Nor'easter's gusts, rain-snow mix take aim at Hudson Valley

Traffic drives away from downtown White Plains on Traffic drives away from downtown White Plains on Hamilton Avenue after overnight snowfall. (Jan. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

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Wednesday's storm will usher in rain, wet snow and heavy winds, the start of a three-day stretch of nasty weather headed for the Hudson Valley area, forecasts predict.

Although the storm could bring spots of rain and snow flurries before noon, the morning commute shouldn't present any difficulties for drivers. Getting home, however, likely will be another matter.

By the afternoon, winds will reach speeds of up to 35 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory.

"The wind is the thing that's really got me concerned because if we get a prolonged period of strong winds, sustained winds 15 to 20 mph, some gusts up to 50, that could mean trees and power lines coming down," said News12 meteorologist Joe Rao.

The snow and rain also will pick up later in the day, with as much as an inch of accumulation in the lower Hudson Valley through the afternoon and 3 inches possible by late Wednesday night, according to the latest forecasts. Counties farther north, like Dutchess, Ulster and Orange, will be on the northern edge of the storm as it moves east, Rao said. The mid-Hudson Valley region will get a wintry mix, leaning more toward rain, without the heavy winds predicted for Westchester and Rockland counties.

Despite the recent stretch of mild weather, temperatures are expected to drop below the freezing mark overnight, which combined with the wind and snow could make for a messy commute Thursday.

The snow is expected to continue through noon Thursday, with spots of precipitation through the afternoon and evening leading into Friday. Three consecutive days of winter weather aren't typical of March, but Rao said the payoff will be sunny skies during the weekend -- and more time before sundown.

"Sunshine, upper 40s to near 50," Rao said of Saturday's forecast. "And hey, also, you're gonna set your clock ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday night as we go back on daylight savings time."

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