A coastal storm is set to hit the region starting Saturday morning into Sunday, forecast to drop up to 4 inches of snow on Long Island, the National Weather Service said.

Higher amounts, 2 to 4 inches, were expected for Nassau and western Suffolk, with 1 to 2 inches for eastern Suffolk, the service said late yesterday afternoon.

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Look for snow to start on the Island after 7 a.m., transitioning to rain in the early evening hours, and tapering off Sunday morning, said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton.

With models now indicating the storm will probably track closer to the coast, warm air off the ocean is expected to lead to an earlier snow-to-rain changeover, he said, meaning lesser snow amounts.

In total, close to an inch of precipitation -- rain and melted snow -- is expected, which may help alleviate Long Island's moderate drought, he said.

Highest snowfall is forecast for northeastern New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley and southern Connecticut, where a hazardous weather outlook is in effect.