Go ahead. Step outside and feel that fresh breeze against your bare, jacketless arms. Yes, June is the month many Long Islanders have been dreaming of, as summer officially arrives.
By month’s end, we see normal daily highs reach the 80-degree mark, so, bring on those beach hats and boating excursions. The warming temperature “reflects the longer hours of daylight,” leading up to June 21 when the switch officially flips from spring to summer, said Bill Korbel, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.
“On that day, the sun is at its highest in the sky” for us in the Northern Hemisphere, he said, meaning more than 15 hours of daylight for Long Island. (Of course, for the pessimists, this does also mark the gradual shortening of the daylight stretch, just smidge by smidge.)
Precipitation is also a hallmark of June, says Korbel, pointing to showers and thunderstorms, which may sound familiar, as May appears to have jumped the gun with that.
How about this year?
Look for the first week of June to be fairly typical, Korbel said, with near normal temperatures and a couple of days with showers and thunderstorms. "Starting the second week, it will turn warmer and more humid," he said, and yes, "showery weather will continue from time to time."
WHAT’S NORMAL, WHAT’S NOT
The month starts out with normal daily highs of 72 degrees and overnight lows of 55 degrees at Long Island MacArthur Airport. By month's end, that's 80 degree highs, with 64 the low.
But temperatures have risen as high as 96 degrees in 1966 and 1994, and dropped as low as 42 — four times! — in 1967, 1972, 1976 and 2009.
On average, the month sees 4.27 inches of precipitation.
But, it’s recorded as much as 10.80 inches in 2003.
And as little as 0.58 inches in 1988.
Not even a trace has been recorded.
We scoured our archives — and memories! — and here are some of the most notable weather events and how Newsday covered them at the time.
Ordinarily we want weekend weather described as awesome or gorgeous.
But back in June 1983, Newsday’s “It was fine!” headline was accolade enough.
That was following 14 weekends — three and a half months’ worth — that saw rain.
There was no question what sun-deprived Long Islanders would do, Newsday reported.
“They headed for the great outdoors — to sleep on the beach, picnic in the park, work in the yard, sit on the porch, stroll along the boardwalk, to do anything, anywhere as long as it was something, somewhere in the sunshine.”
“If you’re not out in the sunshine today, you’re nuts,” said one Farmingdale woman at Jones beach with friends on that 89-degree day, “along with just about everyone else in New York.”
Had a Jones Beach park superintendent been tasked with writing the Newsday headline, he likely would have been more effusive. "It wasn’t just a good day,” or even a great day, he said. “It’s an outrageous, completely abnormal, fantastic day.”
Of course, if beaches were crowded on that sunny day, parking lots — not totally open — were full to capacity, and drivers in vehicles not so sophisticated as today’s found theirs overheated while idling in traffic.
One man who did make it to the beach told of one such motorist, who was bored, “so he made a sign that said, “Yeah, No Rain.”
Others seeing that on the back of his car “cheered and honked their horns, because Mother Nature finally put the sun back in Sunday.”
It was just over 30 years ago that pioneering students fought for and won a concession related to hot weather and attire.
On a 95-degree day, students at West Babylon High School took the revolutionary step of wearing shorts to school. For this, they were sent right home to change into clothing, warmer but better aligned with the school’s rule book.
However, with an eye to changing school policy, around 50 returned to school, Newsday reported, chanting outside the entrance, “WE WANT SHORTS, WE WANT SHORTS.”
This, on the final day of a heatwave — meaning at least three days in a row to see 90 degrees or above.
One student, who had respectfully changed into long Levi's, said that, “If it is too hot to wear pants, we should be able to wear shorts.”
A school official made the case that, “We have always appealed to students to have business-like attire to train them for the workforce.”
Still, the students prevailed, as, after speaking to a small group, officials agreed to lighten up and allow shorts if temperatures were expected to pass 90 degrees.
We get plenty of showers and thunderstorms in June, some packing damaging winds and hail.
Tornadoes are a rarity. Yet, there it was, a twister later confirmed as an F0, the weakest on the scale, right there touching down late afternoon in the Cherry Grove community on Fire Island.
Lasting less than a minute, at least on land, it created a damage path 20 yards wide and a tenth of a mile long, according to National Weather Service meteorologists who assessed the scene.
Damage was “limited to awnings, windows, roofs and trees,” right near the ferry terminal, according to their report.
At 5:23 p.m. that day, the weather service’s Upton office warned those in the central Fire Island area to “take cover immediately,” as Doppler radar was showing a “very severe thunderstorm” — one that could produce a tornado — was heading their way.
The twister was born in a “thunderstorm complex” that brought severe wind damage to southeast New York, with an automated weather station at the Fire Island Coast Guard station recoding a gust of 56 mph.
Elsewhere that day, funnel clouds, meaning not touching ground, were spotted from Bayville to Syosset, as well as in Huntington.
Winds took down trees all over western Suffolk and northeast Nassau, Newsday reported, with a couple disrupting service at the Long Island Rail Road’s Pinelawn and Smithtown stations.
A Melville resident, whose roof got slammed by a falling 40-foot maple tree, said, “we’re very lucky,” as no one was home at the time.
“It’s probably a couple grand in damage,” he said. “What are you going to do? It’s Mother Nature.”
NOTABLE DAYS AND HOW THEY'VE FARED
Father’s Day, this year on June 16
Normal high is 77 degrees, but the day did warm up to 92 degrees in 1991 and fell to a record low of 46 degrees in 1997. The most precipitation was 1.31 inches in 1985.
First day of summer, this year on June 21
Normal high is 78 degrees, but the day did warm up to 95 degrees in 2012 and fell to a record low of 47 degrees in 1968. The most precipitation was 0.96 inches in 2003.
Records and normals are based on data for Long Island MacArthur Airport going back to September 1963.
Sources/research: Northeast Regional Climate Center; National Weather Service, Upton; Newsday librarians
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