After a mostly pleasant weekend the heat and humidity are back! This is a one day, and one day only, appearance. Before the humidity disappears we are going to have a few showers, if not a thunderstorm as a trough of low pressure scoots through town. Sometime after midnight a cold front, currently straddling Lakes Erie and Ontario, will chase the moisture away. It won't be much cooler tomorrow, making it two weeks in a row with above normal temperatures, but the air will be considerably drier. Sunny, warm and dry will be the weather theme through Thursday. Well, Gothamist may be lying a little about Thursday being dry as humidity is likely to increase in advance of another cold front. That cold front might actually bring us a few days of cooler than normal air.
During the heat last week the thermometer at LaGuardia reached 100 degrees three days straight, bank thermometers all around town also reached the century mark, yet Central Park kept its cool, maxing out at 97 degrees on Wednesday. Apparently, the local National Weather Service took some heat for the park's relatively low temperatures. As we wrote last week, temperature and amount of vegetation are highly correlated –the denser the greenery the lower the daytime temperature. Interestingly enough, there was little temperature difference between LaGuardia and Central Park on the hot days last summer, when it was very dry. This raises an interesting question: the environment of Central Park isn't physically like the rest of Manhattan by a long shot, wouldn't it be better to move the observation station to a more appropriate location like Times Square or Rockefeller Center?
The answer from the Weather Service is a resounding no, for several reasons. The most important of which is that there is no one representative location for Manhattan, let alone the entire city. The complex effects of the shape and orientation of the shorelines, topography and building height and density produce a rich variety of microclimates throughout the city. It is impossible to claim that one location is more representative of our local weather over any other location. The Weather Service also points out that weather observations have been taken at or near Belvedere Castle for 137 years, one of the oldest continuous observation sites in the country.
Current satellite and surface map from Intellicast.com.