To Camille Amato's surprise, hundreds hit the sand and water Friday at Jones Beach State Park.
"I thought it would be a quiet day at the beach," Amato, 55, a life coach from Queens, said from the boardwalk as she surveyed the hordes of blankets and bodies. "Considering it was a weekday, I thought it would be a much lighter day in terms of crowds."
The beach weather drove many Friday to make their first trip this year to Jones Beach. A group of teens took advantage of their traditional "senior cut day," tossing footballs and Frisbees. Older couples strolled the boardwalks. One man in sunglasses tried out his e-reader, and a toddler stood on a child-sized lounge chair to point at passersby.
They were enjoying a high-pressure system dubbed the "Bermuda High," said meteorologists at the National Weather Service.
"We can't make it to the beach, so the beach comes to us," joked meteorologist Dan Hofmann from the service's Upton office.
The large, subtropical air mass that rests over the western North Atlantic near the islands for which it is named, often leads to several days of summer warmth for portions of the East Coast, said John Cristantello, another meteorologist in Upton.
Yesterday's high reached 89 just before 11 a.m. at Brookhaven National Laboratory, higher than the normal 70s for the day but short of the 1987 daily record of 94.
The summer temps will linger this weekend, which should be a few degrees cooler, and then thunderstorms and rain may move in Sunday night, the service said.
What can Long Islanders expect for June, July and August? A 43 percent to 46 percent chance of above-average temperatures, the service said. The average for those three months is in the low 70s.
Though it was hotter than normal, Jones Beach appeared to be regaining its stride Friday, with its first concert since superstorm Sandy. The opening night bill had Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope.
Frank Hernandez, 39, took in the normalcy after driving more than an hour from Westchester.
"It was worth it," said the paralegal.
He tried out his new e-reader and also looked for any Sandy damage.
"Everything seems pretty much normal . . . like you couldn't tell there was any damage," Hernandez said.Others too made a point to survey the shoreline, boardwalk and dunes, relieved that the beach they had known for years still felt familiar.When Anela and Anthony Vukelj heard the beach was open, they skipped the pool and took their two toddlers to the sand. The Queens family found a patch of less crowded beach, which Friday meant not far from the next party's blanket.Son Ethan, 1, pointed at people, while daughter Juliet, 2, shoveled sand into a red bucket.
Their mother Anela Vukelj said she loved the beach: "It keeps them distracted."
With Gary Dymski, Patricia Kitchen and Ellen Yan