Long Islanders hit beach amid forecast of mild temperatures, high pollen counts

A blooming tree in Plandom Pond Park in

A blooming tree in Plandom Pond Park in Mahassett on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr)

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Long Islanders were out Saturday enjoying mild temperatures and dry skies that were expected to last through the weekend.

In midafternoon, temperatures hit 66 degrees at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, the National Weather Service reported.

At Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, Mark Bianchino, 50, of Smithtown, took the opportunity to put on his blue jean shorts, exercise and show off his 50-pound weight loss since October. Bianchino, who had open heart surgery two years ago, listened to music as he walked a four-mile round-trip of the boardwalk.

"I knew it was going to be warm out," he said. "It was about enjoying the weather and getting exercise."

It was a last-minute decision, but Emily Hagarty, 18, of Bellmore and a friend donned swimsuits to soak up the sun and lay on the sand, despite a chilly wind.

"We came out to relax and get tanned," Hagarty said. "We're getting ready for prom in June . . . This is the best weather we've had so far."

Prepared with iced drink in hand, packed lunch and flip flops, lifetime friends Nicole Zinerco and Kaitlyn Swist, both 24 and from Seaford, walked from the parking lot toward the sand and water.

"The weather is great, and we can finally get out of our houses," Swist said. "We can to sit on the beach and catch up."

But, while the forecast will stay mild, Long Islanders spending the weekend outdoors could face a new concern: high pollen counts known to trigger allergies.

The website pollen.com reports that pollen counts will reach "high" levels through Monday, sparked by warmer temperatures following the winter's severe cold and snow.

Doctors recommend that allergy sufferers begin taking antihistamines before symptoms start to arise.

Meanwhile, Joey Picca, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, said the forecast called for light winds and little chance for precipitation for Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The temperatures are expected to dip into the mid 40s on Saturday evening, slightly lower in the Pine Barrens, Picca said.

Sunday's forecast calls for much of the same, Picca said, with temperatures in the lower 60s and no precipitation.

With Ted Phillips

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