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Here’s how cold the cold has actually been

It gets to a point where the actual temperature doesn’t truly matter anymore. Whether it’s 5 degrees or -5 degrees, the cold seems to bring the same type of painful sting to your face. Your car still takes just as long to start up, and your coffee still loses its heat just as quickly. But this February’s cold has been more impressive than anything we have seen recently. While, by and large, we have been able to dodge the prolific snowfall that has buried New England, our area has not been able to escape the cold which has entrenched the Northern 1/3 of the United States.

Quantitatively, the cold looks even more impressive. While New York City’s Central Park didn’t get below zero (it fell to 2 degrees last week), the intensity and duration of the cold has brought the monthly data to near record numbers. The Hudson River has frozen over in many spots. As the locals will tell you — that’s how you know it’s really cold. Monthly temperature averages are currently hovering between 10 and 15 degrees below normal throughout New York City and New Jersey.

Here’s exactly where this month of February would rank if it ended today, with the average temperature for the month:

New York City (Central Park): 4th coldest February of all time (24.2 F)

New York City (Laguardia): 2nd coldest February of all time (24.3 F)

New York City (Kennedy): Tied for 1st coldest February of all time (24.6 F)

Newark Aiport: 2nd coldest February of all time (22.8 F)

Islip: 1st coldest February of all time (21.5 F)

Temperature departure from normal in February 2015 through 2/24, showing -10 to -15 departures in the Northeast US.

Temperature departure from normal in February 2015 through 2/24, showing -10 to -15 departures in the Northeast US.

These statistics are exceedingly impressive when you consider that not one of these reporting stations in New York City has had a month with an average temperature since January of 2004. Philadelphia, PA and Allentown, PA are also projected to end February 2015 in the top 1-3 coldest Februaries of all time.

Making statistics more impressive isn’t hard when a month is this anomalous. When you go back in New York City’s history, you find that February 2015:

– Currently ranks as the 10th coldest month

– Featured only one day with above normal temperatures

– Featured 4 of the top 8 coldest low temperatures after 2/15 since 1950

– Currently ranks as the coldest month in 38 years

– Featured 6 nights in the single digits

While some will look back on this winter (At least what we’ve experienced of it so far) as a failure and disappointment based on missed potential for major snowfall, the months of January and February 2015 will likely end up being appreciated for the intensity and duration of cold in the long term. Since 1990, stretches with anomalous, record setting cold have become few and far between. This winter was a return to record breaking cold, to the likes of which we have not seen in 10 years or more.

With a few days left in February, we’re anxiously awaiting the final numbers and data. Until then, we’ll leave you with some pictures of New York City in the past few weeks during what will be remembered as a remarkable stretch of winter weather.

 

 

 

 

 

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