Summer

The Beat Goes On: August 2020 & Summer Recaps

September 7, 2020 - 9:50pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunset photo

August joined the chorus of much warmer-than-normal months experienced throughout most of 2020 to date across the Garden State. Six of the eight months have ranked among the top 10 warmest for the 126 years beginning in 1895. Only April and May are outliers and, in fact, each of them had below-average temperatures. With a mean of 75.5°, August tied with 2001 and 1955 as the 6th warmest. This is 2.5° above the 1981–2010 mean. Eleven of the warmest 17 Augusts have occurred since 2001. The mean maximum of 84.8° tied for 19th warmest at 1.5° above normal, while the mean minimum of 66.1° was 3.4° above normal and ranked 4th warmest.

Statewide precipitation averaged 6.04”. This is 1.94” above normal and ranks as the 26th wettest August on record. Above-average totals occurred in northern (6.02”), southern (6.10”), and coastal (5.50”) climate divisions. The southern division (Mercer-Middlesex-Monmouth counties and south, except a narrow coastal division) saw a range from the driest area in Monmouth and parts of Mercer counties and a very wet area in Salem and Gloucester counties.

Green Warmth: August and Summer 2018 Recaps

September 5, 2018 - 8:18pm -- Dave Robinson

Flash flood photo

The summer of 2018 concluded on a warm, wet note across the majority of what was a persistently green Garden State throughout the season. The warmth dated back to late June, with frequent humid conditions and abundant showers from mid-July onward. There will be more on the entire summer at the end of this report. First a look at August, with a statewide average temperature of 76.8° coming in 3.8° above the 1981–2010 average. This was the second warmest August since 1895, falling just behind 2016 by 0.1°. Nine of the 13 warmest Augusts during that 124-year interval have occurred since 2001.

Statewide, August precipitation averaged 5.63”. This was 1.53” above the 1981–2010 average and ranked as the 32nd wettest since 1895. It was the wettest August since the record wettest month in 2011. As is often seen in the summer, the majority of the precipitation fell in scattered showers and thunderstorms. This resulted in a wide range of monthly totals around the state, with some serious flash flooding occurring in several locations when moisture-ladened storms parked themselves over an area for multiple hours. Where storms missed time and time again, rainfall totals were below average. The northern NJ climate division (Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union counties northward) saw their 10th wettest August on record, with an average of 8.28” falling. This is 4.17” above average. Since 1990, only August 2011 was wetter in this division.

Summer Personified: July 2018 Recap

August 3, 2018 - 11:45pm -- Dave Robinson

Flash flood photo

July 2018 had a classic variety of summer weather. There was: 1) an ongoing heatwave to begin the month; 2) dry conditions for the most part in the first half of the month; 3) some warm, exceedingly humid conditions with widespread, at times heavy, showers the second half of the month (courtesy of the subtropics); and 4) some “top 10” sunny dry days following several cold front passages (thank you Canada).

The average statewide July temperature was 76.4°. This is 1.8° above the 1981–2010 average and ranks as the 13th warmest July in 124 years of records (2.6° above the full period of record average). Eleven of the 18 warmest Julys since 1895 have occurred in the past 20 years (since 1999). The average daily maximum temperature across the state was 87.2°, which is 2.2° above average and ranks as the 15th warmest on record. The 65.6° average minimum was 1.4° above the 1981–2010 average and comes in as the 17th warmest.

Statewide, August precipitation averaged 5.63”. This was 1.53” above the 1981–2010 average and ranked as the 32nd wettest since 1895. It was the wettest August since the record wettest month in 2011. As is often seen in the summer, the majority of the precipitation fell in scattered showers and thunderstorms. This resulted in a wide range of monthly totals around the state, with some serious flash flooding occurring in several locations when moisture ladened storms parked themselves over an area for multiple hours. Where storms missed time and time again, rainfall totals were below average. The northern NJ climate division (Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union counties northward) saw their 10th wettest August on record, with an average of 8.28” falling. This is 4.17” above average. Since 1990, only August 2011 was wetter in this division.

Rather Typical: June 2018 Recap

July 5, 2018 - 4:08pm -- Dave Robinson

Sandy Hook from plane

After an ample share of ups and downs throughout the past spring, the weather in June became rather typical for the start of summer. It was drier than average in the north and wetter than usual in the south, with the temperature close to the long-term mean. Fortunately, New Jersey entered the heart of summer with reservoirs full. However, with the onset of an apparent extended period of heat late in the month, it is certainly prudent to conserve water wisely.

The June average statewide temperature of 69.8° equaled the 1981–2010 mean, but is 1.0° above the 1895–present average. This tied with 1906 and 1967 as the 42nd mildest June on record. Precipitation averaged 3.43” across NJ, which is 0.58” below the 1981–2010 mean. This ranks as the 57th driest June, tied with 2011.

