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Long Island forecast: Severe thunderstorm watch issued

A pedestrian tries to stay dry in Long

A pedestrian tries to stay dry in Long Beach on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Nassau and Suffolk counties, effective as of 7:40 p.m. Wednesday.

The watch is in effect until 2 a.m. Thursday, the service said.

That came after the service issued an earlier hazardous weather outlook for Long Island, with multiple facets, and effective through 4 a.m. Thursday, telling of “the potential for isolated damaging wind gusts late this evening into the overnight,” along with showers and possible thunderstorms. That could lead to localized flooding in areas of poor drainage, the outlook says.

It does look like there will be “some on-and-off showers, and any could be heavy,” but the more widespread, heavier precipitation is looking to hold off until after around 8 p.m. Wednesday, lasting into the overnight hours, said Peter Wichrowski, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton.

Fog is also a likely element as a cold front moves through, Wichrowski said, which, along with the winds and rain could make for especially tricky driving from around 8 p.m. though 3 to 4 a.m. Thursday.

A wind advisory is in place from 6 p.m. Wednesday though 4 a.m. Thursday, warning of strong southerly winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph. That could lead to some downed tree limbs, possible isolated power outages and challenges driving high-profile vehicles, the weather service said.

The higher chance for damaging winds of up to a possible 60 mph would be for Nassau County westward, which also has around a 2 percent chance of seeing a tornado, Wichrowski said. A tornado watch — meaning favorable conditions for their development — has been issued for areas around Princeton, New Jersey, but “a weak tornado” couldn’t be ruled out for New York City and Nassau with heavier storm cells, he said.

Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist, warned of possible power outages during the overnight hours, as winds continue to increase.

Late Wednesday afternoon flight arrival delays were averaging a little over two hours at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, with departure delays as well, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website. The FAA advises travelers to check with their airlines.

The service also said in a weather statement that minor coastal flooding is possible for Nassau’s South Shore back bays during times of high tide starting Wednesday evening.

For the most part, the Thursday morning commute should be dry, Wichrowski said, with windy conditions and highs for the day of around 50 degrees.

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