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Spring starts but winter doesn't end

Siena Escobar, 4, of Northport, giggles as she

Siena Escobar, 4, of Northport, giggles as she gets a push from her mom Olivia, at the playground at Northport Village Park on March 20, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

It's officially spring, but there's no immediate need to rush to pack away the shovels and overcoats.

Though there's room for hope for April through June, climatologists "don't have good news" for the near future, said Jon Gottschalck, an acting chief with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md.

There's the potential for above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures for the coming week or two, he said -- conditions that could favor snow.

Indeed, "a cold air mass is going to be in place" Tuesday and Wednesday, and "there is going to be a storm," said Mark Paquette, AccuWeather meteorologist who specializes in long-range forecasting. The "million-dollar questions," he said, are, "how strong, and what path?"

Overall, the next three weeks are expected to be cooler than average, with colder days broken up by "a day or two of sneaky warm days," he said. Still, by early to mid-April, a turnaround to nicer weather is expected, he said. That kick-in to more seasonal days will be welcome for Long Islanders for whom bundling up and messy morning commutes became almost the norm.

Since Nov. 1, there have been 30 days at Long Island MacArthur Airport that didn't get above freezing, second only to the 2002-03 cold season with 34 days, said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center in Ithaca. As for snowfall, the airport saw 58.9 inches, 2 inches short of the record set in 1995-96, she said.

Looking at longer-term predictions for April through June, Long Island is right in an area that has an equal chance of above, below and normal temperature and precipitation, said Gottschalck.

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