Brookhaven Lab Reports Record-Breaking Weather in 2005

UPTON, NY - Long Island was spared the fury of 27 hurricanes and tropical storms that developed in the Atlantic in 2005, including devastating Hurricane Katrina, but local weather was far from normal. According to records kept at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, January brought record snowfall of 29 inches, beating the previous record, set in 1948, by three inches. The year brought the hottest August on record, with an average temperature of 76.2 degrees Fahrenheit (F), 1.9 degrees higher than the previous record set in 2003. In October, record rainfall of 22.14 inches soaked the ground, causing local flooding.

"October 2005 was by far the wettest month in the last 57 years that the Lab has been keeping weather statistics, with almost double the amount of rain recorded in any October, and easily beating the previous monthly 13.01 inches of record rain in January 1979," said Victor Cassella, a Brookhaven Lab meteorologist. "We received 17.23 inches of rain in five consecutive days, from October 10 to 15, with 9 inches on October 14. Only in 1954, when Hurricane Edna dumped 9.02 inches of rain, did we get more than that amount of rain in one day."

Graph of 2005 precipitation data

Cassella said the 2004-2005 snow season brought 78.5 inches of snow, the second snowiest season ever recorded. In the 1995-1996 season, 90.8 inches of snowfall was recorded at the Lab. But 2005 was the third consecutive year of more than 60 inches of snowfall, a pattern that has never been seen previously in the Lab's records. The average yearly snowfall in the area is 31.2 inches.

The yearly average temperature for 2005 was 51.9 degrees F, 1.8 degrees warmer than average. Eight new daily high temperatures were set in 2005. On January 13, the thermometer climbed to 57 degrees F, beating the record set in 1992 by one degree. July 26 brought a record high of 93.5 degrees F, one-half degree higher than the 1989 record. August 3, 4, and 12 brought temperatures of 96.5, 93, and 92.5 degrees F respectively, beating records of 96 degrees in 1975, 91 degrees in 1989, and 91 degrees in 1988. September, a warmer than average month, also brought three new record highs on the 12, 13, and 15, with temperatures of 92.5, 91.5, and 83 degrees F respectively. Previous records for those dates were 91.5, 88, and 81 degrees F.

Cassella predicted last year that 2005 snowfall would be normal to slightly above normal and that we would have a pattern of extreme temperatures during the year - a partially accurate prediction. For 2006, Cassella predicts another year of above-average snowfall. Also, he warns that people should be prepared for hurricanes on Long Island. "We've recently had some very active hurricane seasons," he said. "Even though we've been spared from hurricanes over the last several years, we have to be prepared for the one that does make its way to Long Island."

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