Winter

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.

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”.

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.

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.

Bitter Cold, a Blizzard, and a Thaw: January 2018 Summary

February 5, 2018 - 5:06pm -- Dave Robinson

Great Falls frozen

The first month of 2018 was replete with cold, warmth, snow, rain, and stretches of dry weather. First came an impressive episode of subfreezing conditions that began in late December and extended into the second week of January. This interval included a storm that brought over 10” of snow and blizzard conditions to coastal counties. Next was a heavy rain event accompanied by much warmer air, then later in the month, several scattered rain and snow episodes interspersed with dry conditions and some 60° warmth. Something for most everyone, I suppose you could say!

The statewide January mean temperature was 29.2°. This is 1.5° below the 1981–2010 mean and ranks as the 55th coldest January of the 124 since 1895. It was the coldest January since 2015. Precipitation (rain and melted snow) across NJ averaged 2.69”, which is 0.71” below average for the month. This was the 39th driest on record and the lowest total since 2010. January snowfall across the state averaged 8.3”, which was 1.1” above average. Northern counties averaged 7.9” (-1.4”), central ones 6.9” (-1.0”), and the south on top with 9.2” (+3.4”). Through January, this snow season has brought an average of 17.0” (+4.1”) to New Jersey, with the north at 16.6” (-0.8”), central 14.7” (+0.3”), and south 17.0” (+4.1”).

An Early Winter Sampler: December 2017 Recap and Annual Summary, including the Top 10 Events of 2017

January 3, 2018 - 4:09pm -- Dave Robinson

Snow-covered lagoon

The last month of 2017 was similar to many a month this past year. Whatever the season, weather conditions varied quite a bit from week to week. This was mainly due to an absence of atmospheric blocking in the middle and high latitudes with patterns that can lock a particular weather situation in place for multiple weeks. Thus in December we had a mild week, a snowy week, and a very cold week interspersed with transitional conditions. The one largely absent factor was precipitation, which resulted in the 10th driest December across NJ since records were established in 1895. The 1.57” of rain and melted snowfall was 2.28” below the 1981–2010 average. Snowfall averaged 8.7”, which is 3.9” above average and ranks as the 25th snowiest December on record. It was the snowiest since 2010. North Jersey averaged 8.7” (+2.1”), central areas 7.8” (+2.3”), and the south 9.1” (+4.9”). Temperatures seesawed from week to week, with the monthly statewide average of 33.6° being 1.6° below the 1981–2010 average. This ranked as the 61st coldest or 63rd mildest December on record.

March in February, & Another Mild Season: February and Winter 2016-2017 Recap

March 6, 2017 - 4:26pm -- Dave Robinson

Crocuses photo

On many an afternoon this past February, one had to be reminded that, according to the calendar, we were in the midst of a winter month. While there was a modest snowstorm for central and northern areas on the 9th, there were 11 days, including the day prior to the storm, when temperatures equaled or exceeded 60° at one or more New Jersey locations. The average statewide monthly temperature of 40.1° made February 2017 NJ’s mildest since records commenced in 1895. The average was 6.6° above the 1981–2010 mean and 1.0° above the previous record in 1998. In fact, the 2017 average was only 0.7° lower than the mean for March, and would rank as the 54th mildest (69th coolest) March on record. February precipitation (rain and melted snowfall) averaged 1.70”. This was 1.10” below the 30-year mean and ranks as the 11th driest on record. Only the storm on the 9th delivered more than an inch of rain or melted snow to some observing stations around the state.

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