January on track to set weather records

The frozen Great South Bay is viewed through The frozen Great South Bay is viewed through icicles formed on the railings of a fishing dock in Sayville. (Jan. 8, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Barely a week in, January weather is on track to be one for the ages on Long Island.

Seven new daily records related to temperature and precipitation have been set at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, according to the National Weather Service.

The run of records is unusual, said Joe Pollina, meteorologist at the weather service in Upton, which has maintained records at the airport since 1984.

In a whiplash-like swing, the temperature dropped 48 degrees in a 24-hour period, from Monday morning to Tuesday morning. The frigid air is courtesy of the polar vortex -- the massive low-pressure system that swooped into the area.

Records were broken on:

Jan. 8, which saw a low of 7 degrees, surpassing the previous mark of 14 in 1986.

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Jan. 7, which also recorded a low of 7, breaking the previous mark of 13 in 1988.

Jan. 6, which saw .75 inches of rain, breaking the record of .67 in 2002.

Jan. 4, with a low temperature of 0, breaking the 2008 record of 10 degrees. It was the lowest temperature recorded at the airport in 26 years.

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Jan. 3, with record snowfall of 6.5 inches, surpassing 2.1 inches in 2010, as well as the lowest high temperature for the day of 18 degrees since the previous record of 20 set in 2008.

Jan. 2, with 4.7 inches of snow, up from the previous record of 3 inches set in 2010.

Before the weather service kept statistics, records for Long Island were maintained by the Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1949 to 1983.

While the weather set records, it also broke one hot dog vendor's bank Tuesday.

Erotokritos "Andy" Gemelos, 60, of Ronkonkoma, said Wednesday he again parked his truck on the South Service Road of the Long Island Expressway in Melville to serve his loyal customers, even though such brutally cold weather "is very, very bad for business."

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"I made $35 [Tuesday]," said Gemelos, owner of Andy's Hot Dogs, who runs three propane tanks on the truck -- for the stove, the refrigerator and the heater. "It cost me more to come out here."

There's good weather news for Gemelos, and other Long Islanders: Thursday's forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, with a high near freezing. The weather service said Friday's high should be 39 with a 30 percent chance of rain or snow.

In a further swing, forecasters are calling for heavy rain Saturday, and high temperatures in the low 50s. The rain may be accompanied by winds of 20 to 30 mph, gusting to "at least 50 mph," according to a hazardous weather outlook issued Wednesday by the weather service.

In other words, just another January day on Long Island.

With Priscila Korb

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