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Surprise snow snarls LI traffic; springlike temps seenahead

A vehicle traveling south on Nichols Road just

A vehicle traveling south on Nichols Road just north of Middle Country Road veered off the road and turned over on the side Monday morning, March 31, 2014. Credit: Ronald Monteleone

An unexpected spring snowstorm ambushed commuters Monday morning, with a heavy white band settling over part of central Long Island, where it snarled traffic before succumbing to sunshine.

But more seasonal weather is returning. While there may be some rain Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina said Tuesday and Wednesday were expected to be "springlike," with temperatures close to 50 and in the mid-50s, respectively.

Monday precipitation had been expected, but the service was surprised the band of snow lingered and dumped more than 4 inches over a small area of central Suffolk County.

At Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, 4.6 inches were recorded, with 4.3 in Centereach and 4 in Oakdale, the service said. Trained spotters reported one inch in Plainview and nine-tenths of an inch in Wantagh.

"It was just one of those things where one degree or two can really make a difference in the forecast," said weather service meteorologist Lauren Nash.

"If you were in that band, you saw plenty of snow in a short time, up to 3 inches," Nash said. "Almost everywhere else it was like an inch or less."

Suffolk County police said there were about 30 fender-bender type crashes early Monday, but could not say if they were weather-related. Nassau had no accident information.

A spokesman for state police in the Riverhead barracks said Monday: "We ourselves handled about five accidents today. They were within a two-hour time frame, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m." The vehicles involved were "just spinning into each other or spinning off the roadways," he said.

With Patricia Kitchen, Lauren R. Harrison and John Valenti

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