Long Island commuters can expect a cold and slippery ride to and from work Monday with freezing rain and possibly snow after Sunday gusts of more than 60 mph toppled trees, knocked down power lines and left thousands without electricity.
The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning through 10 a.m. Monday for Long Island. Another freeze warning begins at 8 p.m. Monday night through 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The blame for the hearty gusts and blustery weather can be traced to a low pressure system off the Great Lakes that has gained strength as it powered east, said Brian Ciemnecki, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Upton office.
Temperatures Monday morning as commuters board trains or begin their drives to work are expected to be in the high-20s or low-30s with chilly rain forecast. Fans heading to the Bronx Monday afternoon for the Yankees home opener would be wise to bring a warm coat and an umbrella. Temperatures are expected to top out in the mid-40s by gametime, forecasters said, with periods of rain likely.
Below-freezing temperatures should return Monday night with a potentially nasty mix of rain, sleet and a chance of snow predicted for the evening commute. Temperatures Monday night should dip to about 26 degrees, according to forecasters.
Unsettled winterlike weather to start the workweek follows a Sunday that saw a bit of everything across Long Island.
Sunshine pushed through the clouds in many areas by the afternoon. But about two-tenths of an inch of snow fell Sunday at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip with no accumulation, said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Norm Dvoskin.
“It’s really not unusual. April’s a disappointing month,” Dvoskin said. “In order to get spring weather, you have to get to the middle of May.”
Powerful winds whipped across Long Island overnight and for much of Sunday. Wind gusts as high as 63 mph were recorded in the waterfront hamlet of Eatons Neck with winds in Farmingdale clocked at 55 mph and 54 at Captree State Park in Babylon, Dvoskin said.
PSEG Long Island reported 1,375 customers still without power as of 8:40 p.m. Sunday, down from a high of about 10,000.
In Levittown Sunday, the high winds caused a tree to topple over power lines, causing a house fire on Harrow Lane.
Homeowner Pat Heeger, 76, was on her way to sing in her church choir when she heard a loud boom — a neighbor’s tree had knocked down power lines that landed in her backyard, resulting in a fire.
“Oh my God,” said Heeger as she inspected her damaged home. “All my antique books are ruined.”
Heeger, surrounded by her children, said she planned to stay elsewhere Sunday night.
Citing the high winds, Town of Oyster Bay officials postponed a ceremony for a new baseball field in Plainview specially designed for children with disabilities. Officials said they were working to reschedule.
Suffolk police said more than two dozen trees were down throughout the county. There were reports of poles and wires down in West Islip, Port Jefferson, Bay Shore and other communities. Late Sunday afternoon, Suffolk police had closed Oakwood Road in both directions just south of Jericho Turnpike in South Huntington as crews fixed multiple downed power lines.
In Islip, Grace Rovtar ran out of her Patricia Avenue home in at about 9:30 a.m. after hearing a “loud bang.” A 20-foot tree on her neighbor’s property was ripped from its roots, bringing wires down with it, and had smashed onto her Chevy Silverado and her neighbor’s pickup truck.
A few minutes later, a transformer attached to a pole outside her home spewed liquid onto her cars.
A construction arrived about a half-hour later, she said, to remove the transformer and clear the wires from the road.
Crews cleared fallen trees from Route 25 in Cutchogue, Route 25A in Muttontown, the Southern State Parkway westbound between Exits 25 and 24, and Route 106 in North Bellmore, officials said.
With Nicole Fuller and Lisa Irizarry