. The growing season is considered to be the count of days between the last freeze of the spring and the first freeze of the fall (counting neither of those freezing days). This made for a 214 day growing season at West Cape May, while the Lower Alloways Creek Township weather station was just installed in July, thus a seasonal number is unavailable. These first freezes were preceded by a day at the Atlantic City Mariana (Atlantic) and Harvey Cedars (Ocean), which fell to 32° and 31°, respectively, on the 11th. Based on observations from these Rutgers NJ Weather Network stations (the 62 stations upon which the growing season is determined), these two locations had NJ’s longest growing seasons. The Marina saw its last spring freeze on March 22nd, giving it a 233 day season. Harvey Cedars last froze on April 2nd, thus ended with a 222 day season.

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.

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.

A Cool Damp Month, and All Things Considered, a Rather Average Season: November and Fall 2014 Recap

December 7, 2014 - 7:32pm -- Dave Robinson

Wantage snow Nov 27

While cooler conditions took some time to arrive in New Jersey this fall, once here they locked in for the most part, as the November average temperature of 41.9° was 3.7° below the 1981-2010 average. This ranks as the 24th coolest November of the past 120 years. November precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 4.58" across the state. This is 0.94" above average and ranks as 31st wettest. On two occasions measurable snow was reported in northern and central areas, with these regions, respectively, picking up 4.6" and 1.9" on average for the month, with over a foot accumulating at higher elevations. Despite no snow accumulating in the south, the statewide average was 1.7", which is 1.3" above average. It is only the second November to average above an inch since 1995, the other in 2012. A Thanksgiving eve storm delivered a white Thanksgiving to central and northern counties.

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