It's that time of year, when we recap, summarize, and reminisce. And what a year of weather 2023 brought us! This is part of a series analyzing New Jersey's temperatures, precipitation, snowfall, and top weather events across the year.

There were some stretches of record heat and record cold along the way. But were there any true "extremes" on either side?

A graph of daily high/low temperatures for Newark Liberty International Airport. Note the early February cold snap, mid-April heat wave, sustained summertime warmth, and volatile September. (ACIS)
A graph of daily high/low temperatures for Newark Liberty International Airport. Note the early February cold snap, mid-April heat wave, sustained summertime warmth, and volatile September. (ACIS)
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I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation using data from the Office of the NJ State Climatologist. And it appears that 2023 is trending to be about New Jersey's 4th hottest year since detailed record-keeping began in 1895, with a January-November average temperature of 56.8 degrees. That falls behind 2012 (57.3), 2020 (57.2), and 2010 (56.8). Average is 53.5 degrees. New Jersey's coldest Jan-Nov on record was 1904 at 49.8 degrees.

That notable 4th-place ranking was primarily driven by the mainly snowless winter that began the year. January 2023 was the warmest January on record. February and April both tied for 3rd warmest.

Let's dig deeper into NJ's temperature stats for the year. For the remainder of this analysis, I will be relying on data from the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS), a product of the Northeast Regional Climate Center. I will be using only high-quality, quality-controlled weather stations that reported temperatures on at least 90% of days.

Yes, I know 2023 is not over yet. This initial analysis is for January 1 to December 3. It's not a perfect research study, but it will do. I plan to update this post when the record books for 2023 are closed.

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The Hot Spots

In terms of mean daily average temperature, what was the hottest corner in New Jersey in 2023?

No contest. And no big surprise, to me at least. The weather station at Newark Liberty International Airport — which is technically in Elizabeth, Union County — averaged 60 degrees across the year. I have previously written about Newark's wonky thermometer, likely a product of the extreme urban heat effect there.

Here are the top ten warmest places in NJ in 2023:
1.) Newark Liberty International Airport, Elizabeth, Union County — 60.0°
2.) Cape May, Cape May County — 59.8°
3.) Seabrook Farms, Cumberland County — 59.1°
4.) Atlantic City, Atlantic County — 58.9°
5.) Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Galloway, Atlantic County — 58.8°
6.) Margate, Atlantic County — 58.6°
7.) Estell Manor, Atlantic County — 58.5°
8.) Harrison, Hudson County — 58.3°
9.) Atlantic City International Airport, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County — 57.8°
10.) Teterboro Airport, Bergen County — 57.7°

You may be surprised to see so many coastal towns listed here. But it's the Law of Averages at work here. While our forecasts often call for it to be "cooler at the Shore," increased humidity keeps nighttimes warmer than inland areas throughout the year. The southern coast is often the warmest spot during winter days too.

The Cool Spots

As you might suspect, elevation and latitude play huge parts in delineating the chilliest places to be in New Jersey. And for the entire top ten list, we are heading to North Jersey.

The coldest weather station in 2023 was Highland Lakes in Sussex County. It's way up north, about 5 miles from the New York state border. And at an elevation 1,363 feet. Mean average temperature for the first 337 days of the year comes to 51.8 degrees.

The rest of the top ten fall far behind:
1.) Highland Lakes, Sussex County — 51.8°
2.) Schooley's Mountain, Morris County — 53.5°
3.) Charlotteburg, Passaic County — 53.7°
3.) Sussex, Sussex County — 53.7°
5.) Sussex Airport, Sussex County — 53.9°
6.) Belvidere Bridge, Warren County — 54.4°
7.) Wertsville, Hunterdon County — 54.9°
8.) Boonton, Morris County — 55.0°
9.) Flemington, Hunterdon County — 55.1°
9.) Phillipsburg, Warren County — 55.1°

The Hottest Day

We can also look at temperature statistics from the perspective of the absolute hottest (and coldest) the thermometer got in NJ this year.

Of the 44 stations in my official analysis, the hottest high temperature award goes to Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, which hit 99 degrees on September 7, 2023. Yes, the hottest day of the year was actually after Labor Day.

It is worth noting that one weather station — a U.S. Forest Service sensor at Fort Dix, Ocean County — hit 100 degrees on that same day, September 7. The only triple-digit reading I could find in the entire state in 2023.

High temperatures for September 7, 2023. (PRISM / Oregon State University / NJClimate.org)
High temperatures for September 7, 2023. (PRISM / Oregon State University / NJClimate.org)
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Hightstown and South Jersey Regional Airport (Lumberton) hit 98 degrees in early September.

Two more notable heat waves occurred in early and late July, which pushed numerous weather stations across the state to 97 degrees.

Another notable high temperature point, there were two weather stations in the state that did not hit 90 degrees at all in 2023. Highland Lakes and Atlantic City maxed out at 88 degrees, again in early September.

The Coldest Day

On the flip side, New Jersey's coldest temperatures of 2023 almost exclusively happened between February 3 and 5.

Highland Lakes takes the prize again, for dropping to -7 degrees on February 4. Belvidere Bridge hit -6 degrees, Sussex dropped to -4 degrees, and Charlotteburg Reservoir chilled out to -3 degrees on February 5.

Every corner of the state dipped into the teens (or colder) at some point this year.

Comparison to Other Years

Recapping temperature stats for 2023: 4th hottest year on record overall, with a mean average temperature 56.8 degrees. Statewide temperatures ranged from -7 to 99 degrees.

Despite some intense summertime heat, last year, 2022, was the 12th warmest year on record. Mean average temperature 56.1 degrees. Statewide temperatures ranged from -7 to 102 degrees.

In the state's most sweltering year on record, 2012, the mean average temperature was 57.3 degrees. The range of temps was -1 to 104 degrees.

And looking at the state's coldest year, 1904, the mean average temperature was 49.8 degrees, with an impressive temperature range of -30 to 100 degrees.

New Jersey's all-time record high temperature occurred at Runyon, Middlesex County on July 10, 1936. The thermometer hit 110 degrees in the shade.

The state's all-time record low was -32 degrees at Layton, Sussex County on January 14, 1912.

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

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Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

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