Blooming flowers are covered with freshly fallen snow at Hicks...

Blooming flowers are covered with freshly fallen snow at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury. (March 24, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

Punxsutawney Phil and Malverne Mel both predicted an early spring. Even Holtsville Hal predicted we'd only have six more weeks of winter.

Looks like the groundhogs had it wrong. It's beginning to look like maybe even the Mayans got it wrong, predicting the end of the world in 2012.

Not 2011.

Snow. Sleet. Hail. Rain. Lightning. Thunder. All hit the Long Island area Wednesday night -- four days into spring -- and forecasters at the National Weather Service said snow and freezing drizzle will continue through rush hour Thursday, making a mess of the morning commute.

Fortunately, the weather service said, minor coastal flooding expected overnight in northwestern Nassau failed to materialize -- though a flood advisory remained in effect until 5 a.m.

But we still had some wacky weather Wednesday night.

"We had thunderstorms with snow, sleet and hail," weather service spokesman Bill Goodman said. "That's uncommon, but certainly not impossible. Snow, sleet and hail this time of year is not uncommon. Thunderstorms this time of year are not uncommon. The combination of thunderstorms with wintry weather? That's uncommon ... You don't expect to see that, not together, anyway."

Goodman said we can also expect a high-pressure system out of central Canada will keep temperatures running a bit below normal and also hold storms to our south for the coming days.

Instead of temperatures in the low to mid-50s, we can expect the mid-40s the remainder of the week -- if that, he said.

And the 8- to 14-day cycle shows the possibility of "above-normal" precipitation, he said.

April showers? Or more snow?

"Too early to say," he said. "But maybe some storms of interest on the horizon."

Goodman said preliminary indications are that Long Island got 1 to 2 inches of snowfall from this most recent storm, though observers in Shoreham recorded 3 inches. Montauk Public School delayed the start of the school day by two hours.

Any way you slice it, that means the groundhogs got it wrong. No early spring, more than six weeks of winter.

Here's hoping the Mayans got it wrong, too.

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