The Fog of December

Dredging in Downs Creek, Monday morning.
Dredging in Downs Creek, Monday morning.

This has been anything but a usual December. I broke both of my snow shovels during last year’s blizzard and I haven’t even begun to worry about whether I’ll need a new one soon. I haven’t begun my usual December search for beet juice ice melt, and I haven’t even yet put on my winter coat.

This balmy week has been a boon for yard work, but the attendant humidity has been somewhat troubling. Mushrooms are sprouting everywhere. My car’s engine is acting like it’s chugging through water-laden gas, and any time I try to use painter’s tape to hang up Christmas decorations, they just delaminate from the humidity and fall down to the ground.

But the fog, well, jeepers, that just about takes away Christ’s birthday cake. We were socked in deep in the dense mess at dawn this morning, and I think that was also the case yesterday morning and a few days before that and a few days before that. I’m kinda foggy on the details, but I’ve got some pictures in my archive here to prove to myself that this is just about the foggiest December I can remember:

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Sunday set a record high temperature in Islip of 68 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for Dec. 13 in Islip was 60 degrees, set in 1990, while the average temperature for Dec. 13 is 44 degrees.

Last year on Dec. 13, the weather behaved. It was exactly 44 degrees, as it was supposed to be. But we’ve been setting records every day since Dec. 10.

Despite all the fog here, I hear there’s some clear-headed thinking going on in Paris these days about the science behind what we can do to prevent climate change. It’s some of the best news I’ve heard all year.

But I’m not betting anything on a White Christmas this year. I’m just praying the angel of death mushrooms don’t take over my back deck instead of snow.


Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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