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Seems Warm? Expect a Record High (for the Year So Far)

Just think: If the forecast is right, Wednesday will be the warmest day of the year.

Yeah, yeah, it’s only the ninth day of the year, and the temperature will probably not climb beyond the low 50s. That may not be hot enough to peel off your shirt and spend your lunch hour working on your tan in the nearest park, but the predicted warmth had City Room thinking about weather records even before the National Weather Service’s announcement on Tuesday that 2012 was the hottest year in the United States ever, going back to the late 1800s.

Stephen Fybish, an amateur weather historian who lives on the Upper West Side, was a step ahead of the Weather Service. He worked out the records for New York City last week and concluded that here as in the rest of the country, 2012 was the warmest year of all. According to his calculations, the average temperature in Central Park was 57.3 degrees. That surpassed 1990 and 1991, which had been tied for the record, by one-tenth of one degree.

Mr. Fybish said a heat wave in March (average temperature for that month, 50.9 degrees) pushed up the temperature for the period from November 2011 to April 2012 to give New York its warmest six-month stretch on record.

For its part, last summer was cooler than the summers of 2010 and 2011, when there were Julys with average monthly temperatures above 80 degrees and 103- or 104-degree highs.

Still, the Weather Service recorded a high of 100 degrees last July 18. That was enough to make last summer the third straight summer with a  100-plus-degree day, according to Mr. Fybish. Two consecutive summers with at least one triple-digit day? He said there had been several, and there was one four-year sequence, from 1952 through 1955.

Even when 2012 cooled down, it was warm. Mr. Fybish said the monthly low in December was 28 degrees, the highest on record for that month.

He said there was a notable lack of snow last winter, with measurable snow recorded only twice (4.3 inches on Jan. 21 and 0.2 inches on Feb. 12) and no snow at all in March or April (or in November or December 2011, either). Mr. Fybish described the winter of 2011-12 as the fourth “skimpiest” on record. The city’s least snowy winter was 1972-73, with only 2.8 inches, he said, followed by 2001-02, with 3.5 inches, and 1918-19, with 3.8.

Those figures cover what he called the “normal snow season,” November to April. There was, of course, a 2.9-inch snowstorm on Oct. 29, 2011. “We had never had a storm in October with that much snow,” he said. “The record had been 0.8 inch in October.”

But in 2012, the 4.7-inch snowstorm the week after Hurricane Sandy was the heaviest in Central Park on any date earlier than Nov. 23, Mr. Fybish said, and the 43.9-degree average temperature made November the first below-normal month since January 2011.

This is a whole new year. What now?

Mr. Fybish said to keep the heavy coats handy, and the gloves, scarves and hats. He is betting on cold weather in the next couple of months, despite the warm December (the 11th warmest December on record, if you are counting, and Mr. Fybish is), because in 7 of the last 10 chilly Novembers, average temperatures remained on the cold side over the next three months.

Source: NY Times

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Posted by on January 9, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.