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PSEG Long Island is prepared for a storm that is forecasted to bring gusty winds and rain throughout its service area Wednesday morning into Thursday.

The weather system could bring rainfall of more than half an inch in certain areas, along with peak wind gusts of 40-60 mph across the service area — enough to potentially topple trees, bring down branches on wires and cause outages.

PSEG Long Island has personnel ready to respond safely and as quickly as possible throughout the storm.

“PSEG Long Island is closely monitoring this latest weather front and we are prepared for potential impacts on the system,” said Michael Sullivan, vice president of Electric Operations at PSEG Long Island. “We have performed system and logistic checks, and have a full complement of personnel who will mobilize for restoration in foul weather conditions. Our crews will work to safely restore any outages as quickly as conditions will allow.”

Customers are asked to note the important storm safety tips below and to visit psegliny.com/safetyandreliability/stormsafety for additional storm preparation information.

Customer Safety:

  • Downed wires should always be considered “live.” Stay as far away as possible from them, and if possible keep others, children, and pets away from the wire. Do not drive over or stand near any downed wire. To report a downed wire, call PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number at 800-490-0075 or call 911.
  • Electric current passes easily through water. If you encounter a pool of standing water, stop, back up and choose another path.
  • Never use a generator or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance. 

Stay connected:

  • Report an outage and receive status updates by texting OUT to PSEGLI (773454). You can also report your outage through our app or our website at psegliny.com/outages.
  • To report an outage or downed wire, you can also call PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number at 800-490-0075.
  • Follow PSEG Long Island on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) to report an outage and for updates before, during and after the storm.
  • Visit PSEG Long Island’s MyPower map for the latest in outage info, restoration times and crew locations across Long Island and the Rockaways at mypowermap.psegliny.com/.

Bill Murray and Angela Paton in a scene from 'Groundhog Day.'

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Yes, I borrowed the headline from the movie “Groundhog Day,” as Bill Murray’s Phil Connors, discusses the weather with Angela Paton’s Mrs. Lancaster in his hotel in the morning.

Weather has always been a potential safe and easy topic when bumping into a neighbor we don’t know well, meeting the parents of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or breaking uncomfortable silences in, say, the office of the school principal or the boss.

These days, however, weather discussions seem to have changed.

Some of that, whether you believe in or are concerned about global warming or not, reflects the reality of several consecutive mild winters.

We have become so accustomed to milder conditions that a sudden drop in temperature or the forecast for a few inches of snow becomes conspicuous, causing us to reach for our heaviest coats, gloves and hats, and to urge others to “stay warm,” even as newscasts often lead their programs with predictions of “as much as four inches of snow.” Heaven forbid!

Back in the day — okay, I wrote it and those words are like nails on a chalkboard (teenagers may need to look up what a chalkboard is) to the younger version of myself — we had long stretches of time when the temperature fell below freezing, or even below 20. We also had real snow days and not these virtual classes amid storms. Not a fan! Let the kids make snowmen and sled down the hills.

Sure, we get periodic bouts of colder weather, but they don’t seem to last as long.

This has lowered the bar and our tolerance for temperatures that threaten to dry out our skin, make our hands numb and freeze our exposed earlobes.

Even, however, when the weather remains mild for long periods of time and we don’t need to talk about something to fill awkward silences, weather has remained a topic of conversation. Why, for example, does a place like San Diego, which has relatively stable weather day after day, need a weather report? They could just run the same graphic each day, with an occasional break to signal a change. 

Weather, however, reminds us that we’re alive and we get to experience some of the conditions of today. Each day’s weather brings a unique backdrop against which we face possibilities, opportunities, and challenges. Two straight days of weather with the same temperature, dew point, humidity and barometric pressure challenge us to find unique parts of the day, as the changing cloud cover or a slight wind acts like unique whirls in the fingerprints of a day. We might be walking down the street when a subtle shift in the weather helps our brain consider a problem from a new perspective. And, even when the weather doesn’t lend a hand, it helps define the moment.

The way the soft early morning light casts a glow on the bare branches at the top of a tree, while the bottom of the tree awaits in flatter light, allows us to celebrate the gift of our senses.

Movie directors use weather not only to create a backdrop or to establish a man-versus-nature themed challenge, but also to reflect the mood of the moment. 

