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No tornadoes, but plenty of wind and rain

Police wait for LIPA to shut off power

Police wait for LIPA to shut off power after high winds brought down a high power line in Old Brookville. (Sept. 18, 2012) Credit: Jim Staubitser

A feared tornado never materialized, but heavy rain and strong, gusting winds of at least 40 mph at one point plunged more than 10,000 Long Islanders into darkness Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, officials said, the result of toppled trees and power lines.

By shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, 644 LIPA customers remained without power, most of them in the Town of North Hempstead and the Town of Oyster Bay. At the peak, 13,845 customers were without electricity, LIPA said.

The National Weather Service said it issued one tornado warning for southwestern Suffolk County coastal communities as a line of thunderstorms moved through Long Island out ahead of a cold front Tuesday night.

The warning was issued at about 9:45 p.m., as radar tracked what looked like strong rotation over the Atlantic Ocean, just south of Gilgo State Park.

However, the weather service said there were no confirmed tornadoes -- and that radar and atmospheric data suggesting a potential tornado near Gilgo later indicated it had devolved and disappeared without fully forming. The tornado warning expired at 10 p.m.

What was documented, the weather service said, were damaging winds and rain. Wind gusts of 40 mph were recorded at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, while gusts of 39 mph were recorded at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, the weather service said. A rainfall total of 1.7 inches was recorded in Carle Place, while 1.21 inches was recorded in Farmingdale and 0.67 inches was record in Islip.

While there is no longer the threat of severe weather Wednesday, there is a moderate risk of rip currents on Atlantic Ocean-facing beaches, the weather service advised.

The weather service said Long Island can expect gradual clearing in the afternoon and a high of 71 degrees.

Sunny skies are expected to return Thursday, though a chance of showers is forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

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