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Big snowstorm starts to peter out

There is an end in sight.

After going above and beyond expectations, Long Island's latest snowstorm was slowly winding down Friday, forecasters said.

"We'll still get a few inches through today, possibly three to five inches tonight," meteorologist Matt Scalora said. It will be less windy Friday night, too, he said.

And for Saturday and Sunday, "we could have some snow showers, but accumulation should be less than an inch," Scalora said.

In Nassau County, Freeport had the most snow, with a reported 16 inches by 12:45 p.m. Suffolk County had less, with Mount Sinai leading the pack with 10.5 inches by noon, the weather service said.

A potent area of low pressure was expected to linger off the Island Friday before drifting slowly north toward southern New England and weakening Saturday.

The same system brought heavy rain to most of Long Island Thursday. As of 7 p.m., nearly 2 inches had fallen in Upton. Snow began falling in parts of western Suffolk by about 8:30 p.m.

The storm dumped nearly 21 inches of snow on Central Park, The Associated Press reported. It's piled about 31 inches on Monroe, in Orange County.

Suddenly, around 2 p.m. Friday, snow stopped swirling over Manhattan's West Side. The sun peeked through a patch of blue sky, the AP said.

City schools closed Friday after initially planning to stay open.

Schools closed throughout Long Island, too.

A man was killed by a snow-laden branch in Central Park - one of at least three deaths being blamed on the storm.

Commuters woke up to treacherous roads. Traffic on main highways was reduced to less than 40 mph. And drivers still had a difficult time making a go of it.

Nassau County police issued a traffic advisory Friday morning, saying the past few days' heavy rain had frozen and was covered with several inches of snow. The advisory called for motorists to use "extreme caution and to travel only if it is essential to do so."

Nassau police began reporting road closures as early as 9:30 p.m. Thursday, with conditions in Roslyn especially icy. There were no reported road closures by midday Friday.

The LIRR added eight trains out of Penn Station Friday afternoon to accommodate commuters who left work early, said spokesman Joe Calderone.

A previously scheduled suspension of weekend service on the Long Beach line, for bridge work, was canceled, he said.

At Kennedy Airport, arriving flights were delayed at least an hour, while LaGuardia was experiencing delays on departures of up to two hours, according to the FAA Web site.

Long Island MacArthur Airport was open and its runways clear, but "our carriers have canceled all the rest of the day's flights, and arriving flights are mostly canceled," airport spokeswoman Catherine Green said.

With Chau Lam

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