An eastern Long Island chicken and dairy farmer who reported climate conditions to the National Weather Service for eight decades died Saturday at age 103.
The National Weather Service in 2014 named its 80-year service award in honor of Richard Hendrickson, who has checked weather vanes nearly every day since Herbert Hoover was in the White House in 1930.
He is estimated to have tallied more than 150,000 weather observations. His data helped meteorologists analyze impending storms and information that tracks long-term climate change and other trends.
“I’ve been a farmer all my life,” he said in 2014. “You don’t cut hay today and let it dry in the field if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow. You try to be your own weatherman.”
Hendrickson has had a lifelong interest in nature, weather and history. In 1996, he wrote and published a book called Winds of the Fish’s Tail, a nod to the region’s resemblance to the fins of a fish. In the book, he includes remembrances of the 1938 “Long Island Express” hurricane that destroyed much of what was then a rural island and is now largely suburban. For many years, he wrote monthly weather summaries for local weekly newspapers.