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Morning commuters face black ice, single-digit temperatures

Cars travel east on Sunrise Highway at Brentwood

Cars travel east on Sunrise Highway at Brentwood Road on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

The National Weather Service is warning commuters to watch out for black ice as temperatures drop near single digits early Monday morning.

Cold temperatures, with winds between 15 and 25 mph, and “patchy ice overnight” are likely, according to an advisory warning issued Sunday evening.

“The very cold overnight temperature will allow any standing water to refreeze, and that will linger into” the morning’s commute,” said Joe Pollina, a meteorologist at the agency’s Upton bureau.

The year’s first major winter storm put 6 inches to almost a foot of snow across Long Island, with the highest totals in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the storm, as predicted, left 8 inches on the western portion of the county and 12 inches toward the East End. But roads were clear and county operations switched to salt and sand by Sunday afternoon.

Bellone, in an interview Sunday, warned drivers to “take it easy Monday morning. Once the sun goes down, the roads will freeze and people need to take precautions.”

The cold weather is expected to be short-lived. Forecasters say a dramatic thaw will occur by Wednesday when highs reach 50 degrees.

Long Islanders began to dig out on Sunday, but many made time to play in the light powdery snow. Some took to parks, football fields and jogging paths, later celebrating with a cup of hot chocolate.

Mia Campuzano, 8, of New Hyde Park said that the snow conditions were perfect for sledding at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park.

“I’ve gone down maybe 20 times,” said Campuzano, armed with her pink sled. “The snow is very hard, very cold and slippery.”

Anthony Borriello, 28, of Middle Island was at Field of Dreams Park in Massapequa for an annual flag football tournament. “Snow or warm weather, I’m going to be out here playing,” he said.

“It brings the guys closer together, because you’ve got to stick as one to play in the snow,” Borriello added. “You can’t be out here individually today.”

Yaphank logged the highest snow total with 10.8 inches, followed by Upton at 10.6 inches, Laurel with 10.5 inches, Coram recording 10.3 inches, Calverton with 10.2 inches, and East Shoreham recording 10.1 inches, according to the weather service. Ten inches fell in Nesconset and Riverhead. In Nassau County, Hicksville received 9.2 inches of snow, Plainview, 9.1 inches, Wantagh, 8.9 inches, and East Norwich, 8 inches, according to the weather service.

Highs are forecast to reach the mid-20s on Monday.

A mostly cloudy day is forecast for Tuesday along with highs near 43 and lows near 38 before Wednesday’s warmup with cloudy skies and periods of light rain.

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter at a Sunday news conference said the storm, occurring on a weekend, would likely result in added overtime costs for most of the town’s 200 employees working on cleanup. Weekend snowstorms and the associated overtime costs were to blame, in part, for a 17 percent annual increase in overtime costs across Long Island’s 13 towns and two cities in 2015, Newsday has reported.

“The good news was the fact that it’s the weekend and people are for the most part not out and having to get out as early as they would do on a workday,” Carpenter said.

With Christine Chung, Stefanie Dazio, Deon J. Hampton, Ted Phillips and David M. Schwartz

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