For the second year in a row, the weekend before Memorial Day not only broke daily temperature records but was the warmest weekend in May’s history.
The records just weren’t in the categories we’re accustomed to measuring.
Atlantic City International Airport and Millville had the warmest weekend low temperature stretch of any point in recorded history. The two-day period averaged out to 69 degrees at ACY and 67.5 degrees in Millville, which tied first place alongside May 26-27, 1991, as well as May 30-31, 1987.
Daily low temperature records were set Sunday for both locations, falling only to 70 degrees at ACY and 69 degrees in Millville. On Saturday, ACY also set a daily record low, at 68 degrees.
Frank S. Farley State Marina in Atlantic City also set a record warm low temperature, dropping to just 66 degrees. However, their weekend low temperatures were not enough for a record.
Those figures, roughly 15 degrees above the 1991-2020 climatological average for the weekend, were well before when those lows are typically seen.
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At ACY, the average first 70 degree or greater night is June 19. The first low temperature of the year as mild as what the Atlantic City marina and Millville saw Sunday is roughly 2½ weeks after May 22.
Including all May days, Millville had the second warmest two-day stretch of low temperatures.
ACY had the fourth balmiest such period. The low temperatures were more seasonable for Charleston, South Carolina, this time of year.
It wasn’t just low temperature records that fell over the weekend. High temperature records fell Saturday in Millville (93 degrees) and Lower Township (91) and tied at ACY (93).
Last year, the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day weekend brought the hottest May weekend to ACY and the Atlantic City marina when it came to high temperatures.
Atlantic City hit 90 that Sunday, the earliest date to do so since 2000.
This past weekend may be the hottest one of 2021.
Weather records at ACY and Millville date to the 1940s. Lower Township’s observations date to the 1890s. The Atlantic City marina has one of the longest, continuously operated weather observations in the country, dating to 1874.
The warm, muggy nights can be attributed to an incredibly warm pocket of air about a half mile above the surface. With a southerly wind, dew points well into the 60s and that very mild air aloft, temperatures were slow to cool during the nighttime hours.
No record heat, or chill, is expected for the rest of the week and into Memorial Day weekend. Temperatures are expected to stay in the cooler than average 60s through Thursday on an onshore wind. Winds will then turn to the south for the holiday weekend, which will put temperatures into the more seasonable 70s.
More temperature records may fall this summer. Warmer than average temperatures are more than likely to occur during climatological summer, June, July and August, the warmest three months of the year for the state. Most of that heat should be focused on July and August. It is fairly likely that summer winds up wetter than average after a March and part of April that saw those south of the White Horse Pike in drought.
For the fifth decade in a row, South Jersey has seen an increase in warmth when it comes to 30-year climate averages. The numbers are updated every 10 years, most recently to the 1991 to 2020 average. The new averages show a roughly 0.6-degree increase in temperatures at Atlantic City International Airport compared with the 1991 to 2010 average, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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Most of that came with average high temperatures, which saw a 1.2-degree jump. Low temperatures saw a 0.2-degree increase.
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