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Long Island weather: Mostly clear with possible record-setting cold

A man uses a poncho to keep dry

A man uses a poncho to keep dry from a light snowfall near the Riverhead train station in Riverhead on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Credit: James Carbone

The bad news for Long Island's Wednesday morning commute? Strong winds, coupled with subfreezing temperatures will make it feel like the start of a day in mid-January day instead of two weeks before Thanksgiving.

The good news? Forecasters expect nothing but clear, sun-splashed skies and bone-dry conditions for Long Island with the expected biting winds actually helping evaporate lingering moisture from Tuesday's damp, chilly conditions that included brief snow flurries. Talk about cold comfort.

Winterlike temperatures, which forecasters said will hover near or below freezing at night through Saturday, come courtesy of a cold snap that has already held much of the Midwest and the South in its grip. An arctic air mass moved across a vast stretch of the country's midsection Tuesday with Long Island and much of the East Coast in its sights just as millions are getting ready for work Wednesday morning.

“The cold front came through on time,” said Andy Nash, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Boston office. “It’s a real strong cold front, so the temperature dropped 15 degrees in a few hours. We’re going to keep getting colder. … By the time [Wednesday] morning comes, it’s going to be in the teens.”

Meteorologists in the weather service's Upton were holding an annual winter weather workshop most of Tuesday and were not available to provide Long Island weather information.

The temperature across Long Island Wednesday will top out at 33 degrees with gusts up to 40 mph dropping the wind chill to 20 or lower at night, according to the weather service.

The frigid air will have little to no affect on the morning commute because the stiff breezes will help keep Long Island roads from freezing.

At least in the city, there wasn’t much rain that fell today and the wind is evaporating any moisture,” Nash said.

However, Tuesday evening, the weather service put out a warning telling motorists and pedestrians to watch out for black ice on some surfaces overnight and into Wednesday.

In preparation for the cold, Nassau County on Tuesday opened warming centers in Hicksville, Roslyn and Merrick.

“Our warming centers will be open for anybody that needs them, as will our 1-866-WARMBED hotline," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement Tuesday. "If you see someone who needs shelter overnight, please do not hesitate to call us.”

Warming centers in Suffolk County are operated by towns and villages. Suffolk residents in need of help may call the county Department of Social Services emergency hotline: 631-854-9100.

Nash said the metropolitan area could see record low temperatures Wednesday, when the thermometer could drop to as low as 20 degrees in Central Park. The record low for Nov. 13 is 24 degrees, set in 1986, he said.

Islip's record low for Nov. 13 is 24, according to the weather service.

Thursday and Friday should reach daytime highs in the upper 40s. The skies are expected to be partly sunny during the day Thursday before more clouds return after dark and the temperature falls to 35 with winds between 6 and 8 mph.

Mostly clear skies are predicted for Friday with overnight temperatures dipping to a low of 29, the weather service said.

With Joan Gralla and Sophia Chang

Nassau County and Huntington Town announced warming centers have opened in these locations:

Cantiague Park Ice Rink, 480 W. John St., Hicksville, 516-571-7056

Tuesday through 11 p.m.; Wednesday, 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

Christopher Morley Park, 500 Searingtown Rd. N, Roslyn, 516-571-8113

Tuesday through 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Aquatic Center, Merrick Avenue, Merrick 516-572-0501

Tuesday through 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

Huntington Senior center, 423 Park Ave., Huntington

Dix Hills Ice Rink, 575 Vanederbilt Pkwy., Dix Hills

Call Town Hall, 631-351-3000, for information.

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