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

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

Tomatoes

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).

Top Ten August for Heat and Dryness, Yet Another Hot Summer in the 2000s: August and Summer 2016 Recaps

September 6, 2016 - 10:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Beach photo

While above-average temperatures persisted from July into August, the precipitation regime did a 180° reversal between months. A 9th warmest July transitioned to a 2nd warmest August across the Garden State, based on records extending back to 1895. The 14th wettest July proved to be a hydrological blessing following the 20th driest June and preceding the 9th driest August. While August ended with most of New Jersey designated as “abnormally dry” and the northeast in “moderate drought” according to the US Drought Monitor, and north Jersey remained under a NJ Department of Environmental Protection “drought watch,” water supplies would have been in far worse shape come late summer had July been dry.

A Return to Hot Julys After a Two-Year Respite; Awfully Wet Too: July 2016 Recap

August 3, 2016 - 5:01pm -- Dave Robinson

Flooding photo

The second half of the 2016 NJ weather and climate year began with plenty to talk about. Maximum temperatures were 90° or higher somewhere in the state on 20 afternoons. This, along with many warm nights, helped boost the mean monthly temperature into the top 10, based on statewide records back to 1895. Yet, remarkably, this was only NJ’s 5th warmest July in the past 11 years. The 77.2° mean was 2.2° above the 1981–2010 average.

On 15 July days an inch or more of rain fell somewhere in NJ. This included eight days with greater than 2” in spots and four days where a few locations exceeded 4”. Statewide, the average rainfall was 6.85”. This was 2.33” above average and ranks as the 14th wettest July since 1895. It was the wettest July since 2004, and the 4th wettest in the past 41 years. The northern half of the state (Mercer/Somerset/Union northward) averaged 7.27” (+2.49”, 14th wettest), while the southern region averaged 6.77” (+2.38”, 12th wettest). This all came in a month where the northern half of the state remained classified as being in moderate drought (D1) on the US Drought Monitor, with about half of south Jersey considered abnormally dry (D0). Also, on July 26th the NJ Department of Environmental Protection placed the northern half of the state in a drought watch. These actions were the result of notable rainfall deficits dating back to the early spring, with the warmth of the month exasperating low soil moisture, stream flow, ground water, and reservoir conditions. Clearly, the late-month heavy rainfall in a good portion of the state warrants a re-evaluation of drought status as NJ heads into August.

Rather Dry, but Still Some Storms: June 2016 Recap

July 6, 2016 - 1:58pm -- Dave Robinson

Tipped helicopter

Despite some damaging storms impacting portions of New Jersey on several days and some localized deluges near month’s end, June rainfall came in well below average. The statewide average of 2.36” was 1.66” below the 1981–2010 average. This ranks as the 20th driest June since 1895. Northern and central counties were generally drier than those to the south. At month’s end, the counties from Hunterdon, Somerset, and northern Middlesex northward were classified as being in “moderate drought,” the D1 category on the US Drought Monitor. The counties to the south, through Ocean and Burlington, were in the Monitor’s “abnormally dry” D0 category. June stream flow, ground water, and precipitation levels were all well below average, while reservoir capacities in the north began to dip below average near the end of the month.

Temperatures began on the cool side, but the second half of the month was warm enough to bring the statewide average June temperature to 70.6°, which was 0.5° above average. This ranks as the 30th mildest June on record. There was one minimal heat wave at some inland lower-elevation locations, where temperatures climbed to 90° or higher from the 19th–22nd. However, no location exceeded 93° this month. The dry conditions helped to rid the atmosphere of the previous day’s warmth during the nighttime hours, thus temperatures of 45° or lower were observed in spots on seven mornings.

With an El Niño underway, how much of an impact can we expect it to have on NJ's summer weather?

July 23, 2015 - 2:29pm -- Dave Robinson

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for July 20, 2015.  NOAA/NESDIS.

Scientists are carefully monitoring sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean for a potential El Niño event. An El Niño occurs when warmer-than-average waters start to form in the eastern Pacific Ocean, specifically near the equatorial latitudes. Easterly winds (blowing from the east) typically move warmer water to the western Pacific (near Indonesia), permitting cooler water to upwell to the surface in the east (near South America). When these winds are weaker, or if they reverse direction, the warm water stays in the eastern Pacific. This difference in sea surface temperatures and winds creates a new dynamic between the ocean and atmosphere, distinctly affecting weather patterns across the world. No two El Niño events are alike; they vary in magnitude and location of the largest temperature anomalies. El Niño events can be classified as Strong, Moderate or Weak.

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