August Was Dry, Storm-Free

    Not only was August free of coastal storms, it had no heavy 4-to-6-inch rainfall like has been seen in Augusts of past years, according to Richard G. Hendrickson, the United States Cooperative weather observer in Bridgehampton.
    Rain fell on four days last month, with the heaviest — .66 inch — coming on Aug. 19. The total for the month was 1.48 inches, well off the long-term average of 3.4 inches. In August 1952, the wettest August ever recorded in Bridgehampton, rainfall was a whopping 13.19 inches.
    Mr. Hendrickson recorded no rains with thunder and lightning last month. However, the weather observer, who has been keeping weather records for over 80 years and celebrated his 100th birthday just last week, recalled thunderstorms of years gone by when he was a farmer and lightning might kill chickens while they rested in the high grass or down milk cows “while waiting to enter the barn to be milked.”
    He remembered a time when the daytime farm help sought shelter in the machine shed and “witnessed electric lightning in all its glory, dancing all over the stored iron farm machinery.” As a 10-year-old, he wrote, he saw “a ball of St. Elmo’s fire rolling, hissing in the sky, going from telephone pole top to the highest lightning rod on the farm home to the ground.”
    The warmest day of August was the 8th, when the thermometer hit 90 degrees, Mr. Hendrickson reported. It was in the 80s or higher on 17 days. The coolest day of last month was the 1st, when it was only 70, and on the coolest night, Aug. 30, it was just 49 degrees.
    “These are low August temperatures for this period of years, because we are in a period of global warming, but such is weather,” Mr. Hendrickson wrote. “Mother Nature is boss.”
    “Local sweet corn and melons are now at their best,” he said, and described how coastal storms, “each laden with a small amount of ocean saltwater in their clouds,” have deposited their water on our sandy soil, “giving an impeccable flavor to the vegetables grown” here.