Winter

Take Your Pick: January 2024 Recap

February 6, 2024 - 8:52pm -- Dave Robinson

An ice-encased walkway and railings generated from spray from Great Falls (background) in Paterson (Passaic County) during the cold January outbreak (photo courtesy of Liz Reilly).

The first month of 2024 provided a potpourri of weather happenings, including excessive rainfall and flooding, multiple snowfalls, frequent strong winds, frigid days, occasional warmth, and culminating with persistent dismal (aka damp, cloudy) conditions. Something for anyone or perhaps not favored conditions for most people. Totaling up the multiple precipitation episodes, this month emerged as the 6th wettest January on record dating back to 1895. It was the wettest January in 25 years and follows this past December, which was the wettest on record. The statewide 6.39” of rain and melted snow was 2.90” above the 1991–2020 normal. The northern climate division averaged 6.70” (+3.20”, 5th wettest), the southern division 6.18” (+2.71”, 7th wettest), and the coastal division 6.48” (+2.97”, 6th wettest).

January snowfall averaged 7.0” across NJ. This is just 0.2” below normal and ranks as the 53rd snowiest January of the past 130 years. Snow divisions include the north, which averaged 8.9” (-0.5”, 52nd snowiest), central coming in with 5.9” (-1.8”, 65th snowiest), and south with 6.6” (+0.9”, 43rd snowiest).

Temperatures fluctuated throughout the month, ultimately averaging 34.7° statewide. This was 3.0° above normal and ranks as the 20th mildest January. The north averaged 32.3° (+3.4°, 17th mildest), south 36.1° (+2.7°, 22nd mildest), and coast 36.9° (+2.5°, 24th mildest). The statewide average maximum of 42.0° was 1.7° above normal, ranking as the 30th warmest. The statewide average minimum of 27.4° was 4.2° above normal, ranking 16th mildest.

Normally Abnormal: February 2023 & Winter 2022/2023 Recaps

March 7, 2023 - 4:28pm -- Dave Robinson

Tornado damage in the Lawrence Square Village housing complex in Lawrence Twp. (Mercer County) after an EF2 tornado tore through the area on the afternoon of February 21st. Photo by Michael Mancuso/NJ Advance Media.

Abnormal conditions were seemingly the norm cross the Garden State during the second month of 2023 and, for that matter, during much of the winter (December–February). More on winter later in this report. First, focusing on February, milder-than-normal temperatures and limited snowfall were the rule, a short-lived frigid blast was followed by 70° warmth, and the most notable February tornado of at least the past 74 years touched down.

The statewide average temperature of 38.9° was 5.0° above the 1991–2020 normal and ranked as the 5th mildest February since 1895 (tied with 2012). Five of the six mildest Februarys have occurred in the last 11 years. Exemplifying the warmth, the New Brunswick (Middlesex County) Cooperative station experienced 23 days with above-average temperatures and just five below average. The same was true at both Sussex (Sussex) and Newark Airport (Union). Atlantic City Airport in Pomona (Atlantic) had 18 above and ten below normal, and Cape May (Cape May) reported 21 above and seven below.

The average February maximum was 49.3°, which is 6.2° above normal and ranks 3rd mildest, while the average minimum of 28.5° was 3.9° above normal, ranking 7th mildest. Temperatures in the northern climate division averaged 36.0° (+4.7°, 7th mildest), southern 40.6° (+5.1°, 4th mildest), and coastal 41.1° (+5.1°, 3rd mildest).

Does Anybody Really Know What Month It Is?: January 2023 Recap

February 7, 2023 - 5:47pm -- Dave Robinson

The pronounced snowline (at about 1000 feet elevation) near the base of Sunrise Mountain as seen from Rt 519 in the Beemerville section of Wantage (Sussex County) at 4:25 PM on January 23rd. Photo courtesy of Karen Walsh.

January 2023 was unlike most any first month of the year a New Jersey resident has experienced. Temperatures were similar to those normally seen in March and accumulating snowfall was meager in the north and non-existent further south. NJ weather was more like that of the piedmont of North and South Carolina at this time of year. The statewide average temperature of 41.0° was 9.3° above the 1991–2020 normal and ties with 1932 as the mildest January since records commenced in 1895. The average high of 48.9° was 8.6° above normal, ranking 2nd mildest. The average low of 33.1° was 9.9° above normal, also ranking 2nd mildest. It is indeed impressive to see the January 2023 monthly mean 0.7° warmer than the normal monthly high temperature and the average low was 1.4° above the normal monthly mean. The NCEI northern division averaged 38.8° (+9.9°, rank #1), the southern division 42.3° (+8.9°, #2), and the coastal division 43.0° (+8.6°, #2).