As a main character grapples with the worst of his shortcomings, he may trudge through a rainstorm. When the clouds slowly part, he can reach an epiphany that helps him become a better version of himself.

The weather, with its unpredictable elements and the effect they have on everything in their path, helps us experience the same trees, the same grass, the same car across the street in a different way. A column of light beaming through clouds can offer ephemeral inspiration.

The weather can be an antagonist or a companion, an enabler or a disruptor, and a headwind or a tailwind in our lives.

Then again, it’s also a safe topic when our potential future father-in-law asks us one of many possible questions we’d rather not answer truthfully, if at all. 

At that point, weather becomes a safe topic for chitchat.

Gov. Kathy Hochul updates New Yorkers on Saturday, Sept. 30, the day after declaring a state of emergency for Long Island. Photo courtesy the New York State Executive Chamber

Flash flooding leveled much of the tri-state area last Friday, Sept. 29, prompting a state of emergency declaration for Long Island while unleashing damage and halting some services.

The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood watch for Long Island Friday, which remained in effect into the night. Heavy rainfall and intense flooding throughout the region prompted Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to declare a state of emergency for Long Island, as well as for New York City and portions of the Hudson Valley.

Heavy flooding caused roadway closures at state Route 110 in Huntington between Mill Lane and Prime Avenue near Madison Street at Heckscher State Park, according to a NWS report. In Commack, a stranded motorist on Town Line Road required an emergency service response, the same report indicated.

In an emailed statement, Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth (R) maintained that much of the town’s infrastructure and services remained undisturbed despite the heavy rainfall.

“Highway Superintendent Andre Sorrentino and the Highway Department, along with our Environmental Waste Management Department, were out in full force with pumps and tree crews clearing and cleaning,” Smyth said. “Our sewage treatment plants received more than double their normal water flow without any reported spillage.”

He added that garbage collection continued as scheduled, though the storm had disrupted and canceled numerous local events. “However, normal government operations continued without interruption. Although there were no significant issues, the town is currently assessing all departments to determine any and all issues relating to the storm.”

Joana Flores, media liaison for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, indicated that operations along the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Jefferson Branch were largely undeterred.

“Friday’s weather event did not have any impact on MTA infrastructure in the Port Jefferson area or to Port Jefferson train service,” Flores said. “With the exception of one train that was momentarily delayed due to a non-weather-related matter, the Port Jefferson Branch operated on or close to schedule.”

“Crews did perform periodic patrols of the Port Jefferson Branch to monitor conditions of the infrastructure,” she added.

Electrical infrastructure had similarly avoided major damages, according to Jeremy Walsh, a spokesperson for PSEG Long Island. “Friday’s flooding did not impact the electric infrastructure,” he said in an email. “Overall, the system performed well. While we did experience scattered outage activity, it was mainly as a result of the heavy rains and gusty conditions impacting trees and tree limbs, not flood damage.”

Given projections for more frequent and intense storm events over the coming years, Walsh added that the utility company is continuing efforts toward mitigating the associated risks to the electrical grid.

“PSEG Long Island has been storm-hardening the electric grid since 2014, including elevating equipment at some substations to protect against flooding, and this has helped reduce the impact of severe weather events,” he noted. “We continue to storm-harden the infrastructure using the best projections for future flooding and wind conditions that are available to us.”

The storm’s impacts were not limited to public infrastructure, however. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation temporarily closed much of the North Shore to shellfishing due to “extremely heavy rainfall and extraordinary amounts of stormwater runoff and localized street flooding … which may result in conditions causing shellfish to be hazardous for use as food,” a NYSDEC report said.

At a press conference the following day, Sept. 30, Hochul announced that there had been no recorded fatalities due to the flooding, thanking the public for heeding emergency warnings.

“What had been described by myself as a potentially life-threatening event ended up being a time when people listened, they reacted properly, they took precautions and no lives were lost,” the governor said.

The Port Jefferson Hill Climb has been postponed to Sept. 30. File photo by Julianne Mosher/TBR News Media 2021

By Heidi Sutton

Meteorologists continue to track a tropical storm that will strike the East Coast on Saturday, unleashing a weekend washout with the potential for flooding rain, strong winds, storm surge and dangerous seas for Long Island. The blustery conditions will continue even after the heaviest of the rain departs late Saturday. Frequent gusts of 20 to 30-plus mph will continue all the way through Sunday night.

