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68 degree high in Islip Sunday smashes 25-year-old record

Jenna Harris, 23, of Shirley, takes a dip

Jenna Harris, 23, of Shirley, takes a dip in the surf during record breaking temperatures at Smith Point County Park beach on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

Long Island’s balmy December continued with a high of 68 degrees Sunday afternoon, breaking a 25-year-old record, according to the National Weather Service.

By 4 p.m. temperatures had climbed to 68 degrees in Islip, which “crushed the record” of 60 degrees set in 1990, said Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the Upton based service.

Predicted temperatures for Monday and Tuesday are expected to remain at near-record levels, but steady rain is expected Monday evening, clearing out by Tuesday morning, said Matt Hammer, a News 12 Long Island meteorologist.

Cold weather will eventually reach Long Island toward the end of the week, with Saturday’s high expected to be 42 degrees, said Carlie Buccola, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“It’s much more seasonable, but will feel a lot colder,” given the warm temperatures the region has had, Buccola said.

Some Long Islanders took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather by heading to local beaches and parks.

Hundreds of cars filled the Jones Beach Field 6 parking lot and scenes more familiar in summer days played out on the beach — kites flew overhead, in-line skaters rolled across the boardwalk, and a beachcomber waved her metal detector over the sand.

Steven Seidman, 46, an occupational therapist from Old Bethpage, said the day was “unbelievable” as he tossed a football to his kids a few yards from crashing waves of the Atlantic behind him.

“I’ll take a white Christmas, but 12 days before Christmas this is fine,” Seidman said.

Joanne Tan and her husband Ben lounged on beach chairs with newspapers Sunday afternoon.

“We’re die-hard beachgoers,” Joanne Tan, 61, a secretary from Port Washington, said. “We’re here as soon as it hits 55.”

It wasn’t just the weather that was unusual, Ben Tan, 53, a financial trader said.

“When you come down off season you never see this many cars,” he said. “To see it full like that, it’s surprising.”

But the next stop for the Tans was to pick out a Christmas tree. “That was our plan: go to the beach and get our tree,” she said.

With Laura Figueroa and David M. Schwartz

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