Dan Rattiner's Stories

Weather on Course: Plan for 6-Month Summer Is Underway

At the beginning of March, I formulated a plan for how we might have the longest and most wonderful summer season in the history of the Hamptons.

It all hinged on the fact that we had just come through the most miserable winter imaginable. All together, we had over five feet of snow. We also had, in February, the lowest average temperature in the history of weather records-keeping in Bridgehampton. Normal for February is 33 degrees. This past February it was 19 degrees. I don’t have to tell you. Brrrrr.

For my plan, everything had to hinge on that dramatic report from February. At the end of the year, everything averages out, of course. And so, with February down 14 degrees, I figured that we had at least 14 degrees to make up over the remaining 10 months to bring us back up to even. The key would be when to have them.

In our usual year, we have spring weather in May and June, then the swimming and sunbathing weather in July and August, and then autumn weather again in September and October.

What if we could arrange to make up those 14 degrees by sprinkling them into May, June, September and October? We’d have a six-month summer. We’d have temperatures in the 70s every night and temperatures in the 80s during the day. And we could truly boast of a six-month summer. Among other things, this would completely take our towns and villages by surprise as far as beach parking goes. At the present time, we only enforce rules for parking during the high season. We’d have crowds of happy people before that and after that down at the beach. And the parking would be free.

Specifically, what I ordered up was 4 degrees above normal in May, 4 degrees above normal in June, and 4 degrees above normal in September and then again in October.

And it’s happening.

I just got off the phone with NOAA, which keeps score of the weather in these parts. In March and April, I didn’t want any above average weather. In March and April we went further down into the negative, 7 degrees below normal in March and 1.4 degrees below normal in April. Add it all together, the amount to be made up is now 22.4 degrees. So we need 5 degrees above normal in the spring and fall instead of 4. I have the numbers for the first ten days of May. We’ve had the warm temperatures I had hoped for. The average temperature historically in May for the first ten days is 55.3. So far, we’re averaging 58.6.

The trees and flowers here are going nuts. They are trying mightily now to bloom after having buttoned themselves up tight all winter, and now you can hear them, buzzing and creaking and occasionally popping as buds open, and they were in full bloom on Memorial Day weekend as they were supposed to be.

Six-month summer, here we come. And if you tally it all up at the end of the year, it will have been just an average ho-hum year. A wide swing to cold in February, and 5 degrees too warm in May, June, September and October to make it all up.

Melissa Berger photographed the last Hamptons snowdrift on April 17—can anyone beat that?
Melissa Berger photographed the last Hamptons snowdrift on April 17—can anyone beat that?

RESULTS OF THE LAST SNOWDRIFT CONTEST
At the beginning of April (we had 9.6 inches of snow in March) I asked readers to send in photos of the last snowdrift standing. The one with the latest date stamp would win a prize. And the winner would be announced May 1 when, presumably, the last of them would have melted. The winner can be seen here. It was photographed by Melissa Berger on April 17 on Buckskill Road in East Hampton.

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