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Long Island weather: Some storms arrive, but too late to snarl commute

A house in Westbury was hit by lightning, and three boaters in Flanders needed to be rescued. But the clouds were expected to move out by about 10 p.m. 

A view of radar in our region late

A view of radar in our region late Wednesday evening.

Showers, and even heavy rain and lightning in some areas, moved across Long Island on Wednesday as the evening rush hour neared its end, the National Weather Service said.

The rain and possible-hail forecast that had been expected to mess up the commute didn't materialize, and it was only about 6 p.m. when the Island started getting wet, said Brian Ciemnecki, a meteorologist at the service's Upton office.

But lightning struck a Westbury house on Earl Street about 7:10, forcing the occupants to rush out, Nassau police said. No injuries were reported, authorities said., Other details were not immediately available.

In Flanders, three teenagers boating on Birch Creek were rescued after their two kayaks overturned in waters roughened by the wind and rain. "They did not check the weather," said Southampton Town police spokeswoman Lt. Susan Ralph. 

One of the boaters — two of them were 18 and the other17 — called his father, who then called 911, police said. Flanders firefighter pulled them out of the waters, police said, and Southampton Town bay constables retrieved the kayaks. The teens were evaluated at the scene, and one of them was taken to the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for further evaluation, police said.

About .19 inches, or less than a quarter inch, had fallen in Islip by 7 p.m. Meteorologists said the clouds were expected to move out by about 10 p.m. 

"We're seeing the back end move through," Ciemnecki said shortly after 7 p.m. "We're not expecting any severe thunderstorms. We're looking at mainly rainmakers, with some embedded thunder."

The updated forecast called for a somewhat lowered risk of more severe conditions, especially for New York City, which earlier had been in an area with an enhanced risk.  

That's because temperatures were in the 50s Wednesday night. "You need heat for thunderstorms," said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Bill Korbel.

The highest threat for severe conditions is for Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, forecasters said.

One-inch hail was reported with a storm system Tuesday night in Westhampton Beach, the weather service said. Those storms dumped about an inch of hail in areas of nearby Eastport, said News 12 Long Island meteorologist Rich Hoffman. 

Temperatures in the mid-70s are expected for Thursday. The day should be mostly cloudy, again with chances of showers and thunderstorms during the evening commute, precipitation that is expected to spill into early Friday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday should be sunny, with highs in the mid-70s.,Showers could return Sunday.

With Ellen Yan

Tornado basics

There’s a slight chance later Wednesday for areas of Long Island to see a severe thunderstorm, which means, while not likely, an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out, forecasters say.

What you should know about tornadoes:

• No tornadoes have been confirmed in May on Long Island, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Information going back to 1950. August has been the peak month, with 13.

• Plan ahead. If you're at home, go to a basement, safe room or interior room away from windows. And, don’t forget companion animals.

• If you're at work or school, follow any tornado drill procedure that’s in place. Otherwise, look for interior room on lowest floor and steer clear of windows, as well as large open rooms such as cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium.

• If you're in a vehicle, if possible, drive to the closest substantial place to take shelter from flying debris.

• Tornado watch means tornadoes are possible in and near the area, and you have a little time to prepare.

• Tornado warning means take action now — a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. That warning could come as a wireless emergency alert on your phone.

Sources: National Weather Service, https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado; National Centers for Environmental Information, https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/

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