ITHACA, N.Y. -- Creating temperatures more fit for the fourth of July, the mid-April heat wave that crossed the Northeast from April 16 to 18 smashed 47 daily high marks on the thermometer and tied six previous records, according to data compiled by the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.
"The influence of the Bermuda High brought those very unusual temperatures to us, as the upper-atmosphere circulation drove that warm weather up from the south," says Keith Eggleston, senior climatologist at the center. "While it was an unusual climate situation for the middle of April, the heat wave had nothing to do with the lack of snow we've had in the Northeast this season."
The warmest temperature recorded in the region during last week's surprise heat wave was 97 degrees Fahrenheit in Newark, N.J., on April 17, shattering the city's all-time high temperature reading for April of 94 degrees set April 27, 1990. Central Park in New York City tied its all-time warmest temperature reading for the month, set April 18, 1976, with 96 degrees recorded April 17.
Whether these high temperatures will make this the warmest April on record remains to be seen. The region's average temperature for April is 45.5 degrees Fahrenheit, says Eggleston, based on a 30-year average (1971-2000). The warmest April on record in the Northeast was an average 50.9 degrees in 1921, and the coolest was in 1943 with an average 39.8 degrees.
Interestingly, Mount Washington, N.H., enjoyed a balmy 55 degrees April 16 and 57 degrees April 17. Normally on Mount Washington, April's average high temperature is 29.4 degrees and the average low temperature is 16.4 degrees.
Max temperature (2002) and daily records for April
Days when record was not broken are shaded in gray.