Early holiday weekend travelers heading west and south of Long Island could encounter stretches of severe thunderstorms, but folks staying home for the Memorial Day weekend are likely to be spared much of the heaviest rain.
The National Weather Service said Thursday an incoming warm front from the west helps bring about the "likelihood of rainfall" for Nassau and Suffolk counties until early Saturday.
The service's Upton office said the chance of rain ranges from 60 percent Thursday to 40 percent Friday before clearing Saturday.
"Most of the heaviest stuff is to the south and should stay there," said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the Upton office, of Thursday's rain pattern. "Long Island will get off-and-on showers through the morning, with the stronger storms being mostly west."
Nash said areas west of New York City are likely to get more rain than Long Island.
The forecast is up to 1.25 inches of rain in western Nassau. Most of Suffolk is expected to get an inch or less. Areas of the city and parts of New Jersey and the Hudson Valley are expected to get from 1.25 to 1.5 inches, the service said.
The weather was delaying some arriving flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Thursday morning commuters awoke to showers, and Nash said more could crop up again for the evening rush hour.
On Friday, showers are likely and scattered thunderstorms possible before 1 p.m., the service said. Some fog also is likely for the morning commute.
Friday night again calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, with clearing expected at about 7 a.m. Saturday.
Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures from the high 60s to low 70s.
By Sunday, clear, sunny skies start to dominate.
Both Sunday and Monday call for daytime temperatures in the low 70s with nighttime lows in the high 50s and low 60s, the service said.