With the bad weather come cancellations and postponements for local events on the North Shore. Here are most recent updates:

Saturday Sept. 23

Great Cow Harbor Weekend – This event is still on.

Village of Northport’s annual Great Cow Harbor Weekend kicks off today at 8:30 a.m. with a 10K race followed by a concert and lighted boat display at Northport Village Park at 8 p.m. The festivities continue on Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Main Street is closed to cars as visitors enjoy rides, games, food, music, arts and craft vendors, sidewalk sales and a parade at noon. 631-261-7502, www.cowharbor.org

Harbor Jazz Festival – This event will be moved inside The Jazz Loft in the case of rain.

Jazz lovers are invited to attend the 8th annual Harbor Jazz Festival at The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook tonight through Sept. 23. Each day brings a line-up of jazz greats, including some of the top internationally and nationally recognized talents. All events on Sept. 23 are free and take place on the front lawn of the Jazz Loft and on the Stony Brook Village Green. 631-751-1895, www.thejazzloft.org

Fall Yard Sale – This event has been postponed to Sept. 30 with a rain date of Oct. 1.

Join the Yaphank Historical Society for its annual Fall Yard sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Hawkins House, 4 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank. Featuring a large variety of crafts, collectibles, and household items. Rain date is Sept. 24. 631-924-4803, www.yaphankhistorical.org.

Port Jefferson Hill Climb  – This event has been postponed to Sept. 30.

The Port Jefferson Conservancy will host a re-enactment of the 1910 Hill Climb from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come cheer on antique cars as they  retrace the original Hill Climb course from the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson to the top of East Broadway followed by a car parade through the village. Gates open at 8 a.m. Rain date is Sept. 30. 631-238-2290, portjeff.com

Brookhaven Country Fair – This event has been canceled due to the weather forecast.

The Town of Brookhaven’s Country Fair returns to the historic Longwood Estate located on Longwood Road and Smith Road in Ridge today and Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy traditional crafts, vendors, colonial cooking, Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactments, music by the Ed Travers Band, pet shows, vintage apron show, house tours, and children’s activities. Leashed dogs permitted. Held rain or shine. Admission is $5, children 12 and under free. 631-924-1820, www.brookhavenny.gov

Community Wide Yard Sale – This event has been postponed to Sept. 30.

Sound Beach Civic Association hosts its 3rd annual Community Wide Yard Sale as well as the second yearly coat drive at the Adopt-A-Spot, 30 New York Ave., Sound Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over a dozen households are participating. Stop by to find a hidden treasure and share the warmth with those less fortunate. The Sound Beach Fire Dept. will bring an engine/ambulance and set up a recruitment table as well as have raffle tickets and challenge coins you can buy. Rain date is Sept. 30. 631-744-6952.

Library Craft Fair – This event has been moved indoors to Community Rooms A & B on the lower level.

Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road, Holbrook will hold a craft fair from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Stop by and peruse handmade crafts and specialty items. 631-588-5024

Gallery North Outdoor Art Show – This event will be held rain or shine.

Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket presents its 57th annual Outdoor Art Show & Music Festival today and Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Featuring some of the finest art and craft from regional artists and artisans, the event will also include live musical performances, kids activities, as well as delicious food vendors. Awards are granted for best in show for each category, including crafts, fiber art, glass art, jewelry, painting, photography, pottery, printmaking, and more. Free admission. 631-751-2676,  www.gallerynorth.org

Happy Harbor Day  – This event has been postponed to Sept. 30.

The Village of Nissequogue and The Friends of Stony Brook Harbor will host Happy Harbor Day to raise awareness of Stony Brook Harbor from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 555 Long Beach in Nissequogue. The day will include presentations by environmental and marine science experts, an aquarium touch tank, carnival games, music, art contest and more. Free admission. 631-862-7400

CommUniversity Day – This event has been postponed to a later date.

Enjoy a festival of fun and discovery for all ages at Stony Brook University’s annual CommUniversity Day at the Academic Mall from noon to 4 p.m. with health screenings, Teddy Bear Clinic, fun crafts, duck race, food court, community art projects, giveaways and much more. Free admission. Held rain or shine. www.stonybrook.edu/CommUniversity

Draw Out! Arts Festival – This event will be moved indoors in case of rain. 

