Last month was Long Island’s hottest August on record, breaking the last one set in 1980, according to the National Weather Service’s regional office.
At an average of 77.7 degrees, the temperature was 4 degrees hotter than normal for the Islip measuring spot (73.7 degrees), the Island’s official climate site, the weather service tweeted on Saturday morning. The record was 77.4 degrees.
It wasn’t just Islip where August’s record was broken: Newark beat its highest average temperature by 4.1 degrees last month. That city’s average temperature in August was 80.5 degrees. The previous record was 80.4 degrees, set in 2005. Normal temperature in August for Newark is 76.4 degrees.
Across the region, there was also record-breaking — or near-record-breaking — warmth: in Central Park, where the temperature (79.3 degrees) was the third hottest on record. It was the fourth hottest at LaGuardia Airport (80.8 degrees) and the second hottest at Kennedy Airport (78.7 degrees).
“All sites had a top 5 warmest August with Newark, NJ and Islip, NY having their all time hottest August on record. We saw a widespread 3-4° above normal temp departure last month,” the tweet said of the locations covered by the regional office, which is based at Upton.
Records at Islip go back to 1963, and Central Park’s data goes back to 1869, said James Connolly, a metrologist at the weather service.
The averages were calculated by averaging the day’s high and low temperatures over the course of the month, he said.
“It was warm and dry,” he said of August’s weather.
Last month was also the driest August in 17 years, and all of Long Island has been upgraded to a severe drought status by federal monitors.
Daniel Zarrilli, former chief climate policy adviser to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and now a special adviser at Columbia University, said: “Every year, we are breaking new temperature records. Unfortunately, this upward trend is entirely consistent with what climate scientists have been predicting for years. If we hope to be able to cope with the changes that we’ve already caused, we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”
Higher temperatures mean “higher energy use, pollution, and more strains on the grid as people crank up the A/C” as well as “more health impacts among the most vulnerable as those who can’t afford A/C deal with the heat, especially as overnight lows get hotter and people can’t recover as quickly,” he said.
And it's not just in the New York region where records being broken. California is suffering through a historic heat wave, leading to the threat of rolling blackouts. In parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, forecasts call for record-setting temperatures — as high as 117 degrees.