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NJ WEATHER: Looking Back at A Sticky August and Hot Summer


Dr. David A. Robinson

NJ State Climatologist

NJ Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers University


Whether the thermometer was reading high or low this August or whether rain was falling or not, one factor that most always had to be considered was the high level of humidity. The “Dog Days” of summer indeed. Of course, there was much else to consider this month, including contributions of rain from two tropical storms, one of which brought the largest crests on some rivers since May 1, 2014, 11 days where one or more locations received at least 2.00” of rain, and 16 days where the high temperature reached 90° or higher somewhere in the state.

Adding up all the rainfall, the statewide monthly average was 6.87”. This is 2.30” above the 1991–2020 normal and ranks as the 15th wettest August since 1895. The northern climate division led the way with 7.89” (+3.33”, 11th wettest), followed by the coastal area with 6.65” (+2.05”, 21st wettest), and the southern division at 6.21” (+1.64”, 27th wettest).

The statewide average temperature of 75.9° is 2.3° degrees above normal and ranks 4th warmest (Table 1). Seven of the top 10 and 13 of the warmest 20 have occurred this century. The warmth was most strongly a function of elevated nighttime temperatures, which, for NJ, averaged 66.9°. This is 3.6° above normal and ranks 2nd warmest. The maximum temperature averaged 84.9°, some 1.1° above normal and ranks 18th warmest.

Rank Year

  1. 1  2016

  2. 2  2018

  3. 3  2005

  4. 4  2021

  5. 5  2002

  6. 6  1980

  7. 7  2020

7 2001 7 1955

10 1988

Aug. Avg. Temp. 76.9° 76.8° 76.4° 75.9° 75.8° 75.6° 75.5° 75.5° 75.5° 75.4°

Table 1. The 10 warmest Augusts across New Jersey since 1895.

Precipitation and Storms

As is commonly the case during summer months, rainfall totals varied widely across NJ this August, by a factor of four from wettest to driest locations. Still, as seen in Figure 1, the majority of the state received above-average rainfall, the wettest areas scattered in north, central, and central coastal areas. The lowest totals were in the southwest and along the north and south coasts. Top honors went to two stations in Stafford Township (Ocean County) with 11.89” and 11.20”. Next was Ringwood (Passaic) at 11.57”, West Milford (Passaic) 11.29”, Bedminster (Somerset) 11.15”, Far Hills (Somerset) 10.99”, Plainsboro (Middlesex) 10.82”, Long Beach Township (Ocean) 10.80, Rockaway Township (Morris) 10.75”, and Mine Hill Township (Morris) 10.74”. Woodstown (Salem) saw the least rainfall with 2.38”, followed by Pennsville (Salem) 2.76”, Manasquan (Monmouth) 3.40”, South Harrison (Gloucester) 3.42”, Moorestown (Burlington) 3.43”, Point Pleasant Beach (Ocean) 3.58”, and Franklin Township (Gloucester) 3.61”. Thus, the top ten wettest stations were found in five counties while the seven driest stations were also found in five counties. Stations in Ocean County were found in both categories.