January precipitation averaged 3.65” across NJ, which is 0.16” above normal and ranks as the 45th wettest on record. This includes rain that fell during the PM hours of December 31st, as the clock starts on the new month (and in this case, also the new year) once observations are gathered at most NWS Cooperative stations around 7–8 AM each morning (much as what occurred on November 30, 2022, contributing to December totals). The northern division was wettest, averaging 4.19” of rain and melted snowfall (+0.69”, 31st wettest), the southern division 3.36” (-0.11”, 56th wettest), and the coastal division 3.01” (-0.50”, 78th wettest/52nd driest).

Seeking Identities:December 2022 and Annual 2022 Recaps

January 6, 2023 - 9:53pm -- Dave Robinson

Strong winds push waves and spray onshore after a cold frontal passage on December 23rd in Seaside Heights (photo credit: Daniel Nee/Lavallette-Seaside Shorebeat).

As has so often been the situation in 2022, December’s weather never settled into any persistent pattern. Unless, of course, a pattern of frequent variations constitutes persistence! In any case, it seems appropriate to co-label this combined monthly and annual report as intervals in search of identities!

Looking first at December, the statewide average temperature of 35.5° is 1.1° below the 1991–2020 normal. This ranks as the 44th mildest December dating back to 1895. The statewide average maximum temperature of 44.9° is 0.1° below normal and ranked 31st mildest. The average minimum was 26.1°, which is 2.1° below normal and ranks 54th mildest. North Jersey averaged 33.3° (-0.8°, 36th mildest), south Jersey 36.8° (-1.3°, 49th mildest), and the Jersey coast 37.7° (-1.4°, 50th mildest).

Statewide precipitation averaged 4.76”, which is 0.49” above normal and ranks 35th wettest. North Jersey averaged 4.93” (+0.68”, 32nd wettest), south Jersey 4.68” (+0.40”, 37th wettest), and the Jersey coast 4.49” (+0.13”, 43rd wettest). The wettest locations were in the northeast and along the northern coast, while the northwest and much of the south were on the drier side.

Up, Down, Round and Round: February 2022 and Winter 2021/2022 Recaps

March 8, 2022 - 12:53pm -- Dave Robinson

Sunset over a snow-covered field on February 14 at Colonial Park in Franklin Township (Somerset County).

The second month of 2022 and third month of winter continued a theme since December. Whether you call it a see saw, swing, or merry-go-round, it fits the theme of playground equipment as it never seemed any one particular variety of weather became established for all that long. More will be said about winter at the end of this report, but when it came to February, the end result was a somewhat warmer-than-normal month with about average precipitation and a dearth of snowfall. The statewide average temperature of 35.6° was 1.7° above the 1991–2020 normal, ranking as the 19th mildest since 1895. There was an above-average spread between the average high of 46.7° (+3.6°, 12th mildest) and low of 24.4° (-0.2°, 40th mildest), the 22.3-degree range being 3.8 degrees wider than normal. The north averaged 32.0° (+0.7°, 26th mildest), the south 37.7° (+2.2°, 16th mildest), and coast 37.9° (+1.9°, 18th mildest).

Rain and melted snow/sleet averaged 2.93”. This is 0.07” above normal and ranks as the 60th wettest/69th driest. The north averaged 3.45” (+0.66”, 44th wettest), south 2.62” (-0.27”, 49th driest), and coast 2.54” (-0.53”, 44th driest). More geographically specific, the far south was driest and the northwest wettest.

The South Coast Steals the Show: January 2022 Recap

February 8, 2022 - 10:40pm -- Dave Robinson

Severely drifted snow surrounds a car in Brigantine on January 29th.

When it comes to cold and snow, the second month of winter wasn’t anything like the first. New Jersey was right in the heart of winter to start off 2022, and nowhere was that more apparent than in southern coastal counties where far more than an average winter’s snow fell. At some locations, the total exceeded that of the most recent three winters combined. The prevailing storm track was such that the northwest corner of the state received the least snow, yet saw seven days with low temperatures dipping below zero. Toss in 15 days where one or more locations around the state recorded wind gusts of 40 mph or greater (five of these with gusts of at least 50 mph) and two atmospheric pressure waves moving across the state as a result of a volcanic eruption in the south Pacific, and it certainly was an eventful month.

