central park temperaturesUntil last week, we were on our way to having the warmest April on record. We aren't complaining about the absolutely gorgeous weather of the past few days but the cool mornings lowered the average temperature enough that Central Park only tied with 1991 as the sixth warmest April on record. The first four months of 2006 have all been warmer than normal, making January-April the fourth warmest start of a year in Central Park since records began in 1869. Looking back a bit further, ten of the last eleven months have been warmer than average.

Gothamist started making the above graph of cumulative temperature departures in January 2005. You can see that the first few months of last year had their ups and downs. Starting in June daily temperatures were much more often above average than below. That trend continued for several months until it turned cold late last fall. The cold didn't last long and was quickly followed by an incredible two-month warm spell, where day after day temperatures were 10, 15, even 20 degrees above normal. While the rate of warming has slowed since then, temperatures are still remaining above normal more often than not.

As for today, a week of dry air and winds have made conditions favorable for the rapid spread of brush fires. Accordingly, the Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for this afternoon and evening. Sunny and mild weather continues through Thursday at least. The winds will diminish tonight and our high temperatures will remain in the 60s for a couple of days before possibly reaching the lower-70s on Wednesday. A chance of showers moves in Thursday night but let's not think about that right now.

Larger, more legible, version of graph on Flickr