Join the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington for its annual Draw Out! Community Arts Festival, a day of creativity, art, music, and family fun for all ages, from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy watercolor painting in scenic Heckscher Park, create a collage and sketch from a live model, enjoy live music on the terrace by Jason Dorsa and traditional songs and dances by the boys & Girls Club of the Shinnecock  Nation and take part in a docent-led tour of the museum’s latest exhibits. Free. No reservations required. 631-380-3230, www.heckscher.org

BEE Amazing! event – This event has been canceled.

Starflower Experiences presents BEE Amazing!, a celebration of bees at Manor Farm, 210 Manor Road, Huntington from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn about bees and native plants and help plant a pollinator garden with games, crafts, vendors and a costume contest. $5 per person. Rain date is Sept. 24. 631-213-1927

Sunday Sept. 24

Great Cow Harbor Weekend – This event is still on.

See Sept. 23 listing.

Brookhaven Country Fair – This event is canceled.

See Sept. 23 listing.

Gallery North Outdoor Art Show – This event will be held rain or shine.

See Sept. 23 listing.

Lions Club Car Show – Postponed to Oct. 1

The Port Jefferson Lions Club invites the community to its 2nd annual judged Car Show at Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presented by The Fabulous 50s & 60s Nostalgia Car Club, the event will feature food, music, raffles and vendors with over 14 trophy classes plus  a special people’s choice trophy decided by YOUR vote. Proceeds will sponsor a guide dog for the blind. Rain date is Oct. 1. 631-680-7212

Heritage Country Fair – Postponed to October 8

The Smithtown Historical Society, 211 E. Main St., Smithtown will hold its annual Heritage Country Fair from noon to 4 p.m. with Island Long Riders Cowboy Mounted Shooting displays, petting zoo and pony rides, live music, historical reenactions, blacksmithing, spinning and other demonstrations, a vendor market, touch a truck and so much more. Tickets are $5 per person. Held rain or shine. 631-265-6768.

See more calendar events here.

Pixabay photo

Last week felt a little more like summertime than springtime. Although it was an unusually mild winter, many individuals might be looking forward to the warmer weather, and recently they’ve been able to get a preview of the summertime heat. 

On Friday, April 14, on a beautiful, 80-degree, sunny day, we went out to T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond and Park in Stony Brook village to ask people what summer activities they are most looking forward to. The following are their responses.

Photos by Daniel Febrizio


Felicia Bilka with children Angelina and Thomas and parents Joe and Genine Spinelli, Port Jefferson

“Being with our family outside, not trapped inside,” Genine Spinelli said. “Definitely concerts, fairs, hot dog wagons,” Joe added. Bilka said that she was looking forward to family barbecues and teaching Angelina and Thomas how to swim.


Eddie McGee, South Setauket

“Definitely hiking,” McGee said. “I’ve been big lately on mental health, specifically for men because we don’t really address it or do anything about it.”

 He said that it can be a bit harder to work on your mental health in the winter months. 

“Being outdoors now and hiking and just being physical and whatever you can do … being in nature, soaking it all in, being mindful of your surroundings,” he said, adding that Mill Pond and Cold Spring Harbor are two of his favorite locations for being outdoors. In reference to his guitar, he said, “That’s another thing that also helps with my journey of peace.”


Christine Burkhardt and anonymous friend, East Northport

“Just hanging out at a place like this and going to the beach,” Burkhardt said. “Walking on the boardwalk. Any of those kinds of activities.” 

She would not miss any winter activities. “I’m more of a spring/summer/fall girl,” she said. “I’m not really a winter girl.” Burkhardt said that one of her favorite locations to dine during the summer is Salt Shack, a restaurant in Babylon that features live music.


Lawrence and Debra Batton, Middle Island

“My favorite spot: the beach!” Debra Batton said. She usually goes to Smith Point on the South Shore or to Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai. “Lawrence said fishing was his favorite warm-weather activity. “That’s what I’m waiting for,” he added.

Lawrence said he didn’t make it out at all last year, but he’s planning to do a lot of fishing this season, come summer.

Holtsville Hal and his handler, Greg Drossel, during a previous Groundhog Day celebration. Photo by Kristen D'Andrea/Town of Brookhaven

By Heidi Sutton

“Well, it’s Groundhog Day, again.” — quote from Groundhog Day (1993)

Pennsylvania may have the legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, but here in Suffolk County we have our very own prognosticator of prognosticators, Holtsville Hal. The cute little rodent with his buck teeth and short bushy tail will be the star of the day as the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve celebrates Groundhog Day with a special event on Feb. 2. Hundreds will gather to hear Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro announce Holtsville Hal’s famous forecast. 

