Pittsburgh Weather

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Today’s Pittsburgh Weather




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Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
3:06 pm, April 24, 2024
temperature icon 58°F
broken clouds
Humidity 69 %
Pressure 1017 mb
Wind 4 mph
Wind Gust: 11 mph
Sunrise: 6:27 am
Sunset: 8:08 pm

The Weather in Pittsburgh Today

One thing we all know about Pittsburgh’s weather… it’s unpredictable.  It can be raining in Brookline, sunny in Monroeville and windy in Mt. Lebanon… all on the same day.   Living with the weather in Pittsburgh takes skill.  If you don’t know the date, the weather in Pittsburgh can be very deceiving.   It’s 29 degrees and snowing…  you’d guess it’s winter.  However, I’ve been outside landscaping in MAY and that was the weather in Pittsburgh!




Pittsburgh’s Weather: From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

While many of us routinely check weather forecasts, we’re often met with adjectives like “severe,” “harsh,” or even “cataclysmic” to describe the climate. However, most of the weather we encounter is pretty typical and far from disastrous. Weather records have been maintained by the National Weather Service since approximately 1870, providing us with a glimpse into our meteorological history. Occasionally, we do experience weather extremes. Here’s a rundown of some of the most “intense,” record-setting weather moments in Pittsburgh.

Snow

Snow forms an integral part of Pittsburgh’s weather history.

The “Big Snow”

The “Big Snow” of 1950 did not earn its name in vain. During Thanksgiving week, from November 24-26, it snowed relentlessly, leaving behind a record 27.4 inches of snowfall.

Second Highest Accumulation

The second largest snowfall graced the region from December 16-18, 1890, covering the area with a thick 25.9-inch snow blanket.

Blizzard of 1993

More recently, the Blizzard of 1993 left the city covered in 25.3 inches of snow. Despite the snowfall, the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade continued, with snow plows leading the way.

The National Weather Service notes that the earliest recordable snowfall was on October 18, 1972, while the latest was on May 25, 1925, with half an inch.

Cold

Pittsburgh rarely experiences high temperatures of zero or below. But it’s not unheard of.

Coldest High Temperature

Three days share the record for the coldest high temperature in Pittsburgh: January 19, 1994; January 17, 1982; and February 9, 1899. All three days had a high temperature of -3 degrees.

Lowest Temperature on Record

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Pittsburgh was also on January 19, 1994. On that day, the mercury dipped to an extreme low of -22 degrees.

Heat

Heatwaves have also been a part of Pittsburgh’s weather extremes.

Hottest Days on Record

Three days share the record for the hottest day in Pittsburgh: August 6, 1918; July 10, 1881; July 16, 1988. All these days experienced a high temperature of a blistering 103 degrees.

Heatwave of 1988

The most recent significant heatwave occurred in 1988 when Pittsburgh experienced 13 consecutive days with a high temperature of 90 degrees or above.

Rain

Rainfall records have also been set and broken in this city.

Wettest Year on Record

The year 2018 holds the record for the highest annual rainfall, with a whopping 57.42 inches of rain. This is significantly higher than the average yearly rainfall of 38.10 inches.

Most Rainfall in a Day

The most rain ever recorded in a single day fell on September 17, 2004. The city was drenched with 5.95 inches of rain, remnants of Hurricane Ivan.

Tornadoes

While tornadoes are rare, Pittsburgh has had its share of these violent storms.

Tornado Outbreak of 1985

May 31, 1985, stands out as a particularly destructive day, with 21 tornadoes causing devastation in parts of Mercer, Crawford, and Venango Counties.

Tornadoes of 1998

Ignoring conventional wisdom that tornadoes don’t last long on hilly terrain, 14 tornadoes tore through the area on June 2, 1998. One even touched down on Mt. Washington, damaging about 850 buildings citywide.

The Weather In Pittsburgh:  Does Pittsburgh Have Floods?

