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Mild summer -- with a burst of rain -- replaced with moderate fall, forecasters predict

Hikers rest at Giant Ledge in Ulster County's

Hikers rest at Giant Ledge in Ulster County's Catskills in Shandaken. Credit: Newsday / Lorina Capitulo

The summer of 2014 will be recalled by Long Islanders, weather-wise, for its lack of hot, steamy days, as well as for a historic event in which 13.57 inches of rain fell at Long Island MacArthur Airport, breaking the New York State record for 24-hour rainfall.

That deluge -- the type expected once in a 200-year period, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center -- occurred Aug. 12 to 13, resulting in flooded roadways, yards and basements.

As for hourly rainfall, 5.34 inches fell from 5 to 6 a.m. Aug. 13 at the airport in Ronkonkoma, followed by another 4.37 inches from 6 to 7 a.m., according to the Climate Center. They may have come back-to-back, but each is considered a 500-year event, a Cornell University climatologist said at the time.

A minute-by-minute look shows that 1.08 inches of rain fell Aug. 13 at MacArthur between 5:39 and 5:47 a.m., the National Weather Service said on its website. By 5:54 a.m., 1.76 inches had been recorded.Lauren Nash, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, said at the time that "moisture streaming from the South" combined with a low-pressure system to drop heavy rain over central Long Island.

In what Tim Morrin, also a weather service meteorologist, called "an amazing swing," that heavy rain event pushed what would have been a 6.43-inch rainfall deficit for the airport's average meteorological summer -- June through August -- into a 7.14-inch surplus.

Indeed, with below-average rainfall continuing into September, the U.S. Drought Monitor puts Long Island in its least intense category, abnormally dry.Temperature-wise, the airport has not seen a day of 90 degrees or above since July 20, 2013, which is the second-longest run of no-90s in the 30 years that the weather service has been maintaining Long Island's official records at the airport.

This summer's average temperature was 72.5 -- or 0.8 degrees above the norm -- thanks in part to lows in June and July being higher than usual, Morrin said.

As for the first few days of fall, which began at 10:29 p.m. Monday, look for highs to be right on track near 70 degrees and dry, Morrin said, apart from a hint of possible rain on Thursday.

Longer term, the weather service's Climate Prediction Center indicates a slightly better chance in October for above-normal temperatures than for normal -- 54.3 degrees -- or below. Precipitation-wise, the prediction center says there's an equal chance of above, below or right at normal, which is 3.79 inches.

Leaves have yet to make any notable change on Long Island, according to the weekly fall foliage report on

Fall colors have started to emerge upstate, "with the most significant changes this weekend expected in some of the higher elevations of the Adirondacks and Catskills regions, and the Thousand Islands-Seaway region."

Closer to home, there's a 10 percent to 15 percent color change in northern Dutchess County, the report says, "with brightening leaves of yellow, gold and burnt orange."Depending on the species, the dry conditions can "affect autumn color richness," said Mina Vescera, landscape specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Still, she said that despite last year's dry summer and fall, "I recall the scarlet oaks giving a spectacular autumn show."

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