According to tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow after stirring from hibernation on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; if not, spring should arrive early. Superintendent Losquadro will reveal Hal’s prognostication at approximately 7:25 a.m.

“Our annual Groundhog Day celebration is an enjoyable tradition for many local families,” said Superintendent Losquadro in a press release. “I’m always hopeful Hal will predict an early spring to help my snow removal budget, but either way this is a much-anticipated event each year in Brookhaven Town.”

“Holtsville Hal’s prognostication is anxiously anticipated every year and it’s always a relief when he predicts an early spring. Let’s hope that he doesn’t see his shadow on Groundhog Day and we can look forward to a short winter season,” added Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Although he’s sure to be the center of attention, Holtsville Hal will not be the only animal available for viewing on Feb. 2. Following the ceremony, residents are welcome to enjoy some free hot chocolate and visit the more than 100 non-releasable, wild or injured animals residing at the Animal Preserve, including its latest resident, Leonardo “Leo” DiCatprio, the Eurasian Lynx, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

The Preserve is also home to a buffalo, black bear, bobcat, coatamundi, hybrid wolves, an artic fox, goats, horses, pigs, cows, alpaca, deer and many more.

Gates will open at the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve, 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, at 7 a.m.; parking is free. 

Residents are asked to arrive as close to 7 a.m. as possible to get a good view of Hal. Call 631-451-5330 for more information.

Stock image from Metro

October began on a somber note with several days of rain, cloudy weather and blustery winds. For many people, short-term inclement weather can lead to lethargy and depressed moods.

Dr. Veronique Deutsch-Anzalone, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stony Brook University Renaissance School of Medicine, is a clinical psychologist who has researched the weather’s effect on people. The doctor said the first thing many think of regarding lousy weather and mental health is seasonal affective disorder, more commonly known as SAD. Deutsch-Anzalone said SAD is not technically considered a disorder anymore in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” but now what patients are diagnosed with is depression with a seasonal pattern. She added seasonal pattern is considered a specifier.

“Why not just throw on some raincoats and galoshes, go out and just jump around in the puddles and make those mud pies with them. They’re going to remember that and enjoy it.”

Dr. Veronique Deutsch-Anzalone

“There are actually a lot of conflicting views on whether or not the lack of sun and the increase in cold and darkness causes us to have a depressed mood,” she said, adding that a 2016 study showed no objective data to support that depression is related to either latitude or season or sunlight. The doctor added that some people get depressed only in the summer.

However, due to many having depression that tends to follow a seasonal pattern, the disorder of depression with a seasonal pattern remains in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.”

She said similar symptoms that people feel in the winter could be experienced even during short-term weather patterns, such as the recent period of rain, as lack of sunlight has been a factor in psychiatric problems and depression, with females and the elderly being particularly susceptible.

There are a few reasons, the doctor said, that support cloudy, rainy days being accompanied by depressed moods which involves serotonin, a body chemical that has to do with body functions; and melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.

“We have our circadian rhythms where we’re programmed to be alert when the sun is up and be drowsy when it’s gone, and that is because when the sun goes down our bodies produce melatonin,” she said.

On darker days, the body produces less serotonin. On sunnier days, more serotonin is made, and it’s a neurotransmitter, Deutsch-Anzalone said. She added, on a cloudy day, people tend to keep the lights low in their homes and cuddle up on the couch to watch TV, which increases sleepiness. In turn, she said, a person may crave carbohydrates, sugar and salt.

“Unfortunately, when we turn to that kind of food that actually kind of makes us go into more of a slump, and can also cause some people to feel guilty and not very happy with themselves,” the doctor said.

Comfort foods raise serotonin but only briefly, Deutsch-Anzalone said. The best approach is eating healthy and drinking water. The doctor also advised against excess alcohol and caffeine intake, which can cause inflammation and dehydration.

She added an increase in aches and pains during stormy weather also doesn’t help matters. The drop in atmospheric pressure causes body fluids to move from the blood vessels to the tissues, creating more pressure on nerves and joints.

