As the winter storm traveled through Long Island overnight Sunday, many Long Islanders woke up to a few extra inches of water on their local roads. Newsday's Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: James Carbone, Howard Schnapp

This story was reported by Matthew Chayes, Cecilia Dowd, Joan Gralla and Darwin Yanes. It was written by Gralla and Chayes.

A winter storm that slammed the South with ice and snow spared Long Island, with help from a shift in winds and warmer air that turned it into a rain event with little of the damage seen elsewhere, according to the National Weather Service.

Outages were negligible, according to PSEG Long Island, flooding was minor in most places and there was moderate erosion and downed tree limbs at some parks and beaches.

But by Monday night, winds had calmed down to about 20 mph and temperatures were dropping from the 40s to the 20s, making the only morning hazard possible ice in flooded roadways, along with the remnants of off and on flurries falling overnight in some parts of Long Island.

Earlier, the winter storm had lost much of its punch due to a shift in winds, explained David Stark, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton.

Instead of gusting from the east at nearly 60 mph in spots and pushing the ocean onto the shore, "They went more south and then southwest right around daybreak," he said.

That was around two hours or so before Nassau’s high tide, which peaked at about 8:44 a.m. Monday, and Suffolk’s, which crested at around 11:12 a.m., according to tidal charts.

"We still had flooding; it just wasn’t as bad as it could have been," he said.

The Town of Southampton’s emergency manager, Ryan Murphy, had feared a potential surge would be felt most keenly in the Peconic and Flanders bay areas.

Thanks to the early shift in the winds’ direction,"It was nothing out of the ordinary; we’ve got water rising in places where we normally see water rising in a storm."

The storm also moved fairly swiftly, exiting parts of the area before the morning rush hour.

And, of course, noted Stark, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday allowed many people to stay home.

The speed of the winds largely mirrored predictions, with Nassau's Wantagh recording a top gust of 56 mph and in Suffolk, both Fire Island and Orient saw winds gust to 69 mph.

Most communities got between one and two inches of rain. Great Neck had the highest amount of rain in Nassau at 1.84 inches; Suffolk’s Terryville was first in that county with 1.87 inches, the weather service said.

Minor flooding was a factor in some communities.

James Doran, 29, of Patchogue, said he didn’t have any flooding near his home, but noted that the street flooding was one of the worst he’s seen in his two years living in the village.

"We had a couple storms in the summer, like one of the hurricanes that hit us, but this is worse than that," Doran said.

The storm made for a soggy early Monday commute on...

The storm made for a soggy early Monday commute on the northbound Meadowbrook Parkway. Credit: Howard Schnapp

At the Charles J. Cowan Marina in Lindenhurst, flood waters...

At the Charles J. Cowan Marina in Lindenhurst, flood waters covered certain parts of the deck Monday. Credit: Newsday/Darwin Yanes

Only two Long Island state parks were shut after the storm — though anyone wishing to walk out on the sand will have to wait as beaches are flooded, said George Gorman, Long Island regional director, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The two parks closed are: the North Fork’s Orient Beach State Park, which should reopen Monday afternoon after the ocean recedes; and Babylon’s Gilgo State Park, where waves crested as high as seven to 11 feet, Gorman said.

"We have branches down all over the parks," he said.

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