Spring

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”.

Another Dry Spring Month: April 2016 Recap

May 9, 2016 - 11:18am -- Dave Robinson

Brush fire photo

April continued a dry period that began in March. Monthly rain and melted snow totaled 2.34”. This was 1.72” below the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 20th driest April since 1895. The 4.35” March–April total was 3.94” below average and ranks as the 7th driest such interval. Unlike the abnormal warmth of March, the average April temperature of 50.7° was 0.5° below normal. This ranks as the 48th mildest on record.

Statewide snowfall averaged 0.2”, which is 0.7” below the 1981–2010 mean. The southern counties averaged 0.3” (-0.3”), central 0.0” (-0.9”), and the north 0.2” (-1.2”). The 2015–16 snow season ended with a statewide average of 28.0”. This is 4.3” above the 1981–2010 average and 1.8” above the 1895–2016 average. The north was least snowy with 26.5” (-6.5”), the central snowiest at 31.0” (+4.3”), and the south with 27.4” averaged 9.8” above normal. The January blizzard provided the bulk of the snow, well over 75% of the winter total in some locations.

Spring Warmth Arrives Early: March 2016 Recap

April 4, 2016 - 7:53pm -- Dave Robinson

Mild and dry conditions prevailed throughout the Garden State during most of March. This included record-breaking early-season warmth, only one event that dropped more than an inch of rain over multiple locations, and a few minor forest fires. There were also two episodes of measurable snow that focused on coastal counties and 11 days where winds gusted to 40 mph or higher somewhere in the state. The statewide average temperature of 46.7° was 5.6° above the 1981–2010 average. This ranks as the 6th mildest March since 1895. Precipitation averaged 2.09”. This is 2.14” below normal and ranks as the 13th driest March.

March snowfall average 2.4” across the state, which is 1.9” below average. Northern counties saw only 0.8”, which is 5.3” below normal, while the central portion of the state received 1.6” (3.3” below normal). The southern counties were the winners, averaging 0.7” above normal at 3.7”. While snow may fall in April (the morning of April 3rd saw 2.7” at Highland Lakes [Sussex County]), a look at what are likely close to the final seasonal totals includes a statewide average of 27.9”, which is 1.8” above normal. North Jersey took it on the chin, with an average of 26.3”, some 8.4” below average. Central NJ was the winner at 31.0”, 4.0” above normal. Meanwhile the south Jersey total of 27.1” exceeded that of the north, even in an absolute sense, and was 7.1” above normal.

What Can NJ Expect from El Niño Going into Spring?

March 1, 2016 - 5:13pm -- Ariel Schabes

Spring temperature anomalies during past strong El Niños.

Following a winter of widely-varying conditions, likely in part due to the influence of the major El Niño event that has been underway since last fall, it is useful to look back at past spring weather in years that, like this year, experienced strong El Niños. While certainly not providing a definitive forecast for what we might see over the next several months, this exercise will provide some insights into what might be seen. Here, much as we have done for summer, fall, and winter we will examine the seven strongest El Niño events since 1950.

Looking first at temperature, March was warmer than average in five of the seven years, while for April and May, temperatures tended to be below to well-below average. In fact, only two of the 14 Aprils and Mays averaged more than a half-degree above average, while nine averaged a degree or more below average.

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