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LI drenching fails to quench drought

Don Buckley takes his dog Gracie for a

Don Buckley takes his dog Gracie for a walk during a spring snowstorm in Akron, N.Y. A spring nor'easter dumped up to six inches of snow east of Lake Ontario on Monday, and parts of western New York could see more than a foot of snow before the late-season storm moves on. (Monday, April 23, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

The heavy overnight rains that drenched Long Island dissipated before dawn Monday, leaving behind few reports of flooding and some lighter, isolated showers, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service said the highest rainfall amount -- 3.3 inches -- was recorded at its Upton office, and the storm, much needed for a drought-stricken region, mostly left its impression on Suffolk County.

But with the Island's rainfall 4 to 6 inches below normal so far this year before the weekend rains, the downpour was not enough to lift the drought designation.

Rainfall in Islip, for example, was 8.7 inches below normal on Sunday, and the overnight precipitation cut that down to 6.7 inches, said meteorologist Joe Pollina.

While the chance of showers from Tuesday to Thursday night ranges from 20 percent to 40 percent, Pollina said no major drenching is in the forecast: "We're not seeing anything like that moving up the coast."

Meanwhile, the storm brought snow to upstate areas. Newfield, which is outside Ithaca, had 10 inches of snow, while western New York was hit with 8 inches and counting as of 5:30 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said.

"We were snowing this morning and it changed to a mix of snow and rain and now we're back to snowfall," said meteorologist Shawn Smith in the Buffalo office.

The snow warning is still in effect for western New York as the storm system "sits and spins" over the area until Monday, he said.

Since 1900, snow has fallen in late April 10 times, he said, with Buffalo's 7.9 inches making a local, late snow record on April 27, 1989, Smith said.

The heavy, wet snow brought down the city's power lines and tree branches, the National Weather Service said.

At one point, the storm left more than 3,500 Long Islanders without electricity, but by 6:30 a.m. Monday, power had been restored to most customers, said the Long Island Power Authority. That number was down to 41 just before 5 p.m.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joey Picca said no major flooding was reported and a flood watch was canceled shortly before 4 a.m. Monday.

"Rivers and streams behaved themselves," Picca said. "For the most part, things were under control, floodwise."

Picca said there were some minor road flooding, but mostly on roadways that traditionally have poor drainage.

"A lane or two closed here and there, but nothing significant," he said.

Shirley with 3.13 inches and Islip with 2.91 inches were among nine Suffolk communities recording rainfall amounts of 1.41 inches or more. In Nassau County, the highest recorded rainfall was in Merrick, with 3.24 inches, the service said.

For the most part, the rain was good news for Long Island, which on April 12 was placed in the severe drought category by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The next downpour may come Saturday night when there's a chance for a thunderstorm. "For the next few days, there's a low pressure system that's going to stick around," Picca said, "and that's going to leave our weather a little unsettled."

He added, "But we're still running so far below normal it will take several more significant rainfalls to correct the conditions."

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