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Long Island weather: Potential for white Christmas after all

The first day of winter arrives Thursday, Dec.

The first day of winter arrives Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, and on Long Island it will turn colder, with the predicted high temperature of near 38 degrees slightly below normal. Credit: News 12 Long island

Far from a done deal, it was becoming increasingly likely that Long Island could see some light snow on Christmas morning, forecasters said.

Based on the late Thursday afternoon forecast, “flakes will be flying on Christmas,” with better chances for the early morning hours preceding sunrise Monday, said Joe Pollina, National Weather Service meteorologist, based in Upton.

For Long Island, precipitation could start as rain, switching to a rain/snow mix and then just snow, for Sunday overnight into Monday. Snow would taper off later in the morning into the afternoon, he said, followed by strong northwest winds, gusting from 35 to 45 mph, with the strongest winds expected for the easternmost tip of the Island.

Accumulation, area-wide, could range from a dusting to a few inches, “as temperatures fall into the upper 20s and low 30s Christmas morning,” the weather service said in a regional briefing.

Still, with the system days away, conditions could change with a shifting storm track, which determines precipitation type and where heaviest amounts would fall, Pollina said.

The last time Long Island saw a white Christmas was in 2013, when 1.7 inches of snow fell the day before, with an inch remaining on Dec. 25, said Jessica Spaccio, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University.

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