Around 20,000 years ago, the last Ice Age gripped the planet. This period, known as the Wisconsin Glacial Episode, brought significant changes to the North American landscape, especially around the Pittsburgh region. The ice sheets advanced, covering parts of Canada, the Upper Midwest, and New England. This glacial episode drastically altered the region’s topography and set the foundation for future flooding events.

The Pre-Glacial River System

Before the advent of the glaciers, the Monongahela and Ohio rivers flowed northward into Lake Erie. The Allegheny River, formed by the convergence of three streams, also flowed in the same direction. However, as the glaciers advanced, they blocked the southern shores of Lake Erie, forcing the rivers to find alternate outlets.

The Formation of Glacial Lakes and the Change in River Courses

The ice-bound Lake Erie led to the formation of large pools at the mouths of the rivers and streams, causing back flooding. In what is now Moundsville, West Virginia, the Ohio River started flowing southwest. The Monongahela River, which previously flowed north, began depositing its silt into its lower reaches due to the flooding in the Lake Erie region.

As the ice cap began to melt and retreat, the Allegheny Basin filled up with glacial sediments left by the retreating ice sheet. These deposits, in some areas over 150 feet deep, contributed to the modern problems of flooding in the region.

The Recurring Menace: Floods in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has a long history of grappling with floods, primarily due to the geological changes brought about by the Ice Age. The city’s position at the confluence of three rivers also makes it vulnerable to flooding.

The Dangerous 24 Feet: Pittsburgh’s Flood Stage

The river level at the fork of the Ohio generally hovers slightly above the 15 to 16-foot mark. However, it’s not uncommon for Pittsburgh to reach a flood stage at least once a year. This usually happens due to heavy winter snowfall or a warm weather system that brings high rainfall along the river basins.

The flood level at Pittsburgh’s Point is set at 24 feet. If the river level rises above this mark, various parts of the city, including the North Shore Riverwalk and the 10th Street Bypass, start to flood.

Historical Floods: A Tale of Devastation and Recovery

Pittsburgh’s history is marked by numerous floods, some of which have been disastrously high, cresting over 40 feet. The city has experienced over 25 instances of river levels rising to 30 feet or more since the 1760s when river levels started being charted. The most devastating of these floods occurred in March of 1936, when the waters crested at a shocking 46.4 feet.

Floods are usually described statistically. While smaller floods can be expected on an average of once every one and a half years, larger, more damaging floods occur statistically once every 100 years, and truly devastating floods occur once every 500 years. Despite these statistics, Pittsburgh experienced seven 100-Year floods in the 20th Century alone.

The Fight Against Flooding: Measures and Controls

In response to the frequent flooding, Pittsburgh has put in place several flood control measures. These include a series of dams, locks, and reservoirs, which have significantly reduced the severity of major flooding in the region. However, even these measures can’t completely prevent flooding, highlighting the ongoing challenge the city faces.

The Snowy Side: Pittsburgh’s Tryst with Snowfalls

Pittsburgh is no stranger to snow. The city experiences significant snowfall almost every year, sometimes amounting to more than a foot. Such heavy snowfall can disrupt city life, but Pittsburghers have learnt to cope with these snowy periods.

Record Snowfalls: The City Under a White Blanket

Pittsburgh has witnessed four 20-plus inch snowstorms since the late 1800s. The most severe of these was the Thanksgiving Blizzard of 1950, which left the city under 27.4 inches of snow, paralyzing it for three days. The most recent major snowfall occurred in February 2010, when the city was covered with 21.1 inches of snow.

Searing Summers: When Pittsburgh Heats Up

Pittsburgh’s weather isn’t just about floods and snow. The city also experiences high temperatures and prolonged heatwaves. Temperatures above 90 degrees, coupled with high humidity, can make the city feel like a sweltering pot. The highest temperature on record in Pittsburgh was 103 degrees, recorded on July 16, 1988.

Tornados and Earthquakes in Pittsburgh Are Not That Common

While tornados and earthquakes aren’t common weather in Pittsburgh, the city has had a few encounters with these natural disasters. Since 1998, the city has experienced three tornados and a series of macro-bursts. The strongest tornado to hit the region in recent decades was an F2 tornado that struck Westmoreland County in 2007.

