Scorching: June 2024 and January–June Recaps

July 7, 2024 - 2:17pm -- Dave Robinson

Photo of a rain shaft over lower Greenwood Lake (Passaic County) taken from Hewitt on June 7th (photo courtesy of Rich Stewart).

Above-average temperatures ruled in June. So, what else is new? As will be seen later in this report, the first half of 2024 ranked as the second warmest since statewide records commenced in 1895. June 2024 was also the 7th consecutive month with temperatures above the 1991–2020 average and 10th of the last 12 in that category. June itself came in as New Jersey’s 2nd warmest, tied with 1943 and just behind 2010. Six of the 11 warmest have occurred since 2005. The 73.6° average was 3.3° above normal. The average high of 85.1° was 4.1° above normal, tied for the 2nd warmest, and the average low of 62.0° was 2.4° above normal, ranking 4th warmest. Each of the three NOAA state climate divisions had their 2nd warmest June. The north averaged 71.7° (+3.1°), south 74.8° (+3.4°), and coast 73.8° (+3.3°).

As often occurs during the warm season, the rainfall pattern was a mixed bag as the month progressed and also across the state on any given day. Overall, the state experienced a dry month, with the majority of the state considered Abnormally Dry (D0) in the last US Drought Monitor assessment of the month. With some rain falling after the June 30th approximate 7–8 AM observing time of most National Weather Service Cooperative and Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) stations, any daytime or evening rain is entered into the record book as falling on July 1st. Thus, the official map below does not include some of the heavy post-observing time heavy rain in Cape May County the morning of the 30th nor rain occurring elsewhere in the state later in the day. For the month, the state average 2.74”, which is 1.56” below normal and ranks 28th driest. The north averaged 2.23” (-2.38”, 13th driest), south 3.07” (-1.07”, 49th driest), and coast 2.84” (-1.01”, 51st driest).

A Little of This, a Little of That/Mild and Damp: May/Spring 2024 Recaps

June 7, 2024 - 5:08pm -- Dave Robinson

A rainbow (note a slight double rainbow) early on the evening of May 15th, looking east from Shawnee, PA, across the Delaware River with the NJ Kittatinny Ridge in the background (photo courtesy of Erin Daly).

As spring turns to summer, all in Jersey can be pleased that water supplies are in good shape. Also, while it took some time to become established, by late May, warmer temperatures brought out summer wardrobes. Spring (March–May) conditions will be covered later in this report, but first a look at May. As the title of the monthly portion of this narrative suggests, May 2024 never established a consistent atmospheric pattern. There were plenty of episodes where light to moderate showers dotted the state, but never a broad soaker. Temperatures fluctuated on a weekly basis, without a persistent leaning until warmth prevailed later in the month. Put it all together and May ended on a green note born of somewhat below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures. The statewide average temperature of 63.9° was 2.7° above the 1991–2020 normal. This ranks as the 11th mildest May dating back to 1895. This anomaly was driven by elevated minimum temperatures that averaged 54.0° which is 3.8° above normal and ranks as the 4th warmest on record. This no doubt due to persistent nighttime cloud cover. The average high temperature of 73.7° was 1.4° above normal, ranking 35th warmest. The northern climate division averaged 63.0° (+3.1°, 7th warmest). Across the southern division the average temperature was 64.5° (+2.3°, 13th warmest). The coastal division averaged 63.1° (+2.1°, 11th warmest).

In the End...Rather Normal: April 2024 Recap

May 7, 2024 - 7:32pm -- Dave Robinson

Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom at Branch Brook Park in Newark (Essex County) on April 10th. Photo by Tariq Zehawi/

You would never have guessed it by looking at most days, with some wet, some dry, some warm, some cold, but put it all together and a rather normal April temperature- and precipitation-wise emerged from quite a variety of days and weeks. This is often the case during a transitional month (mid-fall or mid-spring), but this month took it to a bit of an extreme. Toss in a partial solar eclipse and an earthquake and it was quite the month for all who enjoy observing our fascinating world and solar system.

April precipitation averaged 4.14” across New Jersey. This is 0.44” above the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 42nd wettest of records dating back to 1895. Generally, the north received more rain than the south. The north climate division averaged 4.59” (+0.69”, 40th wettest), south division 3.89” (+0.31”, 48th wettest), and coastal division 3.65” (+0.10”, 61st wettest).

The year-to-date precipitation (rain and melted frozen precipitation) is 19.86”. This is 5.61” above normal and ranks as the 5th wettest January–April period on record. The top total is 22.98” in 1983 and the second through four wettest occurred in 1979, 1958, and 1953. The past 12 months have seen a state average 56.98” of precipitation, which is the 6th wettest of all such May–April periods dating back to 1895.

The Lion Roars: March 2024 Recap

April 5, 2024 - 8:04pm -- Dave Robinson

Looking south from Island Beach State Park toward Long Beach Island and the Barnegat Lighthouse on March 20th (photo by Dave Robinson).