“That can lead to more increased pain or stiffness or reduced mobility, which then of course, makes us a little bit less likely to want to move,” she said.

She said on gloomy days, it can help to turn the lights on inside to increase serotonin and have more energy. Deutsch-Anzalone added some people might need a light therapy lamp or doctors may prescribe vitamin D.

She said it also helps to engage in enjoyable activities to lift one’s spirits. When a person is feeling down and can’t even think of pleasant activities, she suggests googling to find a list of things to do. Some, the doctor added, might be ones a patient hasn’t thought of, such as picking up an instrument, writing poetry or decorating a room. Exercise is also recommended as well as socializing or calling a friend.

Even in the rain, she suggested embracing nature, especially for people who have young children.

“Why not just throw on some raincoats and galoshes, go out and just jump around in the puddles and make those mud pies with them,” she said. “They’re going to remember that and enjoy it.”

Getting a good night’s sleep is also imperative, she said, since human’s circadian rhythms are thrown off when it’s dark outside for long periods of time. Napping and lying around the house most of the day also throws off a person’s sleep schedule.

“If you’re able to keep that good sleep hygiene and get a good night’s sleep, that will continue to give you a good amount of energy throughout the day, and it’ll ward off any sort of irritability.”

Deutsch-Anzalone advises anyone who is struggling with their mental health to seek professional help.

Kevin Reed. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook University

By Daniel Dunaief

Rain, rain go away, come again some other day.

The days of wishing rain away have long since passed, amid the reality of a wetter world, particularly during hurricanes in the North Atlantic.

In a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications, Kevin Reed, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Research at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, compared how wet the hurricanes that tore through the North Atlantic in 2020 would have been prior to the Industrial Revolution and global warming.

Reed determined that these storms had 10 percent more rain than they would have if they occurred in 1850, before the release of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases that have increased the average temperature on the planet by one degree Celsius.

The study is a “wake up call to the fact that hurricane seasons have changed and will continue to change,” said Reed. More warming means more rainfall. That, he added, is important when planners consider making improvements to infrastructure and providing natural barriers to flooding.

While 10 percent may not seem like an enormous amount of rain on a day of light drizzle and small puddles, it represents significant rain amid torrential downpours. That much additional rain can be half an inch or more of rain, said Reed. Much of the year, Long Island may not get half an inch a day, on top of an already extreme event, he added.

“It could be the difference between certain infrastructure failing, a basement flooding” and other water-generated problems, he said. The range of increased rain during hurricanes in 2020 due to global warming were as low as 5 percent and as high as 15 percent.

While policy makers have been urging countries to reach the Paris Climate Accord’s goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above the temperature from 1850, the pre-Industrial Revolution, studies like this suggest that the world such as it is today has already experienced the effects of warming.

“This is another data point for understanding that climate change is a not only a challenge for the future,” Reed said. It’s not this “end of the century problem that we have time to figure out. The Earth has already warmed by over 1 degrees” which is changing the hurricane season and is also impacting other severe weather events, like the heatwave in the Pacific Northwest in 2021. That heatwave killed over 100 people in the state of Washington.

Even being successful in limiting the increase to 2 degrees will create further increases in rainfall from hurricanes, Reed added. As with any global warming research, this study may also get pushback from groups skeptical of the impact of fossil fuel use and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Reed contends that this research is one of numerous studies that have come to similar conclusions about the impact of climate change on weather patterns, including hurricanes.

“Researchers from around the world are finding similar signals,” Reed said. “This is one example that is consistent with dozens of other work that has found similar results.”

Amid more warming, hurricane seasons have already changed, which is a trend that will continue, he predicted.

Even on a shorter-term scale, Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Northeast with heavy rain, wind and flooding, would likely have had more rainfall if the same conditions existed just eight years later, Reed added.

Reed was pleased that Nature Communications shared the paper with its diverse scientific and public policy audience.

“The general community feels like this type of research is important enough to a broad set of [society]” to appear in a high-profile journal, he said. “This shows, to some extent, the fact that the community and society at large [appreciates] that trying to understand the impact of climate change on our weather is important well beyond the domain of scientists like myself, who focus on hurricanes.”

Indeed, this kind of analysis and modeling could and should inform public policy that affects planning for the growth and resilience of infrastructure.

