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Mildest day of the year on Long Island as temperature reaches 56 degrees

After a gruelingly cold February, Long Islanders experienced the mildest day so far this year.

The temperature hit 56 degrees late Wednesday afternoon at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

The last time the airport saw 56 was Christmas Day, said Joe Pollina, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton. Sixty degrees was recorded a day earlier on Christmas Eve, he said.

The day could be seen as a "car wash kinda day," said Rich Hoffman, News 12 Long Island meteorologist, in a tweet.

Snow cover has been on the decline, said weather service meteorologist David Stark, especially with help from Tuesday night's rain. On Friday the airport was reporting 12 inches of snow on the ground, down Wednesday to less than an inch, he said.

But that melt, combined with rapidly dropping overnight temperatures into the lower 30s, means conditions in some areas will be ripe for the development of black ice and its accompanying hazards.

Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny and Friday will be partly sunny, Hoffman said, with highs of around 46 on Thursday and 42 Friday.

Precipitation comes back into the picture overnight Friday, he said, with rain and possibly snow or sleet mixed in, turning to all rain on Saturday.

Melting snow and ice has affected many area roads. Riverhead police said in a news release Wednesday evening that the melt had "caused some major flooding on our local roads." The release said Reeves Avenue, Doctor's Path, the southern end of Hulse Landing Road and low lying roadways were "experiencing major ponding. Travelers should seek alternate routes. Vehicles have become stranded."

With Gary Dymski

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