Be prepared for a miserable morning commute Thursday — and, forecasters said, a potentially rotten one Thursday evening and Friday morning, as well — as teeming rains and swirling, gusting winds figure to cause flooding and dangerous travel conditions.

The National Weather Service said winds gusts of more than 60 mph are possible — and 2 1/2-to-4 1/2 inches of rain likely Thursday. A high wind warning has been issued for Long Island and New York City, in effect from 11 a.m. until 6 a.m. Friday. A flood advisory also is in effect until 7:15 a.m. Thursday, officials said.

The weather service is warning an ara of heavy rain along a line extending from Commack southwest into New Jersey is producing rainfall totals of about an inch per hour.

“Excessive runoff from this storm,” the weather service advisory read, “will cause flooding of urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses, as well as other drainage areas and low-lying spots.”

A flood watch will remain in effect through late Friday night, weather officials said.

By 6:30 a.m. Thursday, major roads in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens were already showing signs of serious flooding.

Driving was treacherous in some areas with compromised visibility caused by driving rain and spray from other vehicles.
Hydroplaning — that is, tires losing contact with the road surface due to excessive water build-up — is a real concern.

Police and state Department of Transportation officials were reporting a handful of minor accidents on major roads — the LIE, Southern State Parkway and Northern State — early Thursday.

The downright nasty conditions are because of the collision of Tropical Storm Nicole and another slow-moving low-pressure system, said Bill Goodman, a meteorologist with the weather service in Upton.

A high surf advisory also is in effect, as storm-driven waves pound coastal beaches.

The awful weather follows what was a record-setting day on Long Island Wednesday, when the high temperature at Islip reached 79 degrees.

The previous hottest Sept. 29 occurred in 2007 when the mercury reached 76 degrees. The weather service has been keeping records at Islip since 1984.

At Brookhaven National Laboratory the high was 79.7 degrees, just short of the record there of 80.5 degrees set in 1959. The lab has been keeping weather statistics since 1947.

Nicole caused flooding and mudslides across the island of Jamaica Wednesday, leaving two confirmed dead and at least 12 more missing, even as the drenching system moved north and dissipated.

Goodman said as Nicole “skirts the Florida coast Wednesday, and as it moves north, it merges with the low-pressure system over theTennessee Valley.” The two systems form a corridor of strong winds that is expected to whip inland areas of North Carolina and Virginia and most of eastern Pennsylvania, he said.

With Gary Dymski

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