Long Island snowstorm: Weekend prediction eases

A man walks in heavy snow Monday morning A man walks in heavy snow Monday morning on February 3, 2014 in Ronkonkoma. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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The snow and icy blanket that fell Wednesday on Long Island will remain for days as below-freezing temperatures pave the way for a weekend snowfall, a kinder and gentler one, forecasters said.

The storm unloaded about 5 inches along the North Shore and western Suffolk, but warmer air moving in softened the impact of the winter system.

Early on, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for all of New York, but nightmare predictions about massive power outages, road havoc, suspended train service and towns running out of salt did not materialize in a big way.

"It kind of made for a messy situation, but not too icy out there," said meteorologist Nelson Vaz of the National Weather Service's office in Upton.

PSEG Long Island said more than 18,000 of its 1.1 million customers were impacted by outages Wednesday, and that most had been restored by 9 p.m.

Still, there were plenty of fender benders and some injuries due to falling branches, weighed down by the heavy, wet snow.

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A postal worker in Bethpage suffered minor injuries after being hit by a falling branch, Nassau police said, and a tree in Locust Valley fell on an Oyster Bay Town vehicle driven by a bay constable. The driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, police said.

With temperatures across Long Island remaining below freezing until Sunday, the weather service Wednesday issued an advisory saying standing water and slush will refreeze, forming hard-to-see black ice on roadways and sidewalks. The advisory is set to expire at 10 a.m. Thursday.

A break of three days or so from precipitation will likely end Sunday night, when a snowfall could bring several inches before moving off Monday morning, Vaz said.

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"We won't be looking at any blockbuster storm," he said.

He said the weekend storm had been "hyped" on social media and went viral as a foreboding, massive front. But he said it would be "reckless" to forecast 10 inches or more of snow, so far out.

That gentler forecast may be one of the biggest weather breaks for Long Island towns that have endured storm after storm this winter, until they were on the verge of running out of salt. A storm Monday dumped nearly 10 inches of snow on parts of Long Island.

The state Wednesday provided about 1,600 tons of salt to Long Island municipalities, with Hempstead, North Hempstead, Babylon, Smithtown, Brookhaven, Riverhead and Lindenhurst having made requests, said Beau Duffy, spokesman for the state Transportation Department.

In Babylon Town, most of the 155 tons of salt was used Wednesday and officials are awaiting a fresh supply in the next two days from the Atlantic Salt Co. in Staten Island, said Babylon Town spokesman Kevin Bonner.

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With Bill Bleyer

and Mark Harrington

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