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Long Island weather: Quick storm brings lightning, intense rain

Long Islanders may well be dodging downpours Wednesday, but local weather forecasters were keeping their eyes on the skies. On Wednesday, News 12 Long Island meteorologist Geoff Bansen said a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Long Island through the end of the night. Credit: News 12 Long Island

A thunderstorm brought lightning, 45 mph gusts and intense rain Wednesday night before moving off Long Island without wreaking much havoc, paving the way for a muggy Thursday, forecasters said.

"It came in quick and moved quick," said meteorologist David Stark of the National Weather Service in Upton.

Expect a repeat Thursday, which will be humid with a high around 87 and another chance of a thunderstorm at night, the service said.

Also on tap for Thursday is an air pollution alert from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Officials warned of high ozone levels from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. This can cause health problems, state officials said, especially for the very young and those with preexisting respiratory problems such as asthma and heart disease, the state said.

In addition, the weather service has issued a heat advisory through early Thursday evening in Nassau County — but not Suffolk. 

The advisory cautioned that the humidity could make it feel like 95 degrees though the thermometer might only read 88, the weather service said, potentially imperiling vulnerable individuals and making exercising outdoors possibly hazardous.

As for Wednesday night's storm, it moved through at 40 mph, Stark said, and because of that quick clip, flooding was not a big issue, with Farmingdale getting just a quarter of an inch and Islip three-tenths of an inch, he said.

Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties said no serious, weather-related damage or injuries were reported. 

The extended forecast calls for a sunny and bearable few days. The only blip may be a small chance of showers before noon Friday, but the highs from Friday to Tuesday will fall in the mid to upper 70s, the service said. 

As the end of August nears, it's unclear whether Long Islanders can say goodbye this year to long stretches of humid weather, Stark said. It's not unknown for the heat and humidity to settle down over this region in September, he said.

But the possibility of longer-term relief is not out of the question.

"We still have several more weeks to go, but we are on the tail end of summer," Stark said. "We're starting to see cooler air masses coming in."

With Craig Schneider and Joan Gralla

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