Study origins

The researchers involved in this study decided to compare how the 2020 season would have looked during cooler temperatures fairly quickly after the season ended.

The 2020 season was the most active on record, with 30 named storms generating heavy rains, storm surges and winds. The total damage from those storms was estimated at about $40 billion.

While the global surface temperature has increased 1 degree Celsius since 1850, sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic basin have risen 0.4 to 0.9 degrees Celsius during the 2020 season.

Reed and his co-authors took some time to discuss the best analysis to use. It took them about four months to put the data together and run over 2,500 model simulations.

“This is a much more computationally intensive project than previous work,” Reed said. The most important variables that the scientists altered were temperature and moisture.

As for the next steps, Reed said he would continue to refine the methodology to explore other impacts of climate change on the intensity of storms, their trajectory, and their speed.

Reed suggested considering the 10 percent increase in rain caused by global warming during hurricanes through another perspective. “If you walked into your boss’s office tomorrow and your boss said, ‘I want to give you a 10 percent raise,’ you’d be ecstatic,” he said. “That’s a significant amount.”

Ecstatic, however, isn’t how commuters, homeowners, and business leaders feel when more even more rain comes amid a soaking storm.

A TRACER site similar to this one in Argentina is being constructed in Pearland, Texas. Photo courtesy of ARM

By Daniel Dunaief

Before they could look to the skies to figure out how aerosols affected rainclouds and storms around Houston, they had to be sure of the safety of the environment on the ground.

Researchers from several institutions, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, originally planned to begin collecting data that could one day improve weather and even climate models on April 15th of this year.

The pandemic, however, altered that plan twice, with the new start date for the one-year, intensive cloud, study called TRACER, for Tracking Aerosol Convection Interactions, beginning on Oct. 1st.

The delay meant that the “intensive observational period was moved from summer 2021 to summer 2022,” Michael Jensen, the Principal Investigator on Tracer and a meteorologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, explained in an email.

Scientists and ARM staff pose during planning for TRACER (left to right): Iosif “Andrei” Lindenmaier, ARM’s radar systems engineering lead; James Flynn, University of Houston; Michael Jensen, TRACER’s principal investigator from Brookhaven National Laboratory; Stephen Springston, ARM’s Aerosol Observing System lead mentor (formerly Brookhaven Lab, now retired); Chongai Kuang, Brookhaven Lab; and Heath Powers, site manager for the ARM Mobile Facility that will collect measurements during TRACER. (Courtesy of ARM)

At the same time, the extension enabled a broader scientific scope, adding more measurements for the description of aerosol lifecycle and aerosol regional variability. It also allowed the researchers to include air quality data, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and urban meteorology, funded by the National Science Foundation.

The primary motivation for the project is to “understand how aerosols impact storms,” Jensen explained in a presentation designed to introduce the TRACER project to the public.

Some scientists believe aerosols, which are tiny particles that can occur naturally from trees, dust and other sources or from man-made activities like the burning of fossil fuels, can make storms stronger and larger, causing more rain.

“There’s a lot of debate in the literature” about the link between aerosols and storms, Jensen said.

Indeed, there may be a “sweet spot” in which a certain number or concentration of aerosols causes an invigoration of rainstorms, while a super abundance beyond that number reverses the trend, Jensen added.

“We don’t know the answers to those questions,” the BNL scientist said. “That’s why we need to go out there and take detailed measurements of what’s going on inside clouds, how precipitation particles are freezing or melting.”

Even though aerosols are invisible to the naked eye, they could have significant impacts on how mass and energy are distributed in clouds, as well as on broader atmospheric processes that affect weather patterns.

The TRACER study, which is a part of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement, or ARM, user facility, could “help forecast heavy rains that can cause flash flooding,’ said Chongai Kuang, atmospheric scientist and TRACER co-investigator at BNL.

The TRACER study will explore the way sea and bay breeze circulations affect the evolution of deep convective storms as well as examining the influence of urban environments on clouds and precipitation.

Several additional funding agencies have stepped in to address basic scientific questions, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s efforts to address air quality issues in Houston and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which funded a study on ozone and low-level atmospheric mixing.

“Our original TRACER field campaign provided a seed for what is now a major, multi-agency field campaign with a significantly expanded scientific scope,” Jensen explained in an email.

