12 memorable weather moments of 2023

News 12's Storm Watch Team meteorologists are doing a recap of the most memorable weather moments of 2023. Take a look at the top 12 here.

News 12 Staff

Dec 20, 2023, 2:08 PM

Updated 200 days ago

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12 memorable weather moments of 2023
News 12's Storm Watch Team meteorologists are doing a recap of the most memorable weather moments in 2023. Take a look at the top 12 below.

2023 recap by Julian Seawright

2023 had quite a few memorable moments. There were drought conditions late in the spring through the middle of summer. There were also very wet stretches, ending off the summer and lasting all the way into the start of winter. In late fall, the tri-state area saw significant storm systems that brought much rainfall to the area, resulting in multiple widespread flooding issues. Now that the year is wrapping up, a deluge of rain fell across the tri-state and significantly impacted the area.  

Microburst pummels parts of NYC in July by Mike Rizzo

A microburst slammed into Brooklyn on July 25, which knocked down trees in Bensonhurst along Bay Ridge Avenue with winds estimated upwards of 60-70 mph. Weather events like this aren't common for our area but can happen occasionally. A microburst or downburst is a sudden burst of wind, moving in the same direction as the rain (down). As this wind crashes into the ground, it spreads out in all directions, forming wind gusts in a straight line away from the point of burst.
A downburst is sudden and can down trees and power lines in addition to blowing objects away. Downbursts differ from a tornado as tornados are violently rotating columns of air that often create wind damage patterns that twist - and are not consistent with straight line gusts. So when severe thunderstorms are forecast for your town or neighborhood, keep in mind that the threats aren't just limited to the rain, lightning, or tornadoes, but microbursts, too.

Rare aurora lights up the night sky in April by Michele Powers

One of the most memorable events of 2023 was when the northern lights were seen as far south as the tri-state area, Colorado and even New Mexico!
The sun has recently become more active with frequent solar flares that not only disrupt communications here on Earth, but also create the beautiful aurora borealis. A moderate solar flare erupted on the sun on April 21. A coronal mass ejection (CME) traveled nearly 2 million miles per hour and made it all the way here to Earth in two days. A severe geomagnetic storm followed and many local aurora hunters were able to see it.
It is uncommon for us to see it here in the mid latitudes. The images seen in the video above were captured with long exposure photography and this was not visible with the naked eye. Our sun is nearing its peak in its 11-year solar cycle early next year – count on more of these events in 2024.

Deadly July flooding in lower Hudson Valley by Matt Hammer

It is an unfortunate visual many lower Hudson Valley residents will remember forever. Destructive flash flooding, mostly during the afternoon of July 9, led to one of the most memorable local weather moments of 2023. Up to nine inches of rain – a few months' worth – hit places like Putnam Valley, Fort Montgomery, West Point and Highland Falls the hardest. The flash flooding washed out main roads, washed away homes, prompted numerous water rescues, impacted Metro-North’s Hudson Line and even led to one death in Orange County.  
Elsewhere around the tri-state area, one to three inches of rain fell into the morning of July 10, with waterspouts likely occurring over the Atlantic Ocean along the south shore of Long Island. There was even a brief tornado warning issued near the Westhampton and East Moriches areas of Long Island, but no tornado touched down.  
Even more flash flooding impacted the lower Hudson Valley just a few days later, on the night of July 13 into the morning of July 14. An additional three to five inches of rain hit the same struggling areas, dramatically slowing recovery and cleanup efforts - which lasted for weeks.

90-degree heat common again in 2023 by Hilda Estevez

"Hot, sizzling, sweltering, spicy, muy caliente!..." were some of the ways viewers described our hot weather, especially in the Garden State during the summer and fall seasons.
Interestingly so, New Jersey residents dealt with four heat waves throughout the year with the longest lasting nine days during the Labor Day weekend. Yet, it pales in comparison to the longest historic heat wave lasting 29 days of 90-degree or higher temperatures, from July 29 to August 17, 1988.
The hottest days were dotted throughout of calendar from April to September, including a rare hot surge on April 13. The hottest day of the year scorched the thermometers to 97 degrees at Newark in early September.

Tri-state sweats it out during September record-setting heat wave by Rich Hoffman

A record-setting heat wave hit the tri-state in September, as temperatures remained above 90 degrees for 4 days.
Since 1964 at Long Island's MacArthur Airport, there have only been two other heat waves: 1985 and 1973.
The heat was so impressive it was the latest heat wave on record. Three record highs were either broken or tired. It produced the most 90-degree days in the month of September. We had four days of 90 or above in September compared to only one day in June, July and August.
The average high temperature for the beginning of September is 78 degrees.

Powerful December storm impacts tri-state by Addison Green

Storm Watch Team Meteorologist Addison Green goes over the mid-December coastal storm that brought flooding and record breaking-rains to the tri-state area.
Nearly a half a foot of rain fell across parts of northern New Jersey and the Hudson Valley, which contributed to major river flooding for several days after the storm passed. Multiple school districts canceled classes as a result of the flooding, particularly due to the numerous road closures near rivers like the Passaic River and Raritan River.
Wind gusts of over 50 miles per hour were also felt along coastal communities, producing tens of thousands of power outages across the tri-state.

