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100-Year-Old Weather Observer: Plenty of Winter Left for Another Blizzard

Richard Hendrickson, a volunteer cooperative weather observer since 1930, recorded 12 inches of snow in Bridgehampton after the weekend's blizzard.

By 8:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, after a blizzard swept through the area, 100-year-old Richard Hendrickson was outside his Bridgehampton home taking measurements.

He measured both the depth of the snow and the water density, and took readings of the wind velocity, he said Tuesday morning. He measured 12.0 inches of snow accumulation on his Lumber Lane property.To account for snowdrift, he said he takes depth measurements in 10 or 15 spots and finds the average. "It's no damn good unless its accurate," he said.

Hendrickson is a cooperative weather observer for the National Weather Service, a volunteer position he has held since 1930. He takes measurements of precipitation, temperature, and more, twice a day.

On Friday, when the blizzard first hit the East End as rain and sleet before turning to snow, the high temperature in Bridgehampton was 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low was 10, according to Hendrickson. Then on Saturday, when the snow continued to fall, the high was 34 and the low was 20, he said.

By Sunday night, 10 of the original 12 inches of snow remained, Hendrickson said.

In Southampton, a SKYWARN severe weather spotter measured 12.5 inches at 12:08 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The most snow in New York State was recorded in Medford, with an accumulation of 33.5 inches.

The wind speed reached between 30 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour Saturday in Bridgehampton, Hendrickson said, but he did not record any extraordinary gusts.

It was a little bit more severe than a typical storm, he said. “For out here on the East End of Long Island, sure call it a blizzard.”

It was not record-breaking or unusual for February, he said, adding “sometimes we get one of these in March.”

“There is still plenty of time left to have another one, if Nature so desires,” Hendrickson warned.

In February, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and the Southampton Town Board each presented Hendrickson with proclamations for his 100th birthday, which was on Sept. 2,  2012.

Robert F Avens February 13, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Around 1960, my junior high school science teacher made the statement that eastern Long Island had never recorded a temperature at or below zero or at or above 100 degrees. That evening I called my dad's friend Richard Hendrickson to get the true story. Richard was happy to help out and after searching his records called me back with the dates and temperatures that proved my teacher wrong. (Although only slightly wrong!) Richard's help enhanced my respect for both Richard and for my great teacher who gave me extra credit! All the best to Richard from the Avens family! Bob Avens

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