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.

Frequently Wet: May and Spring 2019 Recaps

June 5, 2019 - 11:08pm -- Dave Robinson

Stanhope tornado damage

As was seen earlier this spring, rainfall was quite persistent during a good portion of May. However, unlike April, it was not just a matter of frequency but ultimately, quantity that made for soggy conditions in the fifth month of 2019. The statewide average precipitation was 6.70”, which is 2.71” above the 1981–2010 mean. This made for the 9th wettest May since records commenced in 1895. The northern half of NJ was wettest, averaging 8.69” (+4.35”), making it the 3rd wettest on record. Only May 1989 (10.13”) and 1984 (9.79”) saw more rain. The south averaged 5.52” (+1.72”), ranking 17th wettest.

Based on observations from 62 NJWxNet stations, there were only two calendar days (22nd and 25th) without measurable (0.01”) rainfall at any location. Three days saw a maximum of 0.01”–0.10” at one or more stations, nine with a maximum between 0.11”–0.25”, and eleven topping out from 0.26”–0.99”, while on six days one or more station received an inch or greater.

The wet conditions were accompanied by above average temperatures. The 62.7° statewide average was 2.1° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranked as the 19th mildest May on record (tied with 1985). However, it is only the 8th warmest May since 2004. Ten of the past 12 months have been above average.

A Real Spring: April 2019 Summary

May 6, 2019 - 2:34pm -- Dave Robinson

In recent years, complaints have been voiced that New Jersey “never” has a real spring anymore. Now just what is meant by that comes into question, as some think spring should most often have sunny 70° days with a few April showers included now and again! However, the main point has been that in recent years NJ has seemingly gone right from winter to summer. Whether it was a cold March and record mild April in 2017 or a snowy March and chilly April 2018 followed by the 4th warmest May, the transition has been rapid. This year, despite April being quite mild, conditions did include a mix of chilly and warm spells, sunny and dreary days, and even some nasty spring thunderstorms and gusty winds. Vegetation greened up a week or so ahead of schedule, and with it there was far more pollen dispersed than many appreciated. However, the green up was not so early that there was a great threat from a late-season freeze. Though on the 29th, the blueberry crop closely escaped damage from a light frost and freeze during a vulnerable growth period.

Statewide, it was the 4th mildest April since records commenced in 1895. The 54.7° average was 3.8° above the 1981–2010 mean and ranked 4th mildest. Six of the top ten and nine of the top 20 mildest Aprils have occurred since 2002. The average daily minimum temperature ranked 3rd highest and average maximum 10th.

Precipitation was about as average as can be. The statewide average of 3.95” was 0.04” below the 1981–2010 average and 0.22” wetter than the 1895–present average. It was the 43rd wettest April of the past 125 years, once again demonstrating how monthly precipitation totals tend to be skewed below the mean.

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).

Warm and Wet May, and an Action Packed Spring: May 2018 Summary and Spring Recap

June 5, 2018 - 5:16pm -- Dave Robinson

Tree on house

After April timidly transitioned into milder weather, May was plenty bold in the thermal department, on multiple occasions behaving more like summer than late spring. Most NJ residents did not seem to mind the warmth; rather, from the second week onward, it was the frequent episodes of rain, often targeting weekends, which raised the level of crankiness among many! Statewide, this was the 5th warmest May since records commenced in 1895. The 65.0° average was 4.5° above the 1981–2010 mean. Five of the ten warmest Mays have occurred since 2004. In most locations, rain fell on at least half of the days of the month. The 5.96” average across NJ was 1.97” above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 13th wettest May on record, but 0.55” below last year’s average.

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.

Record Warmth Returns: April 2017 Recap

May 5, 2017 - 2:19pm -- Dave Robinson

Cherry blossom photo

Following a March with the first substantially below-average monthly temperature anomaly in NJ in over a year, April brought a return to record warmth last seen in February. With a statewide average of 56.0°, the month was 5.1° above the 1981–2010 mean. This ranked as the warmest April since statewide records commenced in 1895. Five of the top 10 and nine of the top 20 mildest Aprils of the past 123 years have occurred since 2002. With the warmth of January, February, and April hardly balanced by the colder March, this year is off to the 4th warmest start on record. Only January–April averages in 2012, 1998, and 2002 were higher, and five of the eight mildest such intervals in the past 123 years have been since 2002. The 12-month period from May 2016 through April 2017 was the third warmest on record at 55.5°. It was only surpassed by May 2011–April 2012 (56.5°) and 2015–2016 (56.2°). Twelve of the 15 warmest such intervals of the past 123 years have occurred since 1999, the others being in 1931–1932 (#10), 1990–1991 (#11), and 1991–1992 (#14).

Long Winded: March 2017 Recap

April 4, 2017 - 4:15pm -- Dave Robinson

Damaged Magnolia

With the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere transitioning from winter to spring, March can be a month of frequently-changing weather with pronounced pressure gradients, thus punctuated by windy conditions. This past March was no exception, and in fact, a windier month would be difficult to find. Winds gusted to 50 mph or greater at one or more NJWxNet station on 11 days and between 40–49 mph on four other days. At most locations, the warmest daily average temperature of the month was, of all things, on March 1st, while the first 80° day of the year was on the 25th. In between those warm spells was the largest snowstorm of the year in central and northern locations and two weeks of some of the coldest weather of the winter. Finally, March went out like a lion, with a statewide soaking rainstorm on the 31st.

The statewide monthly average temperature of 38.9° was 1.9° below the 1981–2010 average. This ranks as the 61st coldest of the past 123 Marches. It was the first month with a below-average temperature since last May, which was only 0.3° below average and last April with a 0.1° negative anomaly. While not exceptionally cold, due to the record warm February average of 40.1°, this was only the third time on record when March was colder than the previous February. This occurred previously in 1984 and 1960. The 1960 occurrence was mainly due to March being the second coldest on record, while in 1984, February was 9th mildest and March 10th coolest. On average, March is 7.3° warmer than February. While the cold of March damaged blossoms of some prematurely-blooming trees and flowers, vegetation was not far enough along to result in significant problems.

A Tale of Multiple Seasons Within a Month and an Almost Backward Spring: May and Spring 2016 Recaps

June 7, 2016 - 4:54pm -- Dave Robinson

May 15 graupel photo

May had many weather faces. Cool, damp weeks to start things off, a blustery mid-month day with some frozen precipitation, a week of summer heat, and an early Memorial Day deluge up the New Jersey Turnpike corridor. When all was summed and averaged, the mean monthly statewide temperature came in at 60.0°. This was 0.8° below normal and ranked as the 55th coolest of the past 122 Mays. Precipitation averaged 5.01”, which is 1.01” above average and 23rd wettest.

Rain fell on a number of May days across NJ, keeping vegetation green and fire danger down. It was most plentiful in the southern half of the state, where Mount Laurel Township (Burlington County) totaled 7.74”. This was followed by Mount Ephraim (Camden) with 7.68”, Washington Township (Gloucester) 7.54”, Salem (Salem) 7.41”, Cinnaminson (Burlington) 7.02”, and Estell Manor (Atlantic) and Merchantville (Camden) each with 7.00”. The northwest corner had the least rainfall in May, with just 3.01” in Andover (Sussex) and North Arlington (Bergen), along with Mount Olive (Morris) at 3.04”, Hackettstown (Warren) 3.05”, and Franklin (Sussex) and Wantage (Sussex) each with 3.06”.


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