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Summer Arrives: June Recap (with a brief look at the first half of 2020)

July 7, 2020 - 4:44pm -- Dave Robinson

Tree blown over from June 3rd derecho

The statewide average precipitation this June was 3.10”. This is 0.91” below the 1981–2010 average and ranks as the 43rd driest of the past 126 Junes. As is typical during the warm season, where the bulk of the rainfall is provided by showers and thunderstorms, totals varied widely from location to location, even at times in close proximity to one another. Monmouth and northern Ocean counties saw the most, totaling over 5.00” in spots, with a secondary maximum in Gloucester County. The Highlands, portions of central NJ, and southern Ocean and Cape May counties saw as little as 1.00–2.00”.

The statewide average temperature of 71.6° was 1.8° above the 1981–2010 normal. This ranks as the 10th warmest, joining four other years this century in the top 10, while being the warmest since 2011.

Endless Spring: May and Spring 2020 Recaps

June 7, 2020 - 6:34pm -- Dave Robinson

In recent years, many a comment has been heard that New Jersey just does not have a spring season any more. We go right from winter to summer weather, people say. The same cannot be said for spring 2020. A seasonal summary follows at the end of this report and the individual March and April reports can be found on the state climate office website. To begin here, the talk will be of May, a month that produced both less rain and cooler temperatures than normal and included an unusual appearance of snow.

The statewide average temperature of 58.9° was 1.7° below the 1981–2010 normal. This ranked as the 40th coolest May since records commenced in 1895. April and May marked the first time since December 2017–January 2018 that consecutive months had below-average temperatures. Statewide, May precipitation averaged 2.50”. This was 1.49” below normal and ranked as the 29th driest on record.

Blown Away: April 2020 Recap

May 5, 2020 - 10:23pm -- Dave Robinson

Gas station canopy collapse

If you have a sense that April was unusually windy, you are certainly not alone. While long-term wind observations are few across the Garden State and those available suffer from inconsistencies in instrumentation and location, seat-of-the-pants judgment tells us that plenty of air raced crossed the state throughout the month. In fact, the wind gusted to 40 mph or higher at one or more NJWxNet station on 12 days. Of those, seven had gusts from 50–59 mph and an impressive four gusted over 60 mph. The highest network gust of 76 mph occurred at Sea Girt (Monmouth County) on the 21st. There were also reports from other seemingly reliable stations of gusts as high as 82 mph at Island Beach State Park (Ocean) on the 13th.

April precipitation achieved a statewide average of 3.92”. This is 0.07” below the 1981–2010 mean, but given the skewness of the distribution of April rainfall over the past 126 years, it ranks as the 45th wettest. Despite Morris County stations having the highest monthly totals, overall, the north part of the state was driest. The mean of 3.66” was 0.54” below normal and is the 59th driest (68th wettest). The south averaged 4.07”, which is 0.21” above normal and is 40th wettest. The narrow coastal region averaged 4.16”, which is 0.33” above normal and ranks 39th wettest.

A Dud: 2019/2020 Snow Season Recap

April 28, 2020 - 6:14pm -- Dave Robinson

2019/20 season snowfall map

As we gradually transition into warmer spring temperatures, it’s a good time to recap what was a disappointing season for snow lovers, along with snowplow drivers, auto body repair people, and others who profit from snowy winters.

Seasonal snow totaled 4.7” averaged across the state. This is 19.2” below the 1981–2010 average and, looking back from the 1896/96 to 2018/19 snow seasons, is 21.4” below average. This ranks as the third least-snowy winter snow season, only behind the winters of 1972/73 and 1918/19.

Spring Ahead: March 2020 Recap

April 7, 2020 - 11:40am -- Dave Robinson

March 2020 was the 6th mildest in New Jersey dating back to 1895. Combined with mild rankings of 9th in January and 4th in February, 2020 has started off as the 2nd mildest on record at 5.8° above the 1981–2010 average. The 40.8° average only falls behind 2012’s 41.4°. Six of the ten mildest January–March intervals in the past 126 years have occurred since 2002.

March averaged 46.3° across NJ, which is 5.5° above average. The average maximum of 56.2° (+5.4°) ranked 7th mildest and the minimum of 36.4° (+5.6°) 2nd mildest. Anomalies were +5.8° in both the southern (47.9°) and coastal (47.7°) divisions, ranking 6th and 4th mildest, respectively, and +5.0° in the north (43.7°), ranking 9th mildest. As a result of the premature warmth, vegetation green up across the state was at least two weeks earlier than normal.