A joint team from BNL and Stony Brook University is developing new software to scan the precipitation radar system to select and track storm clouds to observe the rapid development of these storms. Additionally, aerosol instrumentation will help provide updated information on the precursor gases and the smallest aerosol particles at the earliest stages of the aerosol cycle, Jensen explained.

Ultimately, the data that these scientists gather could improve the ability to forecast storms in a range of areas, including on Long Island.

“Understanding sea breezes and the coastal environment is a very important aspect of TRACER,” Jensen said. “Even though it’s not the preliminary focus, there’s an opportunity to learn new science, to improve weather forecasting and storm forecasting for those coastal environments.”

Researchers chose Houston because of their desire to study a more densely populated urban area and to understand the way numerous factors influence developing clouds, weather patterns and, ultimately, the climate.

“We know the urban environment is where most people live,” Jensen said. “This is taking us in new directions, with new opportunities to influence the science” in these cities.

Researchers plan to collect information about clouds, aerosols and storms everywhere from ground-based instruments stationed at four fixed sites, as well as through mobile facilities, to satellite images.

The program operates a tethered balloon which is “like a big blimp that goes up half a mile into the atmosphere,” said Heath Powers, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement facility site manager for Tracer from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The tethered balloon is located at Smith Point, Texas, on the eastern shore of Galveston Bay and will do low-level profiling of aerosols, winds, thermodynamics and ozone as it is influenced by bay breeze circulation, Jensen explained.

The National Science Foundation is planning to bring a C-130 plane to conduct overflights, while the group will also likely use drones, Powers added.

The TRACER study will launch around 1,500 weather balloons to gather information at different altitudes. The research will use over four dozen instruments to analyze meteorology, the amount of energy in the atmosphere and the air chemistry.

“Clouds are the big question,” Powers said. “Where they form, why they form … do they rain or not rain. We are well-positioned to get at the core of a lot of this” through the information these scientists gather.

Photo from Pixabay

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

We live such a two-handed life these days. On the one hand, we are emerging from our pandemic shells. On the other, we don’t want to race out too quickly, undermining all the work we did to protect ourselves, our families and our school communities. To that end, I had a few topics on the two-handed nature of our lives:

The weather

On the one hand, it’s a relief that we can enjoy warmer weather. The summer is approaching. The calls from seagulls blend with the steady rhythm of water lapping up on the shores, urging the fortunate residents of Suffolk County to return to the peace and harmony of the water.

On the other hand, the temperature will undoubtedly climb into the hazy, hot and humid zone at some point. While the beaches are wonderful, we won’t all have time to stroll on a sandbar during the week.


On the one hand, many people are getting vaccinated, increasing the likelihood that we’re taking an immunological stand against a deadly virus. With a greater percentage of the population inoculated, we stand a better chance of coming together, revisiting family and friends we’ve only seen on Zoom for over a year.

On the other hand, a subgroup of people are reluctant to take the vaccines, worried about side effects, the speed at which the vaccine was developed, and a host of other concerns. If enough of them don’t get vaccinated and/or if variants evade the vaccine, we may not be able to beat back this virus as quickly as we’d like.


On the one hand, we are so incredibly proud that our children have made it through whatever stage concludes this year. We appreciate all they have done to get here and to become the incredible people they are.

On the other hand, wait, hello? How did the time go by so quickly? Did we prepare them for the real world? What is the real world? What does it mean to graduate into the second year of a pandemic and how can we prepare them for some of the unknowns and unknowables ahead? 


On the one hand, we can, potentially, talk about politics again without the echoes of personal animus reverberating from an angry White House. In theory, we can even agree to disagree or to consider compromise.

On the other hand, has the left become too powerful even as the right engages in party strife? Are calmer waters really around us, or is it a temporary reprieve until the tempest returns with the elections in 2022 and 2024?


On the one hand, we are freer than we’ve been in over a year, to travel and visit family, to take our masks off outside and read people’s lips and study their smiles. We can even consider traveling outside the country.

On the other hand, after living with a fear of human contact, how much can we set aside our concerns about the public health dangers of interacting with other people? 

A return to offices

On the one hand, we have a chance to speak with each other in person, to share stories about our lives and our children and to discuss the surprising run of a Knicks team guaranteed to have a winning record this year.

On the other hand, we have to deal with traffic, parking spots, lines at lunch, and conversations that keep us from returning to the homes we couldn’t wait to leave.