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Snowy surprise leaves up to 8 inches on LI, more snow possible this week

A look at the early morning snow is Ronkonkoma and Nesconset on Tuesday morning, Jan. 30, 2018. Up to 7 inches could fall in some areas of Suffolk, the National Weather Service said. Credit: Ed Betz

Snow much for that dusting.

Long Islanders woke up Tuesday to a blanket of unexpected snow, with up to 8 inches falling in parts of Suffolk County by around noon.

Though forecasts called for a coating up to 2 inches, Suffolk County ended up seeing generally 3 to 8 inches, and Nassau recorded 1 to nearly 4, according to the National Weather Service.

“I’m not gonna lie, we got caught off guard a little bit,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell told News 12 Long Island. “They were calling for a dusting. I’ve never seen a 6- to 8-inch dusting before.”

Forecasters noticed around midnight there was “a little more upper-level energy than we had originally anticipated,” associated with low pressure offshore, said Adrienne Leptich, a weather service meteorologist.

“By the time everybody went to bed, they probably had no idea” this much snow would fall, Leptich said.

Leading up to the event, computer models, which provide data for forecasters to analyze, “didn’t get a good handle” on how much upper-level energy there would be, said Joe Pollina, also a weather service meteorologist based in Upton.

Tony Cappadoro and Paul Demasi, working at the East Moriches Hardware store Tuesday morning, said weather forecasters led them to expect only a dusting of snow.

“I had a good 6 inches of snow on my truck,” Cappadoro said. “They blew it.”

Long Island MacArthur Airport recorded 5.9 inches of snow, while the weather service’s Upton office saw 8.7 inches.

And there may be more wintry precipitation to come.

Two more frontal systems could impact the area in coming days, the weather service said: the first later Thursday into Friday, and the second on Super Bowl Sunday.

Forecasters were more confident in how things were shaping up for the Thursday-to-Friday scenario, said David Stark, a weather service meteorologist, with just light accumulation expected as of Tuesday afternoon.

Still, he said, as is always the case, it’s best to keep an eye on an evolving forecast.

With Mark Harrington