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As storm exits, forecasters watching two potential systems

Line crew contractors work on power lines on

Line crew contractors work on power lines on 14th Street in West Babylon after a power outage was reported in the area after the snow on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. Credit: Steve Pfost

In what couldn’t have been worse timing for morning commuters, a storm system with heavy, wet snow and gusty winds blew through Friday, slowing traffic, causing hundreds of car accidents and leading to school closures and power outages for thousands.

That’s as 9.8 inches of snow dropped on Long Island MacArthur Airport, with trained spotters reporting as much as 10.5 inches in Plainview and 11 inches in South Huntington.

And, even as that storm was exiting, forecasters had their eyes on two potential systems for early next week, though neither appeared to be “very imposing at this time,” said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Bill Korbel.

As for Friday, Nassau and Suffolk county police responded to more than 350 weather-related motor vehicle accidents, with no indications of serious injuries, department spokesmen said.

Acting Smithtown Highway Superintendent Robert Murphy said downed trees complicated snow removal efforts in the Town of Smithtown.

“We’ve had dozens of calls on downed trees and limbs throughout the town,” he said Friday afternoon, adding that it was particularly bad in Smithtown Pines. Town highway department workers are trying to remove snow, “but they had to remove the trees and the limbs to get to the snow.”

Murphy said the town hired contractors to help cut down trees entangled in wires and remove them. “It’s worse than the 26 inches of snow we had in the blizzard two weeks ago. The snow is heavier,” he said. “The rains that we just had made the grounds loose. The trees are uprooting.”

As of 9:30 p.m., PSEG Long Island said it had restored service to more than 95 percent of the roughly 43,500 customers affected by the storm. Crews expected to be working through the night to restore power to the remaining 1,700 customers without electricity.

Looking to next week, the National Weather Service pointed to two systems that could affect the area, one Sunday night into Monday and the other Monday night into Tuesday, each of which brings the potential to deliver more snow, along with minor tidal flooding as Monday is a new moon.

Korbel said late Friday afternoon that he and his team were “thinking storm number one goes out to sea,” and were “leaning more toward some light snow Tuesday.”

With Lauren R. Harrison and Mark Harrington

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