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Veteran Weather Observer Records 50 Mile Per Hour Winds in Bridgehampton

98-year-old Richard Hendrickson has recorded the local weather twice a day for 80 years.

Richard Hendrickson has recorded the weather in Bridgehampton for the National Weather Service twice a day since 1930, and Sunday, during the snowstorm, was no exception.

The 98-year-old cooperative observer said Monday that at his weather station on Lumber Lane he clocked wind gusts during the height of the snowstorm at more than 50 miles per hour, coming from the north and northeast. He reported his readings to the National Weather Service's station in Upton, at the Brookhaven National Lab, as he does every day.

He recorded 5 inches of snow accumulation in Bridgehampton, amounting to an inch of water, though he noted, "The wind, with its velocity, makes it almost impossible to get an accurate figure." He said drift can cause the depth of snow to vary by several inches, and in some cases cause snow banks that are several feet tall.

Hendrickson said the high velocity winds knocked down a power line on his street in the middle of the night, about a quarter mile north of the railroad track, but power has since been restored.

The amount of snowfall was rather average for late December, and short of a blizzard, according to Hendrickson.

"I would say with a blizzard you have to have 50 or 60 miles per hour winds; at least 8 or 10 inches of snow," he said.

Hendrickson said he bought 2-acres on Lumber Lane for $500 in 1935 and ran a poultry farm, which hatched 2,000 chicks every spring. He sold the farm a number of years ago and built his current home on an adjacent property.

His duties as a farmer did not pull him away from his weather observation.

"I like to study weather — I have all my life," Hendrickson said.

All his years of weather observation have led him to a conclusion: "We are at a period — and I think it's accelerating — of global warming."

He recalled taking his first temperature reading of 100 degrees in Bridgehampton, which was unheard of before.

At 98 years old, Hendrickson said he still has many years of observation ahead of him.

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