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Santa Claus forecast: Wet and windy, but not white

High tides flooded South Ocean Avenue in Freeport

High tides flooded South Ocean Avenue in Freeport Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Memo to Old St. Nick: Pack a slicker for the sleigh ride and raincoats for the reindeer.

"Warm, wet, & not white" is how a National Weather Service tweet describes the prospects for Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning -- just when Santa Claus is making the rounds.

Wednesday's rainfall -- heavy at times, with the possibility of thunder and record-high temperatures -- also is expected to make holiday travel challenging, with fog and lower clouds reducing visibility, said Peter Wichrowski, a weather service meteorologist in the agency's Upton office.

Steady, moderate rain is expected during the day, with the heaviest forecast for 6 p.m. to midnight, he said, when a line of heavier showers is likely to move through.

In all, around 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches is forecast. Winds pick up in the evening hours, he said, with gusts as high as 35 to 40 mph, especially with the heavier rains.

The bulk of the precipitation should be over by 6 a.m. on Christmas, Wichrowski said, with "drier air working its way in" and allowing for "sunshine a good part of the day." Still, breezy conditions are expected to continue, with gusts possibly as high as 40 mph.

As for temperatures, highs Wednesday are forecast in the 56- to 58-degree range, he said. The record of 57 was set on the date in 1990 at Long Island MacArthur Airport. The record for a Dec. 25 is 56 degrees, set in 1994, with highs this year also expected in the mid- to upper 50s.

Scattered rain was expected into this morning, accompanied by patchy fog.

Weather conditions Tuesday delayed some arriving flights at LaGuardia Airport by about 90 minutes and at Kennedy Airport by about 45 minutes, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Travelers are being advised to check with their airlines for possible delays during the holiday travel period, according to the FAA website, faa.gov.

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