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LI weather: Friday makes way for sunshine

Mike Cassella plays with his 10-month-old son, Mike

Mike Cassella plays with his 10-month-old son, Mike Jr., at Jones Beach. (June 1, 2013) Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Here comes the sun, and just in time for the weekend.

Although many days this wet June have begun with questions about whether and how much rain Long Island will get, Friday foreshadowed relief.

"Not anything more than a brief, possible sprinkle" is expected for early afternoon, followed by "thinning of clouds for this afternoon, and maybe even some sunshine," said Tim Morrin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Upton.

The service said a high rip current risk is in effect for ocean beaches until 9 p.m.

Look for a likely "full day of sun" Saturday, with high temperatures around 78, he said. That's followed by a sunny Sunday morning -- with highs in the upper 70s -- giving way to afternoon cloud cover and a 20 percent chance of showers late afternoon and evening, he said.

Thursday's initial prediction of anywhere between 1 and 3 inches of rain resulted in 0.96 inches recorded at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, that as the initial stage of rain "came in quite a bit lower" on Long Island with the "heaviest pockets" gracing central New York, he said. Merrick recorded 1.55 inches for the storm, Montauk, 1.49, and Centereach and Riverhead, 1.26, the weather service said.

Still, with a total of 7.68 inches of rain the first 13 days of the month in Islip, this is on track to becoming the wettest June, breaking the monthly record of 10.8 inches set in 2003 in Islip, where records date to 1985.

Records provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has tracked weather statistics since 1949, lists the high-water mark as 12.85 inches -- set in 1982. No matter which record you consider official, predictions are that soon it's all going to be a lot of water under the bridge.

Yes, the Island's strawberry crop is suffering, with some of those crops rotting in the fields, according to Joseph M. Gergela III, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, who said: "We need some sunshine."

As for other crops, just about anything planted at the lowest spots in a field will succumb to water that's collecting there, Gergela said on Thursday, while noting: "Crops in general are going to survive . . . One of the beauties of farming on Long Island is that we have a long growing season," meaning that farmers can make up for what's lost now in the next planting.

But while farmers, would-be beachgoers, vacationers and kids soon to be on summer break are no doubt not happy about all this seemingly relentless rain, some folks are making out.

Business has been brisk at area hardware stores -- people buying water pumps, gutter accoutrements and rain gear as they seek to deal with the month's rainfall.

At Trade Fair Hardware in Amityville, the store has "been selling a lot of water pumps, rain boots and rain suits," owner Valmore James said Thursday. "We actually sold out of rain suits today and I had to put in a new order. A lot of construction guys and people who work outside have been coming and buying those up."

In a 10-day period, 200 water pumps were sold at Costello's Ace Hardware in Bellmore, employee Jimmy DiNapoli, 69, said. On Thursday morning, the store also sold out of splash block stones -- flat, funnel-like devices that carry water away from a downspout, he said.

Frank Martocci, a co-owner of Abbey Rent-All, Hicksville, said his customers were concerned about water seepages in basements, so he's seen a need for fans and wet-dry vacuums.

Needless to say, the rain "messes" with landscapers' schedules," Jason C. Merz, president and owner of Metamorphosis Landscape Design Ltd., Smithtown, said. It's not just the rain day that's lost, he said. Soggy ground conditions affect work on following days, too.

This means that things get complicated, he said.

So many jobs involve coordinating with others, such as sprinkler, lighting, swimming pool tradespeople -- whose own work schedules are affected. "It's a tangled web," he said. Still, he said, most of his clients understand. "They're living on the same island we are."

With John Valenti, Fausto Giovanny Pinto, Candice Norwood, Gary Dymski and William Murphy


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