Forecast updated: 4 to 7 inches of snow possible on Long Island

This satellite image taken by the NASA/NOAA Suomi This satellite image taken by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite, shows the storm system over the midwestern U.S. as it moves toward the East Coast at approximately 12:55 p.m. (March 5, 2013) Photo Credit: NOAA

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Rain and heavy, wet snow will be dumped on Long Island on and off Wednesday through Friday morning, with Suffolk likely to be hit harder than Nassau again, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

Nassau could see 4 to 5 inches of snow and Suffolk 5 to 7, with the East End getting the most, said meteorologist Joey Picca.

In a wind advisory for 4 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Thursday, the weather service forecasts gusts of up to 55 mph and sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph. Minor to moderate coastal flooding is also expected, the service said.

"We're expecting a kind of prolonged period of unsettled weather," Picca said.

Mixed precipitation could arrive before dawn Wednesday, while the brunt of the snowfall is likely to go from late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, making the commute messy, he said. It'll ease a bit Thursday, then restart Friday, he said.

The storm front is expected to pound southern Atlantic coastal states before moving northeast and stalling over the ocean.

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Locally, there's still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast, including whether snow or rain will dominate, Picca said.

It all depends on developing temperatures in the system and length of time the front stalls off the Island, he said. A 1- to 2-degree change in temperature could mean the difference between more or less snow, he said.

"If people are having flashbacks of our previous blizzard, we're not forecasting anything of that nature," Picca said. "But we don't want to downplay this event. It has the potential to cause some significant impact."

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Winds and heavy, wet snow could topple power lines and tree limbs before the storm wraps up Friday night, he said.

With Gary Dymski

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