Record number of tornadoes strike the Garden State in 2023 by Dave Curren

Severe weather and tornadoes are possible throughout the spring and summer. What stood out in 2023 is how many the Garden State saw this year. Almost four times as many than the yearly average.
The April 1 tornado outbreak caught the eye with a jaw-dropping seven tornadoes touching down in a few hours' time. That is tied with 1989 for the most in a day, since we’ve been keeping records dating back to the early 1950s. A total of 13 were confirmed in 2023.

2023 ends as the warmest year on record across the tri-state by Samantha Augeri

This year will likely be the warmest year on record at Central Park and globally, too. Central Park's average temperature for 2023 is 58 degrees as of Dec. 20. The record is 57.3 degrees set in 2020 and the normal average temperature is 55.8 degrees. There were 12 days this year with temperatures at or above 90 degrees with some record breaking heat.
The year is trending to be the warmest on record due to a few factors. We had a strong El Niño event where warmer waters in the Eastern Pacific lead to warmer air temperatures. Global carbon emissions are on the rise due to human-caused climate change. And drought conditions with record breaking Canadian wildfires lead to some of the worst air quality we've seen with high levels of ground ozone through much of the summer. 

Snowless streak continues through 2023 by Jonathan Cubit

Did you miss it?! Maybe you were quite happy last winter as a result. The 2022-2023 winter season was a very lackluster one, it was tough for snow lovers and ski lovers alike.
New York City remained snowless through January! In fact, Central Park didn’t even record an inch of snow for the season! Part of why we didn’t see much snow was that the Northeast saw record warmth, with several states having their warmest January on record.
In fact the average temperature for the month was 5.1°F above average, ranking as the 6th warmest in 129 years of record in the U.S.
With an El Niño season ahead we can expect more precipitation for the winter season -- but will we see it during cold spells and get that big storm? We will have to wait and see!

Record-breaking flooding halts the tri-state in September by Allan Nosoff

New York City's most-impactful storm in 2023 was the late-September storm that dumped nearly double-digit rainfall. Widespread flooding and damage were seen across the city, as well as most of the tri-state area.
The highest rain totals fell across New York City with nearly 10 inches of rain in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Of those 9.8 inches, nearly 5 inches fell in just three hours, which totals an entire month's-worth of rainfall. Despite recent improvements, the city's drains could not handle this deluge, including neighborhoods that have never flooded before like in Bensonhurst and Ditmas Park. Rainfall totals surpassed eight inches across much of Nassau County on Long Island, as well as the Jersey Shore. On top of the rain, wind gusts of 30-40+ mph uprooted several trees.
This storm had a perfect formula to produce extreme impacts. An inverted "Norlun" trough, combined with the DNA of the remnants of Ophelia, were responsible to produce a narrow band of intense rain that sat on top of the tri-state for hours that Friday. Flash flood warnings were numerous, with the rain closing down roads as well as flooding homes and businesses.
This disastrous storm brought flashbacks to the remnants of Hurricane Ida just two years prior. Similar flash flooding conditions occurred in New York City with multiple hours of 1 inches+ per hour rainfall rates.

The summer of haze - rare orange sky in June by Hope Osemwenkhae

One of the most memorable weather events of 2023 was the vivid orange haze, with the worst air quality ever recorded in the tri-state area. A plume of smoke plagued our sky and air quality from June 5 to June 7. With a record-breaking and shocking wildfire season in Canada combined with an omega blocking weather pattern -- this was a recipe for disaster.  This year, 45.4 million acres burned across Canada.
The air quality index reached over 400 across the area, reaching a hazardous 460 in New York City. KN95 masks returned as a state of emergency was declared, and people stayed home to protect themselves from outdoor conditions. Throughout the summer, the Canadian wildfire smoke returned to our sky and impacted our air quality. But can something like this happen again? The answer is yes and no. Yes, hazy, smoky skies and poor quality will become our new normal during the summer months. With the hot and dry weather in Canada, wildfires will become more common. However, orange skies and hazardous air quality levels, not so much. We had all of the right ingredients for an event like this to occur of this magnitude.

Hurricane Lee's close call by Alex Calamia

Hurricane Lee was the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season. Although it never made landfall across the Northeast U.S., it had devastating impacts across the tri-state area.
Lee spent most of its history over open water in the Atlantic where it rapidly intensified to a major Category 5 hurricane. Winds increased by 85 mph in 24 hours, which is the fourth fastest intensification on record in the Atlantic. Maximum winds reached 165 mph.
While weaker as a Category 1 hurricane, Lee made its closest approach on Sept. 16, about 250 miles east off the coast of Montauk Point. Yet it was so massive that tropical storm force winds were reported along coastal New England.
This produced large swells resulting in coastal flooding and fatal marine conditions. A boat was capsized off the coast of New Jersey resulting in a reported death.


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