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Long Island remains in ‘moderate drought’ despite rain

A man gets caught in the rain in

A man gets caught in the rain in Huntington Station on Friday, July 1, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

More than 1 inch of rain fell at Long Island MacArthur Airport overnight Monday to Tuesday.

The 1.16 inches of rain could be seen as reason for a little applause. The showers “brought some much needed rain to the region,” said a Facebook post from the National Weather Service, which has maintained records for the airport since 1984.

But don’t put away your lawn sprinklers just yet.

It’s a help, said Faye Barthold, a weather service meteorologist in Upton. But several more such widespread storms would be needed to address the dry conditions lingering since March.

Since then, the area has registered below-average monthly precipitation four months in a row, accounting for Long Island’s moderate drought, the least intense drought category of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

June got 1.13 inches of rain, 3.14 inches below the monthly norm, making it the third driest June on record, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center, based at Cornell University.

For the period from March 1 through day-end Monday, the airport got 10.46 inches of rain, 6.76 inches below normal for that time frame, says Samantha Borisoff, climatologist with the regional center.

As for what may be behind the dry conditions, she pointed to high pressure ridging, which was especially dominant in March and June, meaning fewer storm systems. Also, the “precipitation from thunderstorms is variable,” meaning that some spots in the path of a strong storm can get drenched while neighboring locations see far less rainfall.

June’s temperature, however, averaged 69.1 degrees for the month, just 0.7 above the monthly norm.

As for the days ahead, we’re looking at “hazy, hot and humid conditions” for Wednesday and Thursday, said Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.

As for any possible drenching, “the probability of widespread significant rainfall mid to late week is low,” the weather service said in its forecast discussion.

A look further ahead shows that conditions for July overall are favoring a 40 to 50 percent chance for above-normal temperatures for the region that includes Long Island, according to the Climate Prediction Center. The airport’s average temperature for the month is 73.9 degrees.

As for precipitation in July, there’s an equal chance for above, below or right about normal.

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