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Snow turns to rain as warmer temps approach Sunday

Steady snow falling across Long Island Saturday was forecast to drop 5 inches in parts of Suffolk and northern Nassau. Although temperatures were expected to hover around freezing throughout the day, many Long Islanders braved the cold. Videojournalists: Danielle Finkelstein, Steve Pfost and Howard Schnapp (Dec. 14, 2013)

Steady snowfall and slippery roads didn't keep some Long Islanders inside Saturday. With Christmas around the corner, there were presents to buy and trees to decorate.

More than 3 1/2 inches of snow had fallen in parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties by about 10 p.m., according to National Weather Service meteorologist Joey Picca in Upton.

A winter weather advisory for the region was in effect through 6 a.m. today. Snowfall will turn into rain Saturday before midnight, the weather service said. By Sunday morning, snow covered streets will turn slushy, causing some slick spots on roads and highways,  the weather service said.

Rain should end across Long Island by 10 a.m. Sunday.

High temperatures on Sunday are expected to be in the mid to upper 40s, with lows in the mid to upper 20s, the weather service said.

Forecasts call for mostly cloudy skies and overcast Sunday morning, but should clear to partly cloudy skies by the afternoon.

While shoppers pressed on, travelers were at the mercy of the storm system that spanned several states and dumped heavy snow on much of the Northeast.

Area airports reported a number of flight cancellations and delays, but plow crews kept most major Long Island roads clear and few serious accidents were reported. All Long Island Rail Road lines were running well Saturday night, according to its website.

The weather service had predicted 4 to 6 inches of total snow accumulation in northern Suffolk. In Nassau, the forecast called for 4 to 6 inches, with a little less on the South Shore.

Despite snow and below-freezing temperatures, Kim Escobar of Wantagh and her daughter Chiara, 16, were determined to get their Christmas tree as planned yesterday afternoon. They picked out a tree at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Levittown.

"I don't care about the weather," Escobar said as her tree was tied to the roof of her sport utility vehicle. "I just have to be more careful driving. I stop way before, in case there is ice."

People also braved icy roads to hit the stores, unwilling to sacrifice a Christmas shopping day.

In Huntington, at the Cow Over the Moon toystore on Main Street, resident Kim Zamot, 48, was shopping with her daughter Sydney, 11.

"In this town I don't think the snow is slowing anyone down," she said.

Outside the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, drivers hunted for scarce parking spaces as the snow kept coming down in the afternoon. Inside, the mall was crowded with shoppers wearing winter coats.

Andrew Cruz, 31, came with his wife and two young children from Jackson Heights, Queens, because the weather makes it harder to push a stroller outside.

"It's easier to shop in a mall than in New York today," Cruz said.

In East Meadow, James Giordano, 38, of Valley Stream, along with eight friends, refused to cancel their annual "old man football" game at Eisenhower Park.

"The field is completely ice, so it was very hard to run," Giordano said afterward. "But it is not about winning; it's all about fun."

With Aisha Al-Muslim

and Robert Brodsky

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