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Long Island weather: Wintry mix to melt away Thursday

Ryan Fagen and Beam, a goldendoodle, dash through

Ryan Fagen and Beam, a goldendoodle, dash through the snow Wednesday in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

It was deja vu weather Wednesday as snow was to transition into a wintry mix then into rain without expectations of chaos, just like last week's storm, meteorologists said.

Overnight rain, then a drying-out period means the 1 to 2 inches of snow and other precipitation that fell on Long Island will be out of sight, out of mind during Thursday's unseasonably higher temperatures, the National Weather Service said. That's what happened last week on Tuesday, when snow turned into a wintry mix to rain as temperatures began rising overnight. 

The highs will be in the low 50s — that's 10 degrees above normal for February, usually considered the snowiest month of the year, said meteorologist Nelson Vaz at the service's Upton office.

"It might be enjoyable for a February day," Vaz said.

But before anyone thinks it'll be a warm record-breaker for the date, Vaz said, it was 80 degrees in Manhattan on Feb. 21 last year and a little bit cooler on the Island due to the ocean air. 

The higher snow totals expected Wednesday for the Island — up to 3 inches for Suffolk and up to 4 for Nassau — never materialized because the heavy bands of snow stayed west and north, meteorologists said. PSEG Long Island's outage map was mostly clear. Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties had no reports of any jump in motor vehicle crashes on slippery roads. Arrivals at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports were delayed an average of two hours, authorities said, while 12 flights were canceled at Long Island MacArthur Airport. 

The Long Island Rail Road added three extra trains from Penn Station for those leaving work early for the Island, and the agency also installed “shoes” on trains to keep ice and snow off the electrified third rail. 

Forecasters had said Wednesday's evening snow was to turn into a wintry mix of sleet and perhaps freezing rain as temperatures stayed below freezing, with wind chills between 15 and 25 degrees. A winter weather advisory was in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday due to slippery roads, particularly on secondary roads and untreated surfaces.

Temperatures were to creep up around midnight, resulting in a light to moderate rain, before the system was finally to quit around 3 a.m. or so, the service said.

It's a snow-sleet-rain-warming trend that Vaz said has been a pattern this winter. This has been more "tricky" to forecast than a straight snowstorm due to transitions into various types of precipitation, he said.

"There are so many different factors to take into account with the timing of these things, how much precipitation, how much snow versus sleet or freezing rain," Vaz said. "It'd be nicer to have just an all-snow event." 

With Patricia Kitchen and Antonio Planas


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