So much for March flipping from lion to lamb or vice versa. March 2024 was often a lion throughout, with frequent roaring winds and multiple rain events producing a near-record monthly precipitation total and occasional flooding. The first half of the month ran at a record-warm pace, the monthly average later to be tempered by a second half that was cooler than the first. Still, the month emerged as the 9th mildest on record. Befitting the overall mild conditions, snowfall was scarce to non-existent.

Winds gusted to 35 mph or higher at one or more Rutgers NJ Weather Network (NJWxNet) station on 16 days, exceeding 40 mph on 11 of those days. Precipitation (rain and the water equivalent of the very little snow that fell) averaged 7.76” across the state. This is 3.56” above the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the third wettest March since records commenced in 1895. The northwest was least wet with 6.00”–7.00” falling. Totals increased to the southeast where near coastal areas received 9.00”–10.00”. The northern climate division averaged 7.01” (+3.00, 6th wettest), the southern division 8.15” (+3.83”, 3rd wettest), and the coastal division 8.98” (+4.56, 2nd wettest).

The statewide average March temperature was 46.0°. This is 5.0° above normal and ranks as the 9th mildest of the past 130 years. The average high temperature of 55.6° was 4.7° above normal and ranks 10th mildest. The average low of 36.3° was 5.1° above normal and ranks 4th mildest. The northern division averaged 43.9° (+5.1°, 9th mildest), southern division 47.2° (+4.8°, 8th mildest), and coastal division 47.0° (+4.8°, 7th mildest).

Lost Winter: February 2024 & Winter 2023/2024 Recaps

March 7, 2024 - 5:34pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunset at Colonial Park in Franklin Township (Somerset County) on February 15th (photo by Dave Robinson).

Perhaps the title of this report is a bit overstated when it comes to February weather conditions, but not by all that much. However, like much of the coterminous United States, it applies rather appropriately to the December 2023–February 2024 winter. New Jersey’s winter conditions follow at the end of this report, with February discussed first.

February 2024 was on the dry side. In fact, the statewide average precipitation (rain and melted snow) of 1.55” was 1.31” below the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 12th driest since records began in 1895. The northern climate division averaged 1.68” (-1.11”, 12th driest), the southern division 1.47” (-1.42”, 10th driest), and the coastal division 1.44” (-1.63”, 7th driest).

February snowfall averaged 7.9” across NJ. This was just 0.3” below normal, ranking as the 51st snowiest since 1895. The North snow division averaged 12.4” (+2.1", 40th snowiest), Central 12.4" (+3.3", 36th snowiest), and South 3.2" (-3.5", 58th least snowy). The vast majority of the snow fell in two events four days apart, with mild temperatures that soon followed prohibiting the snow cover for sticking around for too long.

In fact, mild days outnumbered cold ones during February, leading to a monthly statewide average of 37.0°, which was 3.1° above normal and ranks as the 14th mildest on record. The statewide average daily high temperature of 46.3° was 3.2° above normal and ranks 16th mildest. The daily minimum of 27.8° was 3.2° above normal, ranking 9th mildest. The north averaged 34.9° (+3.6°, 12th mildest), south 38.3° (+2.8°, 16th mildest), and coast 38.4° (+2.4°, 16th mildest).

Take Your Pick: January 2024 Recap

February 6, 2024 - 8:52pm -- Dave Robinson

An ice-encased walkway and railings generated from spray from Great Falls (background) in Paterson (Passaic County) during the cold January outbreak (photo courtesy of Liz Reilly).

The first month of 2024 provided a potpourri of weather happenings, including excessive rainfall and flooding, multiple snowfalls, frequent strong winds, frigid days, occasional warmth, and culminating with persistent dismal (aka damp, cloudy) conditions. Something for anyone or perhaps not favored conditions for most people. Totaling up the multiple precipitation episodes, this month emerged as the 6th wettest January on record dating back to 1895. It was the wettest January in 25 years and follows this past December, which was the wettest on record. The statewide 6.39” of rain and melted snow was 2.90” above the 1991–2020 normal. The northern climate division averaged 6.70” (+3.20”, 5th wettest), the southern division 6.18” (+2.71”, 7th wettest), and the coastal division 6.48” (+2.97”, 6th wettest).

January snowfall averaged 7.0” across NJ. This is just 0.2” below normal and ranks as the 53rd snowiest January of the past 130 years. Snow divisions include the north, which averaged 8.9” (-0.5”, 52nd snowiest), central coming in with 5.9” (-1.8”, 65th snowiest), and south with 6.6” (+0.9”, 43rd snowiest).

Temperatures fluctuated throughout the month, ultimately averaging 34.7° statewide. This was 3.0° above normal and ranks as the 20th mildest January. The north averaged 32.3° (+3.4°, 17th mildest), south 36.1° (+2.7°, 22nd mildest), and coast 36.9° (+2.5°, 24th mildest). The statewide average maximum of 42.0° was 1.7° above normal, ranking as the 30th warmest. The statewide average minimum of 27.4° was 4.2° above normal, ranking 16th mildest.

