Three-year-old David Martinelli enjoys an unseasonably warm day at Heckscher...

Three-year-old David Martinelli enjoys an unseasonably warm day at Heckscher State Park. (March 22, 2012) Credit: Alejandra Villa

Temperatures on Long Island set records on two consecutive days this week -- this in a month that itself is on its way to being a record breaker.

The temperature at Islip hit 73 degrees at 1:03 p.m. Thursday, said David Stark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton. That broke the record high of 67 set in 2003, according to weather service data. And Wednesday saw a high of 72 at Islip, up from the record of 60 set in 1995, according to the weather service, which has records back to 1984.

As of Wednesday, the average temperature for the month was 46.3, which breaks the record of 44.7 set in 2010 for the same time period -- March 1 through 21, said Dan Hofmann, also a weather service meteorologist in Upton.

But, don't be too quick to pin this on global warming, said Brian A. Colle, a professor in Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Yes, temperatures have been rising gradually over the past 20 or 30 years, he said. But this week's abnormal highs are tied to an unrelated high pressure ridge from the tropics that's moved as far north as Canada, accounting for warmer temperatures for the month and especially "amplified" this week.

Day-to-day in Islip, four records have been broken so far this month, Hofmann said. In addition to this week's temperatures, March 12 saw a high of 65, up from the record 56 in 1990, and the high of 69 on March 14 topped the record 64 in 2002, he said.

And this March is well on its way to beat the record Islip temperature for the entire month -- 45.1 -- also set in 2010, he said.

"There is a high chance that we will do that," Hofmann said, though "a shot of cooler" but still average-temperature air is forecast for this weekend and early next week.

So, how do temperatures look for April, May and June? The weather service projects a 40 percent chance of above-average temperatures for those months, Hofmann said. Average high temperatures in April are 58, 69 in May and 77 in June, according to weather.com.

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