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Long Island weather: Partly sunny and muggy, chance of light rain

Partly sunny with a 20% chance of late-morning sprinkles and a high of about 80 degrees, Saturday's weather — though muggy — will offer quite a pleasing contrast to the deluge that was Tropical Storm Elsa.

Elsa has, however, left behind at least one hazard: Suffolk’s ocean beaches will have a high risk of rip currents through Saturday evening, said the National Weather Service, which issued a hazardous weather outlook.

Sunday’s weather looks to be just about identical. Though the odds of rain rise to 30%, showers and any thunderstorms should hold off until 2 p.m. or so, according to the weather service.

Long Islanders can anticipate that pattern to continue through Friday, with morning sun possibly giving way to early-afternoon storms. The odds of rain were assessed at 30% from Monday to Wednesday, for example.

"It appears that there is a chance at seeing showers and thunderstorms each afternoon and evening," the weather service said.

Daytime highs likely will drift around the low 80s until Wednesday, when they will begin climbing, rising to 86 degrees by Friday, the weather service said.

That is several degrees warmer than typical: July’s mean temperature is 73.9 degrees in Islip, according to weather service records that begin in 1963.

And it could feel much hotter by mid-week, at least when humidity is calculated in.

"Temperatures may once again hit or exceed 90 degrees in urban northeast New Jersey and the New York City metro (area) Wednesday through Friday," the weather service said. "With dew points in the upper 60s and low 70s, this may translate to heat indices 95 or higher."

Any hot and steamy weather in the tri-state region, however, will not be nearly as punishing as the continuing oven-like heat wave baking so much of the West, strengthening its drought and increasing the threat of wildfires.

"Numerous daily high temperature records could be in jeopardy of being broken, particularly for California and Nevada," said the Weather Prediction Center, which is part of the weather service.

"Highs could approach 115-120 degrees for the lower elevations of Arizona and eastern California this weekend!" it added.

The Midwest and Central Plains, however, are at risk of flooding and strong storms, which could prove severe in some spots in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas, the prediction center advised.

The marked switch from Elsa in the New York metropolitan area’s weather stems from a series of different approaching fronts, the weather service said, with a "weak cold front" lingering Saturday before "weak high pressure briefly builds in tonight."

Cold fronts, or zones dividing two air masses, deliver cooler, denser air. Warm fronts are the transition zone between the departing cold air and the arriving warm air, the weather service says.

Clear skies often result from high pressure systems as their falling air, pressing down on Earth, cools and dries. Low pressure systems, with their warm, rising air, allow vapors to condense into rain.

The forecast for possible afternoon storms for much of the next week stems partly from a ridge, or an "elongated area," of fairly high pressure gradually weakening, the weather service explained.

"Western Atlantic ridging will continue to build over the Eastern Seaboard through at least the middle of next week," it said.

A low pressure system, now over the Midweat, heads to the western Great Lakes early next week. It will help usher in a warm front to the New York area around Tuesday, the weather service said.

And then a shortwave trough, an elongated area of low pressure that can herald thunderstorms, will help erode that ridge from Thursday to Friday, allowing a cold front to arrive.

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