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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Weather Analysis

    Because 2002 was a warm year,with an average annual temperature of 52.7oF, almost three degrees aboveaverage, meteorologist Victor Cassella of the U.S. Department of Energy’sBrookhaven National Laboratory described last year’s Long Island weatheras ‘?beautiful!’ This past winter was rather mild, with more than ahandful of days reaching temperatures over 60oF, with only 5.5 inches of snow.This makes 2002 the year with the lowest seasonal snowfall since BrookhavenNational Laboratory started recording weather data in 1949.

    The summer also saw mildweather, with a below-average rainfall and sunny skies. Precipitation for theentire year, however, was 52.07 inches, which is above the annual average of48.5 inches.

    ‘?Higher than averagerainfall came late in the year, in September through December,’ Cassellaexplained. ‘?Also, while several hurricanes came up the coast, noneaffected Long Island in 2002.’

    In fact, two separateweather records were broken in Long Island in 2002. First of all, a mere 1.16inches of precipitation left February of 2002 as the driest month ever onrecord. Previously, February of 1980 held the record with 1.18 inches ofprecipitation. Additionally, with an average temperature of 51.4oF, 2002 heldthe warmest April on record since 1991. The temperature in April that year was51oF.

    One record-low dailytemperature and fifteen record-high daily temperatures were recorded in 2002.Temperature fell to the freezing point, 32oF, on May 19, which worried thosewho planted crops set to grow around that time. This beat the previous lowtemperature in May of 32.5oF for 1956.

    Record highs were recorded inJanuary, February, April, July and August as well. On January 29, thetemperature hit a high of 69.5oF, which is 11.5oF higher than the previousrecord, which was set in 1974. Additionally, on April 16, the temperaturereached 89.5oF, which is also 11.5oF higher than the previous record set in1976. On that day, which many Long Islanders recall particularly well, thetemperature reached 96.5oF that day, the highest maximum temperature for theyear.

    In contrast, thisyear’s snowfall has reached 16 inches already, which is above the averageamount of snow for the Long Island region at this time of year.

    ‘?More snow than rainis a safe forecast for the coming winter months, since the coldest weeks arestill ahead,’ said Cassella. ‘?I also predict we’ll also havea wetter and cooler spring than normal.’

    Cassella predicted in January2002 that the spring of that year would be wetter than usual, and he was righton target, since March through June were wetter than normal. In addition, oneyear ago he predicted a heavier snowfall than normal for this year, and so far,his predictions have been on the money.

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