State Climatologist Sheds Some Light on the Record Cold Temperatures in NJ

Today’s low temperature in New Brunswick was 20 degrees, a record for Nov. 13 dating back to 1896, according to Dr. David A. Robinson, the New Jersey State Climatologist and a distinguished professor in the Department of Geography in the School of Arts and Sciences. The previous record was 23 degrees in 1920.

Today’s low was also the fifth coldest temperature on record in New Brunswick for so early in the season, according to Dr. Robinson, who oversees the Rutgers NJ Weather Network and helps coordinate the New Jersey Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Last Saturday’s low fell to 19 degrees and was the coldest for Nov. 9 on record at New Brunswick. Previously, it also dipped to 20 degrees on November 11 in 1905, 1956 and 2017.

“These surges of cold air into the eastern U.S. this past week are associated with an amplified and rather stationary jet stream pattern,” Dr. Robinson said. “This has brought above-average temperatures to western North America, where the jet stream is farther north than usual and a trough to the east, which is associated with the jet being farther south than normal. It is also fair to say that this eastern U.S. cold air mass is the coldest air relative to normal conditions than anywhere else on the planet.”

A record low temperature was also reported today in Trenton (21 degrees), according to the National Weather Service Office in Mounty Holly. A record low was set at Newark as well (22 degrees), according to the weather service office in New York.

“The persistent cold pattern is expected to change after this weekend, with more seasonable temperatures returning for the rest of the month, said meteorologist Steve Decker, associate teaching professor and director of the Meteorology Undergraduate Program in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

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