A Slow Green Up: April 2018 Summary

May 4, 2018 - 2:17pm -- Dave Robinson

Flash flooding photo

If you think it has been a long time since New Jersey experienced as chilly an April as this past one, you are correct. With snow accumulating in a storm on the 2nd to snow showers on the 30th, one was hard pressed to find many days when pleasant spring conditions could be found. Toss in two mid-month days when temperatures soared into the middle 80°s and another with strong thunderstorms delivering flash flood-producing rains, and weather-oriented heads kept spinning. However, overall, it was the persistent chill that captured the most attention, with the green up of lawns and foliage, accompanied by the blossoming of spring flowers, delayed from normal by upwards of two weeks.

Statewide, the April average temperature of 47.7° was 3.2° below the 1981–2010 mean (2.0° below the 1895–2017 mean). This ranks as the 28th coolest April since 1895 and the chilliest since 1982 (also 47.7°). The highest temperature observed in NJ was 87° at Stewartsville (Warren County) on the 14th and the coldest 16° at Walpack (Sussex) on the 11th.

April precipitation across NJ averaged 4.20”. This was 0.21” above the 1981–2010 mean (0.48” above the period-of-record mean). This was the 38th wettest April on record. Plentiful precipitation since February has eliminated drought concerns as we enter the summer water consumption season. Reservoirs and ground water levels are in good shape. However, this never means we should let our guard down and not use water in a responsible manner.

The Lion Roared All Month Long: March 2018 Summary

April 7, 2018 - 3:04pm -- Dave Robinson

While the first and last few days of the month came in disguised as a lamb, March 2018 was a roaring lion on many occasions. Three nor’easters pounded New Jersey, with a fourth grazing the state, turning more of its wrath on southeastern New England. In true nor’easter fashion, the storms brought minor to moderate coastal flooding, significant beach erosion, powerful winds, heavy rain, and record- to near-record-breaking snowfall. This led to two of the larger power outages since Sandy in 2012, numerous traffic accidents, significant tree damage, frequent school closings, and even someone being injured by lightning during a snowstorm.

Since When Did February Become March?: February 2018 Summary and Winter 2017/2018 Recap

March 6, 2018 - 5:11pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow photo

While the title of this report is guilty of some exaggeration, by just looking at the temperatures across New Jersey the past two Februaries you would not be far off the mark. The mildest February by far occurred in 2017 (40.4°), while this past February 2018 came in second mildest at 39.2°, just edging out 1998. This was 5.8° above the 1981–2010 mean and an impressive 8.3° above the 1895–present mean. The difference between mean periods further illustrates how Februaries in recent decades have been milder overall than earlier in the 20th century. So does the fact that February 2018 was milder than 62 of the past 123 Marches (February 2017 was milder than 70 Marches).

Not to be ignored due to February’s warmth, monthly precipitation certainly delivered in an impressive manner. The average statewide rainfall of 5.97” ranks as the third wettest on record. This is 3.17” above the 1981–2010 mean (2.87” above the period of record mean) and is the wettest February in well over 100 years.

Bitter Cold, a Blizzard, and a Thaw: January 2018 Summary

February 5, 2018 - 5:06pm -- Dave Robinson

Great Falls frozen

The first month of 2018 was replete with cold, warmth, snow, rain, and stretches of dry weather. First came an impressive episode of subfreezing conditions that began in late December and extended into the second week of January. This interval included a storm that brought over 10” of snow and blizzard conditions to coastal counties. Next was a heavy rain event accompanied by much warmer air, then later in the month, several scattered rain and snow episodes interspersed with dry conditions and some 60° warmth. Something for most everyone, I suppose you could say!

The statewide January mean temperature was 29.2°. This is 1.5° below the 1981–2010 mean and ranks as the 55th coldest January of the 124 since 1895. It was the coldest January since 2015. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) across NJ averaged 2.69”, which is 0.71” below average for the month. This was the 39th driest on record and the lowest total since 2010. January snowfall across the state averaged 8.3”, which was 1.1” above average. Northern counties averaged 7.9” (-1.4”), central ones 6.9” (-1.0”), and the south on top with 9.2” (+3.4”). Through January, this snow season has brought an average of 17.0” (+4.1”) to New Jersey, with the north at 16.6” (-0.8”), central 14.7” (+0.3”), and south 17.0” (+4.1”).

An Early Winter Sampler: December 2017 Recap and Annual Summary, including the Top 10 Events of 2017

January 3, 2018 - 4:09pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow-covered lagoon

The last month of 2017 was similar to many a month this past year. Whatever the season, weather conditions varied quite a bit from week to week. This was mainly due to an absence of atmospheric blocking in the middle and high latitudes with patterns that can lock a particular weather situation in place for multiple weeks. Thus in December we had a mild week, a snowy week, and a very cold week interspersed with transitional conditions. The one largely absent factor was precipitation, which resulted in the 10th driest December across NJ since records were established in 1895. The 1.57” of rain and melted snowfall was 2.28” below the 1981–2010 average. Snowfall averaged 8.7”, which is 3.9” above average and ranks as the 25th snowiest December on record. It was the snowiest since 2010. North Jersey averaged 8.7” (+2.1”), central areas 7.8” (+2.3”), and the south 9.1” (+4.9”). Temperatures seesawed from week to week, with the monthly statewide average of 33.6° being 1.6° below the 1981–2010 average. This ranked as the 61st coldest or 63rd mildest December on record.

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.

It’s Not Easy Staying Green: August and Summer 2017 Summaries

September 7, 2017 - 4:49pm -- Dave Robinson


Despite July and August typically being the wettest months of the year in New Jersey, their warmth usually results in evaporation rates exceeding rainfall. Thus, when heat ensues and rain is light for a few weeks—not uncommon in a Jersey summer—lawns, gardens, and fields require considerable irrigation to avoid wilting or browning. Such was not the case this past August and earlier in the summer, as rain was ample and quite timely in most areas and hot temperatures did not prevail for extended periods. More will be reported for the summer as a whole later in this report. For August in particular, the average of 5.06” of rain that fell across NJ was 0.96” above the 1981–2010 average. It ranked as the 41st wettest August since 1895 and the wettest since record wet conditions in 2011.

The average statewide August temperature of 71.7° was 1.3° cooler than the 1981–2010 average (tied with 1926, 1952, and 1985). It was 5.1° cooler than last year’s record warm August. Since 1895, there have been 57 cooler Augusts and 62 that were warmer, which reflects the fact that this year was only 0.2° cooler than the 1895–2017 average. Yes, Augusts have generally warmed in recent decades.

Rainfall Corridors: July 2017 Summary

August 4, 2017 - 4:20pm -- Dave Robinson

Valley fog photo

July 2017 proved to be an active month of weather throughout the Garden State. Time and time again, storms traversed the state, often depositing the heaviest rainfall in 30–40 mile west-to-east “corridors,” while elsewhere totals were much lighter. Such is the nature of showery summer rainfall, although in one case, the swath of heavy rainfall was associated with an out-of-season coastal storm. When all was said and done, rainfall occurred frequently enough to leave most locations with average to well above average monthly totals. The statewide average July rainfall was 6.33”. This is 1.76” above the 1981–2010 average and ranks as the 19th wettest July of the past 123 years. Last year with 6.97” (ranking 13th) and 2004 with 7.51” (ranking 8th) were the most recent Julys to be wetter than this year. The statewide average temperature of 75.5° was 0.9° above average. This ranks as the 22nd warmest July on record. There have been nine warmer Julys since 2002, including last year at 77.1° (ranking 7th).


Subscribe to RSS - News