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Sixty-Something: Is The Hamptons Doing Spring This Year?

T.J. Clemente

I waited all winter for a beautiful springtime on the East End of Long Island. I enjoyed my winter with a few ski trips with my buddy Matt and a Mexican vacation with my wife Cindi but there is a certain magic just saying and feeling springtime when it's spring. This year has been a big disappointment because so far there really hasn't been a typical spring.

I love the story University of Virginia noted Historian Dumas Malone tells in his multi volume history of Thomas Jefferson (yes, I read all five). He reports that Thomas Jefferson loved the beautiful long amazing spring weather Virginia always has, still to this day. When Jefferson spent that first year of George Washington's Presidency in NYC, Jefferson actually rented a home at 57 Maiden Lane near Wall Street, while serving as Secretary of State, arriving in NYC on March 21, 1790. I love his quote, "New York does not have spring, it just goes from winter to summer."

This spring has seemed like one big rainy day. According to the USGA, "the coastal region of Long Island from 1901-2000 had an estimated average precipitation of 44.35 inches per year, however during the 2005-2010 index period the estimated average precipitation was 48.38 inches." The spring of 2019 will be above average without having to look it up.

On Long Island, February's average monthly total is 7.1 inches. Except in 2013 there was a record-breaking 31.4 inches. Last year February Long Island rainfall came in at a healthy 2.95 inches above normal and tied the month's wettest record. I believe that trend stretched into March and April of 2019.

As the oceans continue to warm, experts like climatologist Jessica Spaccio, who is with the Northeast Regional Climate Center located at Cornell University, expects the region to get wetter and with overall warmer conditions, she reportedly said, "We are seeing fewer days with snow on the ground, as we are seeing more midseason warm-ups and a shorter snow season." 2019 sure has fit that bill.

Years ago my youngest brother John lamented that "There is no worst place to be during rain than the Hamptons." He was in his early twenties and he and some friends had rented a home for the summer in Southampton (early 1980's) and it just rained every weekend that summer. When I lived in East Hampton Town for 10 years, I thought of him every time it rained. However having a dog meant getting outside for walks a few times a day, rain or shine. My beagle helped me adapt to being outside during the rain.

I remember my four years of being part of the team that delivered the East End's largest weekly magazine fondly. However the flash flooding on roads like Scuttlehole Road where epic, with cars almost completely submerged in low locations in no time at all. I still deal with the massive flooding getting to my sailboat on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton. It is annoying when it happens a few times a year. The Town had made efforts to alleviate that flood zone. Yet it still floods.

According to the MacArthur Airport Rainfall charts for 2019, as of this writing it has actually rained half the days of May 2019. Yet the flowers are out, the tree blossoms are giving way to becoming green leaves and the sunflowers are now coming up strong in our garden. So spring has sprung. It just wasn't the one I envisioned when it was below freezing and the northwest Canadian winter wind was blowing hard.

I look forward to sharing about my first swim in the ocean for 2019 as well as my first sail in Gardiner's Bay soon. Yet standing in rain with the temperature in the high forties and low fifties makes one wonder when that just might be?

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