Weather service: 'Enhanced threat' of wildfires on Long Island
Dry air, wind gusts possibly up to 40 mph and the lack of rain the past few days mean conditions are right for an "enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires" through early Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service said in a special statement.
Low humidity levels are drying out potential "fuel" -- such as dead leaves and grasses, pine needles, small branches -- and the wind would help spread a fire, were one to start, said Tim Morrin, weather service meteorologist in Upton. Brush fires are of special concern in the weeks leading up to "green up" when new, live leaves arrive, he said.
Similar weather conditions are expected Wednesday, with fuels having even more time to dry out, he said. Rainfall the past few days has been under one-quarter of an inch, the weather service said.
No precipitation is forecast until Friday, he said, when there's a 50 percent chance of a chilly rain, expected to start in the late morning and last through early evening, this as of Tuesday.
In addition, the area is seeing unseasonably cold temperatures, with highs Tuesday and Wednesday expected to reach the mid-40s, "a good 10 degrees below normal," he said.
The low Tuesday morning was 29 degrees, with the record low for the day set in 1987 at 27 degrees in Islip.