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.

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.

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”.

Lambs and Lions: March 2019 Summary

April 5, 2019 - 5:07pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow photo

Much like last month, March 2019 had a wide variety of weather conditions across the Garden State. The month came in like a lion, with a week of wintry weather, which was particularly snowy in northern and central regions. More snow fell than in any other month this season and the temperature fell below zero in one location and down to single digits at a number of others. The remainder of the month was often lamb-like, including four days with high temperatures exceeding 70° at many locations and six in the 60°s. Several inch-plus rain events occurred, along with the first lightning-filled squall line of the year, which, in some locations, included hail and strong winds.

The statewide monthly temperature averaged 39.7°. This is 1.1° below the 1981–2010 average and is the 58th mildest (66th coolest) since 1895. The statewide average rain and melted snow totaled 3.91”. This is 0.20” below the 1981–2010 average. It was the 61st wettest (65th driest) March since 1895.

Statewide snowfall averaged 6.3”. This was 1.9” above average. Northern counties averaged 13.0” (6.7” above average), the central region 8.6” (+3.5”), and south 1.6” (-1.5”). As a preview of the seasonal snow summary in next month’s report, statewide snowfall through March is 20.5”, 5.0” below average. Barring the unlikely case of April snowfall exceeding any other month of the season, this will mark the first time since records began in 1895 that March was NJ’s snowiest month of the season for three consecutive snow seasons (October–April).

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That: February and Winter 2019 Recaps

March 5, 2019 - 8:23pm -- Dave Robinson

Tree felled by wind

The second month of 2019 across New Jersey was not one that will leave an indelible mark in the memory bank. Unlike some of the wild conditions that afflicted many other parts of the nation, NJ precipitation events were only minor to moderate, and there was nothing in the way of stream and river flooding. On several occasions, cold and warmth came and went rather quickly. There were no coastal storms, thus no significant tidal flooding or beach erosion. While there was one notable wind event, overall, rather calm conditions prevailed.

The statewide average precipitation (rain and melted snow) was 3.27”. This is 0.47” above the 1981–2010 average and ranks as the 47th wettest February since 1895. The statewide average temperature of 34.8° was 1.3° above average, and ranks as the 26th mildest February of the past 125 years.

Ambivalence: January 2019 Summary

February 7, 2019 - 5:19pm -- Dave Robinson

Marcal paper plan fire aftermath

If there was one thing the weather of January did not possess, it was a consistent identity. Though one might say that conditions during the first month of 2019 were consistently inconsistent, oftentimes with rapid transitions. Yet when all was said and done, conditions did not average too much from the long term norm. Statewide, the average temperature of 31.9° was just 1.2° above the 1981–2010 mean and ranks as the 35th mildest since 1895. This included two days where the thermometer topped 60° in a few locations and four days with some places falling below zero. Rain and melted snow totaled 4.39” on average, which was 0.99” above average. This ranks as the 28th wettest January on record. Four events brought more than an inch of liquid to some locations, yet there was a two-week stretch without such an abundant total.

Snowfall averaged 3.8”, which is 3.4” below normal and ranked as the 44th least snowy January dating back to 1895. There was one somewhat notable snow event in the south and two in the northwest, though there were no “blockbuster” winter storms. Central and northeastern areas were almost shut out for the month in the snow department, and for that matter, mostly devoid of snow since the unseasonable event of November 15. For instance, Newark (Essex County) received just 0.9” and New Brunswick (Middlesex) 0.8”, the least in January for each station since 2008. For the month, snowfall over the north division averaged 5.8” (-3.5”), central 1.8” (-6.1”), and south 3.8” (-2.0”). For the season thus far, NJ has averaged 8.9” (-3.9”), the north division 13.7” (-3.5”), central 6.6” (-7.7”), and south 7.5” (-2.5”).

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.


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