Pittsburgh has also experienced a few seismic events, albeit mild ones. The most recent tremor was in 2011, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in Richmond, Virginia.

The Silver Lining: Rainbows Over Pittsburgh

In the aftermath of storms and rain, Pittsburgh often witnesses a beautiful spectacle – rainbows. These bands of colors in the sky, caused by the reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light in water droplets, present a serene contrast to the city’s otherwise extreme weather conditions.

Pittsburgh’s climatic history is a tale of resilience and survival in the face of nature’s extremes. The city continues to prepare and adapt to these weather events, reinforcing its infrastructure and readiness to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.

What is Pittsburgh Weather Like in Spring?

Springtime in Pittsburgh is beautiful.  The sun is out, the birds begin to sing and the first few buds of spring flowers begin to show.    Oh… joy!  Spring fever in full bloom.   Then it freezes over.  Again.  What does that groundhog know, anyway?  Seems like nothing.  Because you never know what Spring weather in Pittsburgh can bring.  There have been years where we have freezing weather into May… see the video above!

What is the most amount of rain in Pittsburgh on a single day?

April showers bring May flowers, right?  Spring is usually known for rain, and the wettest month for Pittsburgh weather is historically May, with an average of 1.5 inches of rain falling on 11 days.  The single most rain to fall in a day in Pittsburgh on record is March 20th, 1996, when 1.73 inches of rain were recorded falling.



What is Pittsburgh Weather Like in Summer?

Summer… some say the best time of the year.  And yes… summer is beautiful in Pittsburgh.   However, the weather can be tricky.   Rain for days, and then blistering heat.   A couple years ago, we had the perfect summer for over a month!   You have to be ready for any kind of summer weather in Pittsburgh, so I’ve found that keeping a jacket and umbrella in my car at all times is a good tactic!

What is the hottest month in Pittsburgh?

The hottest month in Pittsburgh is July.  The average temperature reaches 83.4°F.  On record, the hottest day recorded at the Allegheny County Airport was 100.9°F on July 16th, 1988.




What is Pittsburgh Weather Like in Fall?

As summer begins to wane… Pittsburgh seems to hold for dear life!  It can stay hot well into September and October, only to freeze very quickly after Thanksgiving.  We are also looking for those fall colors, it seems from mid-August through late October before the actually show up.   For like 3 days.   Just kidding… but it really seems like a 3-day burst of incredible color and then…. snow.



What is Pittsburgh Weather Like in Winter?

Cold.  There.  That’s all.  Except that it rains and snows…. and then in December, usually around Christmas, it hits 50 degrees.  And winter usually lasts until it goes away… which can be April.  Or May.   And there are potholes.   Lots of them.   However… Pittsburgh weather, on a sunny day, is beautiful in winter.

What was the worst blizzard in Pittsburgh history?

pittsburgh weather

On November 24th, 1950, “The Great Appalachian Storm” roared through the midwest, dropping 27.4 inches of snow on Pittsburgh.  It happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, and the storm began on Friday, the 24th, continuing through Sunday morning, the 26th.   This storm was large enough to bring snow from Ohio all the way down into Georgia.  West Virginia, Ohio and Pittsburgh were hit the hardest.   Some towns around Pittsburgh experienced over 30 inches of snow.   Talk about winter weather!



A Few Things to Keep Handy for Pittsburgh Weather

Here are just a few things I’ve found helpful to keep in the trunk of my car or available in case the weather in Pittsburgh changes dramatically:

  1.  Rain coat or water proof jacket
  2. Umbrella
  3. Warm hat
  4. Baseball cap
  5. Ice-scraper
  6. Water proof boots or shoes
  7. Sweater or pull over
  8. Sunglasses

All of these things fit easily in the trunk of your car or close to the door.   Trust me…  you’ll be happy you prepared!




