LI wind advisory, flood watch for Wednesday
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A wind advisory, flood watch and high surf advisory are in effect for Long Island as a coastal storm moves in, bringing heavy wind and rain, just in time for the holiday getaway.
Rainfall was expected to "slowly ramp up," with evening commuters spared the heaviest drenching. The downpour was expected to start after midnight and last off and on into Wednesday evening, said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton.
Total rainfall is expected to be 2 to 3 inches, with heavier amounts closer to the city, the weather service said.
There were only minor delays of 15 minutes or less for arrivals and departures at both LaGuardia and Kennedy airports about midnight, according to the website for the Federal Aviation Administration. Other major airports in the Northeast also showed minimal delays, despite the weather.
At the same time, the Long Island Rail Road's website showed mostly good service, with the only reported delay being a 16-minute holdup on the Montauk line caused by equipment trouble, according to the LIRR Twitter feed.
Earlier Tuesday, the railroad was reporting 10- to 15-minute systemwide delays because of "slip-slide" conditions, when oily residue from crushed leaves cause train wheels to "slip while accelerating, or slide during braking."
Citing the bad weather, the LIRR said its waiting rooms will remain open "all day and night" for travelers until Friday.
The Long Island Power Authority was reporting 2,445 customers without electricity early Wednesday, up from about 800 customers late Tuesday evening.
A flood watch is in effect for Long Island through Wednesday afternoon, with heavy rainfall expected, the weather service said. That means that urban, low-lying and poor drainage areas are likely to experience "significant" flooding, the service said.
A coastal flood advisory will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday for eastern Suffolk County, the weather service said.
The Gilgo Beach area and "post-Sandy breaches" are especially susceptible to beach erosion, with a high-surf advisory in effect for communities on the South Shore from midnight Tuesday to midnight Wednesday, the weather service said.
A wind advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. Wednesday for Nassau and Suffolk counties, the service said.
Southerly winds from 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are likely, with the strongest winds projected to howl into early Wednesday afternoon, the service said.
There is the potential for downed tree limbs and power lines, which could result in "property damage and power outages."
The service also advised drivers to be cautious during the periods of heavy winds and rainfall. A wind advisory is issued when sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph, or gusts of 46 to 57 mph, are expected.
"Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles," the service said in a statement. "Use extra caution."
There will be a brief warm-up Wednesday, which could see a high of 60 degrees on Long Island, and rain should be cleared out by Wednesday night, with the wind expected to continue into a colder Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
Nationwide, the storm, which hit parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas over the weekend, and swept toward the East Coast on Tuesday, threatening to disrupt the plans of travelers for the extended Thanksgiving weekend, according to The Associated Press.
Rain and snow could compromise some of the country's busiest airports, including Kennedy and LaGuardia, with long delays at a peak travel time, the AP said.
This Thanksgiving is expected to see the most air travelers since 2007, according to Airlines for America, the industry's trade and lobbying group, with the busiest day being Sunday, with an estimated 2.56 million passengers. Wednesday is expected to be the second busiest with 2.42 million passengers.
The AP reported 90 percent of travelers this week will drive, according to AAA, and an estimated 38.9 million people -- 1.6 percent fewer than last year -- are expected to drive 50 miles or more from their homes.
In New Jersey, a winter weather advisory was issued Tuesday. Forecasters also are predicting 5 to 8 inches of snow in Buffalo, and more in the northern Adirondacks.
A winter storm watch also is in effect for central New York State with heavy rain expected in parts of the Hudson Valley.
With Zachary R. Dowdy and Candice Ruud