The Wet Bandits Strike/Warmth with Precipitation Indecision: December/Annual 2023 Report

January 5, 2024 - 11:31am -- Dave Robinson

Flooding from the nearby Pompton River in Wayne (Passaic County) on December 19th, 2023. Photo by Julian Leshay/NJ Advance Media.

It was a wet December, of this there is no doubt. In fact, it was New Jersey’s wettest 12th month on record, dating back to 1895. On multiple occasions, rainfall arrived in multiple-inch increments, leading to episodes of minor to major stream and river flooding. Though hardly maliciously, Mother Nature certainly left the tap flowing far too long and often!

Monthly rainfall (with a little melted snowfall added to the mix in some locations) averaged 8.20” across the state (Figure 1). This was 3.93” above the 1991–2020 normal and was 0.33” above the previous wettest December in 1996 (Table 1). Precipitation averaged 8.51” (+4.26”, 3rd wettest) in the northern climate division (Hunterdon-Somerset-Union northward), 8.02” (+3.74”, 2nd wettest) over the southern division (Mercer-Middlesex-Monmouth mostly southward), and 7.88” (+3.52”, 2nd wettest) in the coastal division (generally east of the Garden State Parkway from Monmouth to Cape May).

ONJSC's Top 10 NJ Weather and Climate Events of 2023

January 2, 2024 - 3:06pm -- Dave Robinson

Wildfire smoke blankets downtown Paterson (Passaic County) on June 7th. Photo by Steve Hockstein/NJ Advance Media.

For the 15th consecutive year, we in the state climate office have evaluated the myriad daily, monthly, and annual observations gathered across New Jersey during the course of the year to choose what we feel were the most significant and impactful 10 weather and climate events of 2023. More about each event can be found in the monthly narratives posted on our website. You might be tempted to rearrange the rankings, particularly as some of the events on the list may have affected you more than others ranked higher. Or perhaps you best recall one that didn't make the list. That's the enjoyment and frustration of lists! Unless stated otherwise, statewide values are based on an average of several dozen stations. The period of record for monthly, seasonal, and annual departures is 1991–2020; while for extremes and rankings it is from 1895–present. Observations are mainly drawn from National Weather Service Cooperative Observing Program stations, Rutgers NJ Weather Network stations, and NJ Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network locations.

Waiting and Wondering/On Average: November/Fall 2023 Recaps

December 6, 2023 - 7:10pm -- Dave Robinson

Steam rising from the cooling tower at the Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lower Alloways Creek Township (Salem County) on the afternoon of November 11th.

The dry first three weeks of November kept everyone waiting and wondering if a record dry month might be at hand along with increasing drought concerns. To the rescue came two rain events on the 21st–22nd and 26th to bring the monthly average precipitation to a rather respectable total. The statewide average of 2.68” was 0.68” below normal, ranking 52nd driest of the past 129 Novembers. Unlike recent months, it was the coastal northern counties that were driest, while the central north was wettest. The northern division (Hunterdon-Somerset-Union counties northward) averaged 2.92” (-0.55”, 50th driest), the southern division (Mercer-Middlesex-Monmouth counties southward, except along the coast) 2.56” (-0.73”, 53rd driest), and the coastal division (roughly the Garden State Parkway to the coast) 2.24” (-1.10”, 42nd driest).

Snowflakes were seen in a few northern locations on the 1st, a dusting occurred at higher elevations at the start of the 21st–22nd rain event, and flurries and a few measurable dustings from squalls occurred on the 28th. Despite the scattered dustings, regionally and statewide records show an absence of accumulation. This is 0.5” below normal but has been seen in 52 of the previous 128 Novembers.

Tranquility: October 2023 Recap

November 6, 2023 - 9:14pm -- Dave Robinson

Fall colors surrounding Lake Wapalanne at the NJ School of Conservation on October 25th. The Sandyston (Sussex County) NJWxNet station sits nearby on school grounds. (Photo courtesy of Nick Stefano).

Foggy mornings, clear days, four modest rain events, and most locations yet registering a fall freeze. This all speaks to a rather quiet weather October, thus the title of this report. The rather dry conditions resulted in statewide monthly precipitation averaging just 2.16”. This was 2.03” below normal and ranked as the 32nd driest October since records commenced in 1895. Under an inch fell in the southwest, while only the northeast and northern coast saw totals close to or above normal. The northern climate division averaged 3.06” (-1.39”, 56th driest), southern division 1.57” (-2.46”, 17th driest), and coastal division 2.00” (-2.09”, 30th driest).

As a result of above-normal temperatures to begin and end the month, the statewide average temperature of 58.2° was 2.8° above normal, ranking 9th warmest (tied with 2019). Every other October since 2017 sits in the top 10. The northern division averaged 56.4° (+3.1°, 9th warmest), southern 59.2° (+2.7°, 12th warmest), and coastal 60.2° (+2.6°, 11th warmest).


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