Pittsburgh Weather Averages – Month By Month




January

Pittsburgh weather in January is typically cold, with an average low of 21 degrees and an average high of 33.1.   This makes January the coldest month, on average, for Pittsburgh.  January is also the month with the most snow in Pittsburgh, averaging about 14 days and 3.3 inches of snow; it also rains about 9 days and 1.7 inches.



February

February is obviously a cold month for the weather in Pittsburgh, with temperatures ranging from an average low of 23.4 and high of 37.6.  Snow usually falls in February for about 10 days and reaches about 3 inches in total.  It also rains and average of 9 days and 2 inches in total.



March

March, the first month of Spring, is still a chilly month in Pittsburgh with the average high of 41.8 and low of 31.5.   It rains and snows in March, with average rain fall of 13 days and 2 inches, and average snow fall of about 7 days and 2.5 inches.



April

April’s weather in Pittsburgh starts to warm up a bit.  The average temperature is about 61 and the average low is 41.5 degrees.  You can get snow in April occassionally, with about 1.9 days and .16 inches in an average April.   With the highter temps, it rains more, of course, with average rain fall at about 16 days and 2.76 inches.



May

The weather in Pittsburgh really begins to warm up in May, with the average high of 71 and the average low of 51.  There is more rain than snow in the picture, with about 19 days and 3 inches of rain.  Those who think it doesn’t snow in May in Pittsburgh may want to watch the video at the beginning of this post!



June

June, the first month of summer, is moderately warmer in Pittsburgh, with average daily highs of 79 degrees and average lows of around 58.   Rain falls on roughly 17 days in June with about 2.76 inches accumulating.



July

The weather in Pittsburgh in July cranks up the heat index and the average temperature is about 84 with a low of 63.  July is generally the hottest month in Pittsburgh.  Rain fall averages about 18 days and 2.76 inches of accumulation.  There can also be long dry-spells in July.



August

The last of the summer months in Pittsburgh, August is another hot one, with average temps between 82 as the high and 61 as the low.  Somewhat less rain falls in August, with the average dropping to 16 days and about 2 inches.



September

Even though September is the first month of Fall, the weather in Pittsburgh remains relatively warm.   The average high temperature in Septmenber is 73 and the average low is about 56.  Rain fall averages around 13 days with 2.13 inches accumulating.



October

October weather in Pittsburgh starts to cool slightly, with average high temps at about 62 degrees and average lows of about 46.   You’ll see about 14 days and 2 inches of rain falling in October.   Yes… there can be snow as well, with the average of about 1 day of snow with less than an inch of accumulation.



November

November is when the weather in Pittsburgh begins to cool down significantly, with average high temps around 49 and lows about 34 degrees.  We start to see more snow fall in November, with 4 days and about an inch of snow.  Rain falls for about 10 total days and 1.5 inches.



December

The wintery month of December in Pittsburgh sees high temperatures chilling to an average of 39 degrees, and the lows averaging around 28.  Rain and snow in December in Pittsburgh are about equal, with each seeing about 10 days and 2 inches of accumulation.



[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What is the coldest month in Pittsburgh?” answer-0=”The coldest month in Pittsburgh is January, where the average high is 33.1°F and the average low is 21°F.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What is the hottest month in Pittsburgh?” answer-1=”July is the hottest month in Pittsburgh, where the average high is 84°F and average low is 63°F.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”What month in Pittsburgh gets the most rain?” answer-2=”May in Pittsburgh has the most rain, with an average of 19 days and 3 inches falling.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h2″ question-3=”What month in Pittsburgh gets the most snow?” answer-3=”January is the snowiest month in Pittsburgh, with about 14 days and 4 inches of snow falling.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h2″ question-4=”How much rain does Pittsburgh get every year?” answer-4=”Pittsburgh averages about 164 days and 27 inches of rain every year.” image-4=”” headline-5=”h2″ question-5=”How much snow does Pittsburgh get every year?” answer-5=”Pittsburgh averages about 48 days and 12 inches of snow each year.” image-5=”” count=”6″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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