Exploring NJWxNet Solar Radiation Observations

March 20, 2020 - 11:52am -- Rohan Jain

Solar panels photo

Serving a wealth of potential user needs, solar radiation is one of the many variables observed at stations within the Rutgers NJ Weather Network (NJWxNet). Dating back as far as 2004, the original solar network of a half dozen stations has grown to the current 46. The solar instruments record incoming radiative fluxes in the 0.36 to 1.12 micron range. A myriad of products stem from observations, intially gathered once each hour and, since mid-2012, every five minutes. These include radiation maximums, averages, minimums (W/m²), and totals (kJ/m²), at five minute, hourly, and daily time scales.

Solar data gathered at NJWxNet sites help promote an understanding of the relationship between solar radiation and terrestrial systems involving the heating of the surface and atmosphere, plant growth, human health, and energy generation. Atmospheric conditions influence the magnitude of irradiance reaching the surface, with variables such as cloud cover, humidity, and aerosols (minute natural and human-generated liquid or solid particles) influencing incoming radiation. Prior to the advent of the NJWxNet, solar radiation observations across the Garden State were few in number and most often not of a continuous long-term nature. This was the case elsewhere in the US prior to the recent establishment of mesonets, such as the NJWxNet, in many states.

More Like Virginia: February 2020 and Winter 2019/20 Recaps

March 3, 2020 - 10:57pm -- Dave Robinson

Controlled burn smoke photo

Following on the heels of the 8th mildest January on record, February 2020 entered the books as the 3rd mildest since records began in 1895. The 39.2° average was 5.7° above the 1981–2010 mean. The northern climate division of the state averaged 36.2° (+5.2°; 6th mildest), the south was 41.0° (+6.1°; 3rd mildest), and the coastal division was 41.2° (+5.7°; 3rd mildest). Average minimum temperatures ranked 2nd mildest for the state, while average maximums ranked 8th mildest. To place February 2020 in some perspective, it was just 1.6° below the 1981–2010 March average of 40.8° and only 0.2° below the longer 1895–2019 March average. It was close to the long-term (1981–2010) average February temperatures in Washington, DC, Paducah, KY, and Bristol, TN.

February precipitation (rain and melted snow) came in very close to the 1981–2010 average at 2.82”. This is just 0.02” above average and ranks as the 62nd driest (and 65th wettest) of the past 126 years. Divisional totals ranged from 2.48” (-0.34”, 49th driest) in the north, 2.99” (+0.21”, 60th wettest) in the south, and 3.37” (+0.48”, 51st wettest) at the coast.

Where is Winter?: January 2020 Recap

February 4, 2020 - 2:01pm -- Dave Robinson

Boardwalk photo

The new decade got off on a rather unwintry note, with January temperatures well above average, snow rarely falling, and just one significant storm that brought only rain. The statewide average temperature of 37.3° was 6.6° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 8th mildest January (tied with 1933) since records commenced in 1895. Anomalies and rankings were quite similar across the state. January 2020 was milder than December 2019 by 1.0°. The last time this climatological flip occurred was in December 2005/January 2006. Most notably, January 11th and 12th saw record daily temperatures in the upper 60°s to as high as 70°.

Precipitation fell mostly in the form of rain and mainly on the 25th. The monthly average across NJ was 2.38”. This is 1.02” below the mean and ranks as the 26th driest. The north was 1.27” below average, the south -0.84”, and the coast -1.12”, with all divisional totals between 2.14”–2.55”.

Winter Arrives Up North, Not So Much in the South, and Another Mild and Wet Year: December and 2019 Annual Recaps, Including Top 10 Events

January 7, 2020 - 5:22pm -- Dave Robinson

Freezing rain photo

There were multiple faces to December weather around the Garden State. Regionally, the north received above-average snowfall, several episodes of freezing rain, and over two weeks of snow cover, particularly at higher elevations. Central and southern areas saw less snow than average and temperatures a little milder than normal compared to up north. There was also a notable difference between the first and second halves of the month, with the first being stormy and the second having just one storm.

Despite a wintry start to the month, the statewide average temperature of 36.3° was 1.1° above the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 29th mildest since 1895 (tied with 2016). The north portion of the state averaged 33.1° (+0.4°), the south 38.2° (+1.6°), and the coast 39.4° (+1.7°). Despite a rather dry second half, the 5.56” of rain and melted snowfall averaged across the state was 1.71” above average, ranking as the 19th wettest (tied with 2012). The coast was wettest, averaging 6.09” (+2.33”), followed by the south with 5.60” (+1.81”), and then the north with 5.44” (+1.49”). Snowfall averaged 3.2”, which was 1.6” below average. The north came in with 8.0”, or 1.4” more than average, while the central area had 3.4” (-2.0”) and the south 0.5” (-3.1”).

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.

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