Though Long Islanders were spared blizzard conditions that clobbered other parts of the Northeast with more than a foot of snow, they should still look out for icy driving conditions Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning, forecasters said.
In a special weather statement Tuesday, the National Weather Service said temperatures will quickly drop to freezing Tuesday evening. Forecasters said commuters should use “extra caution” when driving Tuesday night.
Weather service meteorologist David Stark in Upton said “there could be some spots of black ice” throughout Long Island, particularly on roads that haven’t been treated with salt or sand.
Remaining slush will freeze, causing icy roads and walkways, and Long Islanders should expect black ice where there isn’t slush or snow, the statement said.
At a news conference at the Long Island Welcome Center in Dix Hills earlier Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said state officials were working to clear roads filled with sleet and slush Tuesday before “the weather drops tonight and that slush freezes. Then we have a problem for tomorrow’s commute.”
Light snow flurries were also possible Tuesday after 9 p.m., the weather service said.
Long Island MacArthur Airport recorded a temperature of 29 degrees Tuesday evening, but factoring in wind chill values, it felt more like 14 degrees, according to the weather service.
Temperatures will drop to a low of about 19 degrees Tuesday night and winds were expected to remain strong, forecasters said. On Wednesday, it won’t be much warmer, with highs likely to reach the low 30s.
The freezing temperatures come in the wake of Tuesday’s storm, which tracked to the northwest, ushering in milder air that kept snow accumulations down significantly on Long Island, forecasters said.
Earlier Tuesday, predictions of more than a foot of snow prompted school districts, federal and state courts, and social services centers to close. But by daybreak, snow was making a changeover on Long Island, with more sleet in the mix, said John Murray, a meteorologist with the weather service in Upton.
Most of Long Island saw less than 4.5 inches, based on snowfall reports sent to the National Weather Service. At Long Island MacArthur Airport, only 2.9 inches of snow had been recorded at the airport by 2 p.m., according to the weather service.
Strong winds caused Nassau and Suffolk counties to respond to a handful of downed power lines and fallen trees. The highest reported wind gusts were 41 mph in Bethpage for Nassau County and 68 mph in Orient for Suffolk County.
In all, by 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, more than 23,700 customers had experienced an outage at some point during the day and evening as a result of the storm, PSEG Long Island said. All but 1,792 had been restored to service by that time, and crews, including 237 from off Long Island, were working through the night on 123 restoration jobs, spokesman Jeff Weir said.
The utility had called for more than 1,300 crews to come to Long Island, but was able to send back 736 before they arrived, as the storm’s impact began to wane Tuesday afternoon.
With William Murphy, Laura Figueroa, Mark Harrington, Lisa Irizarry, Robert Brodsky, Scott Eidler, and Alfonso A. Castillo
CORRECTION: The number of PSEG Long Island customers restored to service was incorrect in a previous version of this story.