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Jul 23, 2019 2:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

South Fork Gets Thrashed By Extreme Weather

Kevin Reed, a Stony Brook University professor, delivered a lecture about extreme weather on Thursday at the Montauk Lighthouse.   ELIZABETH VESPE
Jul 23, 2019 3:35 PM

Extreme weather incidents hit eastern Long Island and the majority of the East Coast over the weekend and into the work week, leaving thousands without power.

An excessive heat warning and heat advisory were in effect for all of Long Island from noon on Friday until 8 p.m. on Sunday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Temperatures reached 92 degrees, with a heat index of 105 degrees, at the Montauk Airport and at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday, the hottest point of the weekend.

Elizabeth F. Flagler, head of external communications for PSEG-Long Island, said that the electric utility reached a peak day for the South Fork on Sunday, pumping out 283 megawatts of power. Saturday’s output reached 282 megawatts.

Ms. Flagler added that this weekend had the highest loads in several years, as there had not been a particularly hot weekend in a while.

Temporary generators in Montauk were deployed on Saturday from 1:39 to 6:31 p.m., and on Sunday from 2:40 to 10 p.m., to produce excess power to meet the region’s demand.

Following the scorching heat wave, on Monday evening into Tuesday morning, a fast-moving and powerful thunderstorm brought heavy rain and lightning, also causing tree branches and wires to come down.

According to Tim Morrin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Westhampton’s rain totals reached 1.9 inches within 24 hours, about half the average July rainfall of 3.89 inches for the entire month. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, East Hampton received 2.18 inches of rain within 24 hours.

Known flood areas such as the intersection of Gardiners Lane and Springs-Fireplace Road in Springs and Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton were filled with rainwater on Tuesday morning.

While PSEG had ample power capacity to handle the high demand for electricity during the heat wave over the weekend, the combination of extreme heat and heavy load caused some local, isolated equipment failures.

On Tuesday, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said a handful of homes in Hampton Bays went without power over the weekend because a transformer shut down due to overload.

“The beaches were crowded … there were some rescues as far as swimming, but nothing really heat-related,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

Although the towns of East Hampton and Southampton did not open cooling stations over the weekend, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said early this week that East Hampton had been prepared to do so if needed.

“I think the biggest impact was that people didn’t go out on their boats or out in their cars,” Mr. Van Scoyoc added. “They just hung inside in the AC or by the pool as long as they could, or stayed at the beach.”

The National Weather Service urged people to take extra precautions if they worked or spent time outside and to reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.

Mr. Van Scoyoc added that the Town of East Hampton had its generators fired up one day last week prior to the heat wave, when power was lost at Town Hall. “That, I think, was somehow related to the pressure on the grid,” he said.

An excessive heat warning is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel 105 degrees or greater. A heat advisory is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel as if it is 95 to 99 degrees for two or more consecutive days, or 100 to 104 degrees for any length of time.

Kevin A. Reed, a professor with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, delivered a lecture about extreme weather, including heat waves, to a crowded room at the Montauk Lighthouse on Thursday afternoon, July 18, as a part of the lighthouse’s Stony Brook Marine Science lecture series.

At the time he explained that the varying and extreme weather patterns we’ve been seeing are due to climate change.

“We know there is natural variability in climate. It’s not stable. But we are approaching values that haven’t been observed in the last million-plus years,” Mr. Reed stressed.

He explained that as the Earth’s surface warms, clouds and perception become “clumped,” narrowing the clouds and forcing radiation out to space. “As the atmosphere becomes more aggravated, it becomes drier,” he said. “But where precipitation does happen, there will be a higher frequency.”

Research shows that although the number of hurricanes and large storms will decrease in the future, the intensity of the storms will increase. In addition to yearly temperature increases, water level will rise due to melting ice in the Arctic.

“Extremes are changing,” Mr. Reed explained, adding that scientists project for hotter and more frequent heat waves, more frequent droughts with larger areas affected by droughts, and more intense hurricanes.

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Maybe our beaches could remain open till 7pm.
By auntof9 (153), Southampton on Jul 19, 19 11:14 AM
Any cooling stations going to be open in Town of Southampton?
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Jul 19, 19 2:29 PM
Plenty of them, all over town. Look for neon signs in the windows that say Budweiser, Guinness, Blue Moon, etc..
By VOS (1224), WHB on Jul 19, 19 6:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
Could you post if you see “free” in front of those beer signs?
By Fred s (2997), Southampton on Jul 19, 19 8:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
"We are approaching values that haven’t been observed in the last million-plus years..." Gee I had no idea we had weather stations recording temperatures in such detail that they could compare 4 day heat wave temperatures from a million years ago to a 4 day heat wave in 2019. Wonder who was manning those weather stations since humans weren't around...
Jul 23, 19 4:35 PM appended by localEH
It's so annoying when 27East's system double posts...
By localEH (423), East Hampton on Jul 23, 19 4:35 PM
"We are approaching values that haven’t been observed in the last million-plus years..." Gee I had no idea we had weather stations recording temperatures in such detail that they could compare 4 day heat wave temperatures from a million years ago to a 4 day heat wave in 2019. Wonder who was manning those weather stations since humans weren't around...
By localEH (423), East Hampton on Jul 23, 19 4:36 PM
This may be hard to believe, we have scientists who study climate. The take core samples from ice among other things. It’s amazing actually. They study sediment layers, it’s actually pretty cool. To dismiss the findings is up to you, intellectual curiosity is a thing, a good thing. One thing I do know, you can’t study sediment samples if your head is buried in it.
By Fred s (2997), Southampton on Jul 23, 19 4:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
localEH won't be happy until you show him a polaroid of a caveman holding a thermometer.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (7575), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 23, 19 4:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good article IMO.

The squall cell that came over Noyac, late yesterday evening, was one of the most intense I have ever witnessed in person.

Glad there were no lightning strikes or injuries apparently.



By PBR (4945), Southampton on Jul 23, 19 5:22 PM
North Sea 2 5/16" of rain this morning in just a couple of hours.....Sunday nights lightning show over the ocean was so intense that when the wind shifted cold to warm to cold I smelled ionized air. Intense.
By North Sea Citizen (561), North Sea on Jul 23, 19 5:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hot Tubs,SALE, Southampton Village, SouthamptonFest weekend