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Winter storm watch for eastern Suffolk; advisory for western Suffolk

A snowplow clears Pell Terrace in Garden City

A snowplow clears Pell Terrace in Garden City on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island will get more snow on Saturday, though only eastern Suffolk County could get up to 8 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Nassau and western Suffolk -- roughly west of the William Floyd Parkway -- are looking at 2 to 4 inches, the weather service said.

Light snow could begin from 9 a.m. to noon, and intensify in the afternoon before easing from west to east after 9 to 10 p.m., said Lauren Nash, a weather service meteorologist in Upton.

Still, the 52.5 inches of snow that has fallen on Islip this season is 21 inches shy of the record set in the 1995-96 winter, Nash said.

"We're already No. 5 for the season," said Nash, citing Islip records that began in 1984.

Western Suffolk has a "low potential" for 3 to 5 inches of snow, forecasters said.

Winds could range from 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph late this afternoon into the night.

Local airports might find it easier to deal with the snow than the nighttime wind, Nash said.

But drivers should brace for reduced visibility and snow on the roads, at least until early Sunday.

No snow is forecast for Sunday and Monday.

But "we have another system coming on Tuesday, probably snow and rain; it's still too far way to really say how much snow versus rain," Nash said.

The earlier the precipitation arrives the more likely it is to be rain, she said.

After all, Tuesday's high is forecast in the lower 40s, even warmer than the 30-degree weather anticipated for Saturday.

After Sunday, "we're going right back into a cool down," Nash said. On Saturday night, the temperature should fall to the low 20s. Both Sunday and Monday should see readings in the mid- to upper 20s.

Islip already has gotten enough snow -- 52.5 inches -- to nearly match the 55.4 inches that fell during then the 2011 winter, and the 53.9 inches that arrived in the 2010 season, Nash said.

And those totals were through the end of April, she noted.

Saturday's snowstorm will be nothing like the departed one, which weather service meteorologist Tim Morrin called a "classic" nor'easter.

"What made this one unique was the longevity, for one, and the different faces it had," Morrin said. There was an initial burst of intense, heavy wet snow -- with rates of nearly 4 inches per hour -- during the Thursday morning commute, then a changeover to rain and then back to more snow overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

"Most of the time, even with a nor'easter, when it's over it's over," Morrin said. "But this time we got a second punch of snow at the end.

"That's not common, it having three different faces."

As the skies cleared Friday, during the tail end of the morning commute, the latest snow totals from the service showed East Setauket with 12.8 inches; North Babylon, 12.6; and Deer Park, 12.5, being hardest hit in Suffolk.

In Nassau, New Hyde Park got 10.5 inches.

Unofficial totals from the service showed Bayville in Nassau getting 16.3 inches, and Commack in Suffolk getting 15.1 inches.

For the season so far, total snowfall is more than 50 inches in Upton, at the National Weather Service office. The average for this time of year is slightly more than 31 inches, according to service statistics.

Many school districts across the Island scheduled delayed openings Friday morning, a big change from Thursday, when closures were predominant.

Long Island MacArthur Airport said in a travel advisory Friday that it was operating on a "normal daily schedule with scattered delays down the line." Travelers are advised to contact their airlines for the most updated flight information, the Ronkonkoma airport said.

Dozens of flights were canceled early Friday at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. High winds were delaying some arrivals at LaGuardia by the afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Long Island Rail Road said it was running "regular evening rush hour service" after its staff "worked around-the-clock, since the storm hit on Thursday, to clear snow from tracks and station platforms."

The LIRR advised commuters to "allow extra travel time and use caution on platforms and stairs."

With Patricia Kitchen, Ellen Yan and

Gary Dymski

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