Morning commute with expected snow, rain, ice to be a 'mess'

Cars navigate snow-covered Jericho Turnpike in Mineola on Cars navigate snow-covered Jericho Turnpike in Mineola on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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It isn't the storm of the century, but forecasters predict snow and ice will disrupt Wednesday's morning commute and make for a messy day overall.

The morning commute is expected to be "a mess," said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Upton office, with precipitation to "continue through the day."

Snowfall estimates range from 1 to 4 inches, possibly higher along Nassau's North Shore, forecasters said. Most of the Island can expect 2 to 4 inches, with the South Fork and central Suffolk's South Shore looking at 1 to 2 inches, forecasters said.

A winter storm warning is in effect through 6 p.m. Wednesday for all of Nassau and for Suffolk north of the Long Island Expressway and west of the William Floyd Parkway, the weather service said. The rest of the Island remains under a winter weather advisory, the service said.

For this storm, the difference between a warning and an advisory is snow or rain. Areas covered in the warning should get more snow, and those under the advisory more sleet, rain and ice, Nash said. But don't think conditions in advisory areas will be less hazardous, she said.

PSEG Long Island already requested some 300 outside crews to respond, spokesman Jeff Weir said. They begin staging at Christopher Morley Park Wednesday morning. "This storm is a little different," he said. "We're responding to it."

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Overall, sleet, snow and low visibility will make for slick roadways and nasty travel conditions, especially during the morning commute.

"While snow usually isn't an issue for utilities, sleet and ice can increase the possibility of downed tree branches and wires resulting in power outages," said Elizabeth F. Flagler, a spokeswoman for PSEG Long Island.

Ice and fresh show will be added to tree branches already covered with snow from Monday's storm, weather service meteorologist Joe Pollina said, making them even more susceptible to falling.

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After a daily record 7 inches of snow fell Monday at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, surpassing 5 inches in 1996, there's no break for the winter weather-weary.

"This storm's going to be tough to gauge, because if anything is off by a little, it could change a lot of things," Nash said.

Meaning more snow in one spot, less rain in another. Or vice versa. "One degree at the surface makes all the difference," she said.

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