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Long Island weather: Frigid blast hits, then potential for snow

Forecasters say daytime temps “will generally reach into the teens to mid-20s” and coastal storm could bring snow Friday into Saturday.

Gas station attendant Refik Tomar, 37, is dressed

Gas station attendant Refik Tomar, 37, is dressed for work success Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / Rachel Uda

Acclimate to the bone-chilling cold — or head south.

Unusually low temperatures on Long Island should last through New Year’s Eve and into the first week of 2018, experts said. And they could bring snow instead of rain late Friday, though that at least should clear out Saturday night.

“Daytime highs here will average in the mid to maybe upper 20s with nighttime lows 10 to 15,” Richard Von Ohlen, News 12 meteorologist, said by email.

“A broad, sprawling mass of arctic air across Canada and the Northern half of the lower 48 will continue to sit around for a couple weeks,” he added. Only California and southern states, including Florida, likely will escape this cold snap.

Wednesday’s temperature, aided by mostly sunny skies, could rise to 26 degrees, according to the Upton-based National Weather Service. But it will feel much colder — about 5 to 15 degrees — thanks to the wind chill, said Joe Pollina, an NWS meteorologist.

For Long Islanders like Refik Tomar, 37, of Coram, the bitter cold comes with the job.

The gas station attendant in North Lindenhurst said Tuesday he might have to shelter in the booth beside the pumps “as much as possible.”

His cold-fighting layers will include a down vest and a thick jacket.

Mike Finn, 40, a contractor from Centereach, was stoic, though he will be outside cutting tile on Wednesday, relying on thermals and a heavy jacket.

“You can’t let the weather ruin your week,” Finn said.

Forecasters and emergency officials issued various warnings Tuesday, advising residents to cover any exposed skin, check batteries in smoke detectors, and be sure they only plug space heaters into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords.

The worst of the cold will strike Wednesday night and continue into Thursday, when it will feel like minus 5 to plus 5 degrees. The thermometer probably will only creep up to 21 degrees later Thursday.

The weekend brings frigid temperatures, along with a 30 percent chance of snow overnight Friday, as the thermometer falls to 16 degrees, the weather service said. The temperature should rise to 29 degrees Saturday — and the likelihood of snow climbs to 50 percent.

Pollina said it was too early to forecast how much snow the Island might get, as that depends on the path of a low-pressure area travels up the coast.

Those celebrating New Year’s Eve outdoors on Sunday will find temperatures around 11 degrees. New Year’s Eve celebrants in Times Square likely will find the temperature just a few degrees warmer, Pollina said.

“When you factor in wind chill, we’re looking at just below zero in many locations, even up to minus 10 in the Hamptons area,” he said.

Sheena Moore, 33, of Amityville, was warming her hands in the pockets of her heavy coat while waiting in North Amityville to catch a bus Tuesday afternoon. She hopes to catch a ride to work Friday so she won’t have to wait for the bus in the snow — if there is any. But she is not one to be caught off-guard.

“I’ve got my hat, the scarf, the gloves, the thermals, everything,” she said.

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