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Freezing rain snarls traffic Sunday; temps to plunge Tuesday

Vehicles drive under a sign advising drivers to

Vehicles drive under a sign advising drivers to use caution while driving on the Long Island Expressway as rain falls across Long Island. (Jan. 5, 2014) Credit: Steve Pfost

Temperatures are predicted to plunge to dangerously low levels Tuesday as a cold front sweeps into the area late Monday night, bringing gusty winds that will make it feel like below zero, National Weather Service officials said.

Long Island temperatures Monday night are forecast to dip to 10 to 15 degrees from a combination of "a strong cold front coming in from the west, and cold arctic air from up north," said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist for the weather service based in Upton.

By Tuesday morning, temperatures will range from 15 to 18 degrees on Long Island and dip to anywhere from 3 to 6 degrees at night. With projected wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour, the wind chill could make it feel anywhere from minus 5 degrees to minus 10 degrees, Nash said.

"If it's that cold, you don't want to be out for extended periods of time," Nash said.

On Long Island Sunday, icy conditions left over from the earlier two-day snowstorm, combined with freezing rain, led to an uptick in slip-and-fall patients at hospitals.

Suffolk police reported several spinouts on the Long Island Expressway near the Suffolk-Nassau border yesterday, while state police said the Sunken Meadow Parkway was closed for about 45 minutes Sundaymorning because of icing.

The Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration closed Kennedy Airport temporarily so crews could salt and sand runways after a Delta Connection flight from Toronto slid into a snowbank after landing.

Town of Brookhaven officials said the aftermath of the snowstorm was believed to be the reason why a 25-year-old town-owned Privateer boat sank in Mount Sinai Harbor. Town workers removed the boat from the water Sunday, said town spokesman Jack Krieger.

Several Long Island hospital officials said they were overrun with fractures, slips-and-falls and head injury cases stemming from the icy weather.

At Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, doctors attended to about 65 slip-and-fall cases by late afternoon. Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow reported a 30 percent increase in emergency room volume and several North Shore-LIJ Health System hospitals said they also experienced increased traffic.

"It's the kind of thing that snuck up on people because they really didn't realize how severe the icing was," said Winthrop-University Hospital spokesman Edmund Keating.

Drizzling rain is forecast Monday, with highs near 50. There will also be a chance of snowfall on the East End Tuesday afternoon or evening. Wednesday will be dry and slightly warmer, with highs in the mid-20s, and lows in the teens. On Thursday, high temperatures will be in the low- to mid-30s, with lows in the 20s, while Friday will see highs near 40. With Jennifer Barrios

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