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Black ice could develop as temperatures drop, NWS says

A view of Rockville Centre from the LIRR

A view of Rockville Centre from the LIRR station as snow continues to lightly fall into the evening, Saturday, Dec 9, 2017, Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Island snow-haters could breathe a little easier after forecasters downgraded expectations for the first snowstorm of the season.

As of Saturday evening, the storm was expected to bring three to five inches of the white stuff overall for most of the Island, said the Upton-based National Weather Service.

Meteorologists had previously predicted snowfall totals of up to six inches for Nassau County and as much as seven inches for Suffolk County.

Saturday evening, Suffolk’s winter storm warning was downgraded to an advisory, still lasting until 6 a.m. — though the service warned black ice could develop at temperatures below freezing.

The weather service previously had lowered Nassau to an advisory, which was set to expire at 4 a.m.

The service lowered its estimates because the temperature was warmer than expected and the storm underachieved during its early hours, said Jay Engle, NWS meteorologist. And the storm was likely to be shorter than first predicted.

Of course, some areas might receive slightly more snow; some less, he said.

Still, one record was set, at least preliminarily.

MacArthur Airport in Islip Town received the most snow on record on this day in December, the weather service said on Twitter.

By 1 p.m., six-tenths of an inch was recorded, a tenth of an inch more than the previous record set in 1986, it said.

By 7 p.m., the accumulation at the airport had reached 1.2 inches. Centerport reported 4.8 inches at 10:15 p.m.; Commack had 4 inches fall as of 9:30 p.m.

As of Saturday evening, there were no major snow-caused accidents, according to police, and PSEG Long Island said there were 15 or fewer outages across the Island.

Preparation for the season’s first snowstorm had begun in advance, with municipalities readying plow trucks and stocking road salt.

At the Suffolk County salt yard in Commack on Saturday morning, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the county had 17,000 tons of salt ready and 100 pieces of equipment to deploy on the county’s 1,600 miles of road.

“Winter is here now. It’s earlier than I would have liked,” he said, also warning drivers to stay off the roads, if possible.

Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron said police would be patrolling in all-wheel vehicles, with military surplus on standby, although the storm may not warrant heavy equipment.

Suffolk officials asked residents to avoid calling 911 except in emergencies and instead use the nonemergency line, 631-852-2677.

Come Sunday, fewer clouds are expected, with a high temperature near 39.

With Christine Chung and John Asbury

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