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Weather forecast calls for high winds, snow midweek

A dusting of snow Monday morning was topped by scattered rain showers later in the day, but Tuesday is expected to be dry, with highs in the lower 50s.

The focus is now on a midweek system that could see rain and high winds move in Wednesday, said Joe Pollina, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton.

In a hazardous-weather outlook, the service said there is "increasing confidence" of gale-force winds over the Long Island Sound and in the waters off the South Shore late Wednesday night through Thursday. Gale-force winds have speeds ranging from 39 mph to 54 mph.

"We could be seeing gusts of up to 40 and 45 mph," meteorologist David Stark said.

On land, the gusts won't be as strong, up to 30 mph, he said. "Thursday, it'll be quite windy and chilly."

The back edge of the midweek system is expected to bring a changeover to snow, mainly after midnight into early Thursday, Pollina said.

While it's still too early to talk about snow amounts, "We're not looking at anything significant," he said.

Wednesday evening commuters could face moderate-to-heavy rain with the possibility of thunderstorms, said Rich Hoffman, meteorologist with News 12 Long Island, which, like Newsday, is owned by Cablevision.

As for Thursday's snowfall, he said, he would guess the amount would be mostly less than 2 inches, though conditions could certainly shift. With temperatures near freezing, he said, roads could be "a little icy" for the Thursday morning rush.

Also, that storm system ushers in another brief cold spell, with Thursday looking at highs in the upper 20s to 30, Pollina said.

But on Saturday, temperatures will swing back into the reasonable range, in the mid-50s.

"These ups and downs are typical of mid-March," Stark said. "We're in the transition now" from winter to spring.

With Ellen Yan

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