47° Good Afternoon
47° Good Afternoon
Long IslandNassau

Unseasonably warm Long Island weather to return to normal

Nanette Krockta, left, Marielle Krockta, 2, and Juliette

Nanette Krockta, left, Marielle Krockta, 2, and Juliette Krockta, 8, have a picnic at a Smithtown park. (March 20, 2010) Credit: Ed Betz

Long Islanders didn’t need to check a calendar yesterday to remind them it was the first day of spring.

Temperatures dip back into the low 60s Sunday, still higher than normal, as a cold front sweeps across the Northeast. Monday is forecast to see temps in the 50s with some rain on the way, then dropping to near 50 on Tuesday.

On Saturday Long Island MacArthur Airport hit a high of 71 degrees at 2 p.m., the National Weather Service said, smashing the previous record of 56 degrees in 1991.

The temperature broke the record by 8:56 a.m. It was the warmest March 20 since records began at the airport in 1986, said the National Weather Service’s Richard Castro.

The cloudless blue skies drew close to record numbers to state park beaches on the South Shore, with about 14,000 visiting Robert Moses and 18,000 going to Jones Beach, said state parks spokesman George Gorman.

The warm weather also gave golfers a chance to get back into the swing of things at Bethpage State Park, including friends Chris Reed, 48, and Mark Williams, 44, both of Glen Cove, who headed out around 5 a.m. for their first outing of the season.

“We needed to get out here. We had the shakes,” Reed joked.

“This weather is just perfect,” Williams said. “No humidity, no heat, and it’s so clear.”

The two city airports also saw record highs yesterday. Kennedy, where the previous record was 62 degrees in 1979, reached 70 degrees at 1:26 p.m. LaGuardia, where the record high was 71 degrees in 1959, reached 74 degrees at 2:42 p.m.

With Matthew Chayes