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Snow totals fall short of forecasters' Sunday estimates of 6-10 inches on Long island

The National Weather Service canceled a winter storm warning for Nassau and Suffolk counties about three hours early.

The National Weather Service canceled a winter storm warning for Nassau and Suffolk counties by 4 a.m. Monday, about three hours early. The South Shore woke up to 1 to 2 inches of snow generally, with up to 4 inches north of the Long Island Expressway, News 12 meteorologist Rich Hoffman said. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Caryn This story was reported by Vera Chinese, Jesse CoburnAlison Fox, Deon J. HamptonMark Harrington, Patricia KitchenRachel O'Brien and Michael O'Keeffe. It was written by Coburn.

The third snowfall of March wrapped up earlier than expected Monday morning, leaving 1 to 6 inches of wet, slushy snow on Long Island, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service canceled a winter storm warning for Nassau and Suffolk counties by 4 a.m. Monday, about three hours early.

"The storm shifted about 10 miles north of where we had it," National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dispigna said Monday evening. "Connecticut got quite a bit," she said. 

More sleet mixed in with the snow, especially on the south shore. "The wetter, heavier stuff doesn’t accumulate as much," she said. 

Dispigna said the storm dropped as much as 4 inches in Nassau and 6 inches Suffolk. 

Those totals fell short of Sunday estimates for snowfall on Long island, which climbed to 6 to 10 inches in the weather service's final forecast. Sunday night's storm followed a light snowfall Friday morning and up to 5 inches of snow on Saturday morning.

The rest of the week is expected to be dry but much colder than usual with temperatures Tuesday from the high teens to the lower 30s at a time of year when normal temperatures would be in the mid-40s, Dispigna said. Tuesday and Wednesday should be sunny with highs near 30.

"It was a sloppy mix of more rain and snow overnight," News 12 Long Island meteorologist Rich Hoffman said Monday morning. “If that rain was all snow, we would have been looking at more than a foot of snow overnight."


At the root of it, “some storms have higher predictability than others,” said Tim Morrin, weather service meteorologist in Upton. 

In this case, there was high certainty that the system was coming and that snow would impact the region, he said. Confidence was lower for coastal areas where there was “potential for mixing due to warm air intrusion.” 

But the forecast wasn’t “a total bust,” as in many cases amounts came in at the lower end of the range, said Jase Bernhardt, assistant professor and head of Hofstra University’s new meteorology minor program.

“The public may expect snowfall amounts down to the inch, but for many facets of forecasting, especially winter weather, a range of outcomes is the best way of communicating," he said.

The Long Island Rail Road reported good service Monday and passengers described few issues. 

The roads were mostly clear in Nassau and Suffolk counties, county executives Laura Curran and Steve Bellone said, respectively, in separate morning appearances with News 12 Long Island.

"Everything seemed to break in our favor with this storm, and quite frankly I would say Mother Nature owed us one," Bellone said.

While there hasn't been much snow this season, Curran cautioned: “It’s not over yet.”

PSEG Long Island reported about 800 customers without power Monday morningbut by the evening the number of affected customers had fallen to 130.

There were minor accidents, mostly vehicles sliding off roads as a result of slippery conditions, police in both counties said. Crashes closed roads or lanes in Suffolk, including a two-car crash that closed the eastbound HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway around exits 57 and 58 in Islandia and one that closed the southbound William Floyd Parkway in Ridge. There were no serious injuries.

The storm prompted hundreds of school districts, day cares and colleges to delay openings Monday morning, with about 100 closing for the day. New York City schools closed too.

All NICE bus system routes were running Monday morning, according to the system's Twitter account, which cautioned riders to expect delays.

Monday evening departures and arrivals at Kennedy airport in Queens were delayed by 15 minutes or less, according to the Federal Aviation Administration while departures from LaGuardia were experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes due to the volume of traffic. Weather was causing to late flights into Boston's Logan Airport of more than three hours and to Newark International Airport of up to 40 minutes, according to the FAA.

Two departing flights were canceled, but there were no other departure or arrival delays at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma.

The snow did not disrupt the rollout of the South Fork Commuter Connection, a new weekday train and shuttle service along the LIRR's Montauk branch, according to LIRR and local officials.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) were among those who took the 10-minute ride from Hampton Bays east to Southampton Village on Monday morning. 

“It was a nice, smooth ride, and it was on time,” Schneiderman said. “As people realize it’s a reliable service, I think they are going to gravitate toward it.”

Two shuttle buses ferried riders from train stations to their workplaces as part of the service, which costs $8.50 for a round-trip ticket.

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