Rain and melted snow averaged 3.45” across the state. This is 0.04” below the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 54th wettest (75th driest) January since 1895. The northern counties south to and including Hunterdon, Somerset, and Union averaged 2.90”, 0.60” below normal and 75th wettest (53rd driest). Southern counties, except close to the Atlantic Coast, averaged 3.72”, which is 0.25” above normal and ranks 46th wettest. The coastal region caught 4.34”, which is 0.83” above normal and ranks 31st wettest. Persistent dry conditions in recent months resulted in the southernmost NJ counties deemed “Abnormally Dry” for most of the month, according to the National Drought Monitor. As the month ended, northwestern counties were under consideration for being similarly designated.

Anything but Boring: February 2021 and Winter 2020/21 Recaps

March 8, 2021 - 3:51pm -- Dave Robinson

Wintry scene

Fate was clearly tempted when last month’s report was entitled: “Pretty Darn Boring.” Not that this wasn’t a truthful statement from both meteorological and climatological perspectives. So now this month’s title, being just as legitimate as January’s. The turnaround began in the waning hours of January 31st when what proved to be an impactful, long-lasting coastal storm began to invade the Garden State. This major event was followed by a series of storms that resulted in record or near record-setting monthly snowfall totals in northern and central regions and quite wet conditions in the south.

Statewide precipitation (rain and melted snowfall) averaged 4.89” in February. This was 2.03” above the 1991–2020 average and ranks as the 14th wettest February in 127 years of record keeping. The coastal south averaged 5.91” (+2.84”), ranking as 6th wettest. The remainder of the south came in with 5.09” (+2.20”, 11th) and the north 4.44” (+1.65”, 19th). More specifically, the southeast and central areas were wettest and the southwest and far north least wet.

While plenty of precipitation fell throughout the state, it was more often than not in the form of rain across the southern third of NJ, while central and northern areas were visited by one major snowstorm and a series of modest ones. All told, the statewide average snowfall was 23.5”. This is 15.3” above the 1991–2020 average and ranked as the 7th snowiest February.

Pretty Darn Boring: January 2021 Recap

February 9, 2021 - 10:04pm -- Dave Robinson

Snowfall map for January 3rd-4th

The first month of 2021 lacked major storms, whether wet or white, and temperatures rarely were either quite mild or very cold. Thus the title of this report. Yes, the last day of the month turned snowy, the harbinger of anything but a boring start to February, but that’s to be covered next month. The January statewide average temperature was 33.7°. This was 3.0° above the 1981–2010 normal and ranks as the 26th mildest January in the past 127 years. The average high was 41.1°, which is 1.8° above normal and ranks 34th mildest, while the average low of 26.3° was 4.2° above normal, ranking 20th mildest.

January precipitation (rain and melted snow) averaged 1.99” across the state, which is 1.41” below normal and ranks 13th driest since 1895. The north averaged 1.93” (-1.48”, 18th driest), the south 2.02” (-1.37”, 13th driest), and the coast 2.19” (-1.25”, 17th driest). Generally, the eastern half of the state was wetter (particularly the northeast) than the west.

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.

More Like Virginia: February 2020 and Winter 2019/20 Recaps

March 3, 2020 - 10:57pm -- Dave Robinson

Controlled burn smoke photo

Following on the heels of the 8th mildest January on record, February 2020 entered the books as the 3rd mildest since records began in 1895. The 39.2° average was 5.7° above the 1981–2010 mean. The northern climate division of the state averaged 36.2° (+5.2°; 6th mildest), the south was 41.0° (+6.1°; 3rd mildest), and the coastal division was 41.2° (+5.7°; 3rd mildest). Average minimum temperatures ranked 2nd mildest for the state, while average maximums ranked 8th mildest. To place February 2020 in some perspective, it was just 1.6° below the 1981–2010 March average of 40.8° and only 0.2° below the longer 1895–2019 March average. It was close to the long-term (1981–2010) average February temperatures in Washington, DC, Paducah, KY, and Bristol, TN.

February precipitation (rain and melted snow) came in very close to the 1981–2010 average at 2.82”. This is just 0.02” above average and ranks as the 62nd driest (and 65th wettest) of the past 126 years. Divisional totals ranged from 2.48” (-0.34”, 49th driest) in the north, 2.99” (+0.21”, 60th wettest) in the south, and 3.37” (+0.48”, 51st wettest) at the coast.

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