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Forecast: Heavy rain Wednesday, then temps drop

A woman walks in the rain in Smithtown

A woman walks in the rain in Smithtown on Jan. 14, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

Scattered rainshowers began to fall late Wednesday afternoon on parts of Long Island, with the precipitation expected to become widespread into the evening, forecasters said.

But the real jaw-dropper is the possible 30-degree temperature drop from Wednesday's high of 56 at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma and Thursday's forecast of 26 degrees, said Joe Pollina, National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton.

That's as a frigid air mass moves in late Wednesday night into Thursday, bringing likely record-breaking, but short-lived, cold.

While "a renegade sprinkle" could materialize earlier, the steady rain, with a "possible rumble of thunder," wasn't expected until Wednesday evening and night, said Tim Morrin, also a meteorologist in Upton. That cold air moving in means a potential changeover of rain to snow after midnight, with up to a 20 percent chance of passing snow or flurries into the morning, Pollina said. No accumulation is expected, he said.

Temperatures will plummet late Wednesday, heading down to the mid-20s, where they'll hover during the day Thursday. Morrin said gusty winds will make it feel even colder. Overnight Thursday will be no picnic either, he said, with temperatures in the low- to midteens, meaning records could be broken for both Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures Friday, still below normal, will head up to near 40 degrees, with weekend highs in the 40s, and partly and mostly sunny skies.

Another storm system is possible for Sunday into Monday, with about a 30 percent to 40 percent chance of snow for Long Island, as of late Wednesday afternoon's computer models, Pollina said. That low-pressure system's track could change, he said, so it's too early to talk about timing and possible accumulations.

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