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First 'White Christmas' in four years, but icy, too

A heavy snow band dumped a quick inch

A heavy snow band dumped a quick inch of snow near the entrance ramp to the eastbound LIE at exit 65 in Medford. (Dec. 24, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

Long Islanders got their first "White Christmas" since 2009, and it could be among coldest since 2000.

National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark said Wednesday morning that the high for Christmas Day is expected to be in the upper 20s to near 30 degrees, possibly making it the coldest daytime high for Dec. 25 since 2000, when it was 27 degrees.

Snowfall was measured at 1.7 inches Tuesday night at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, settling at about an inch Wednesday morning.

Snowfall varied elsewhere Tuesday night across Long Island, measuring 1.5 inches in Medford, 1.3 inches in North Babylon, 1.4 inches in Quogue and just shy of an inch in Upton. Some areas got no snow, Stark said, and Baiting Hollow and Centerport getting just two-tenths of an inch. Measurements for Nassau County were not available Wednesday morning, Stark said.

"This is a 'White Christmas,' " said Stark, adding there must be "an inch or more on the ground to be considered an official 'White Christmas.' " Four years ago, after a snowstorm that began Dec. 19, about a foot of snow was measured in Ronkonkoma on Christmas Day, Stark said.

The weather service early Wednesday morning cautioned drivers to slow down on Christmas Day, given icy travel conditions and black ice.

Treacherous ice is expected anywhere that snow squall activity occurred Tuesday night, especially on untreated roads, overpasses and bridges.

The day has likely reached its low, with 20 degrees recorded at 7 a.m., Stark said. The temperature is expected to remain in the 20s. The forecast calls a breezy, sunny day with some clouds.

Thursday is expected to see warmer temperatures, with highs in the low 40s, according to the weather service.

"We'll see a little bit of a warming trend," Stark said.

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