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Weekend storm may drop up to 8 inches of snow on Long Island

Jay Hansen, co-owner of Agnew and Taylor hardware

Jay Hansen, co-owner of Agnew and Taylor hardware store on Hawkins Avenue in Ronkonkoma, piles bags of salt on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in preparation of a possible weekend snowstorm. Credit: James Carbone

Saturday is looking to be a good day for snuggling at home, as a winter storm is set to bring up to 8 inches of snow for parts of Long Island, wind gusts up to 60 mph, and moderate coastal flooding.

Expected to arrive around daybreak Saturday, the system could drop 6 to 8 inches of snow from Nassau County into central Suffolk through 7 p.m. Saturday, with eastern Suffolk looking at 4 to 6 inches, and the very tip of Montauk just 1 to 2 inches, the National Weather Service said.

Still, there’s plenty of room for change, said David Stark, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton, with much riding on the storm’s track. Even a subtle shift farther to the north could mean more snow, farther to the south, less, he said. Confidence levels Wednesday evening in the snowfall amounts were in the moderate range, he said.

It was looking like the heaviest snowfall could run from around midmorning Saturday through evening hours, he said. The afternoon could bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph, with the stronger winds expected along coastal areas and on the East End.

Travel could be tough going, he said, with the potential for power outages with those gusty winds.

There’s a chance for blizzard conditions — heavy snow, wind speeds of 35 mph or more, and low visibility — from Saturday afternoon into the night, forecasters said.

Snow is expected to end around sunup Sunday, said Bill Korbel, News 12 Long Island meteorologist.

Some areas, especially the East End, he said, could see some rain or sleet added to the mix, meaning lower snowfall amounts.

Also, “strong northeast winds combined with a full moon will produce areas of moderate coastal flooding,” Korbel said.

The weather service said there could be “moderate tidal flooding around times of high tide” on Saturday with the “potential for significant beach erosion and localized wash-overs along Atlantic Ocean beaches.”

PSEG Long Island president Dave Daly said the utility was closely monitoring the storm and had implemented its prestorm checks and preparations.

The concern, he said, is that the storm could bring wet snow, along with wind gusts, that can lead to damaged or downed wires. “We are taking the right steps to be prepared,” including keeping in touch with outside utilities in case it needs extra workers to respond to outages.

“We’ll be prepared for whatever comes,” he said. “It’s on the edge of being a little dicey.”

The storm’s most significant impact was expected for the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area, where a blizzard watch is in effect from Friday afternoon through late Saturday, said the National Weather Service’s Baltimore/Washington office.

“Given the uncertainty at this time, the thinking is that the rain will at least mix in over the Twin Forks and that a changeover to all rain is a possibility for a period of time ... given the warm ocean temperatures,” the weather service said.

With Mark Harrington and Gary Dymski

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